Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Top Projects

I was just giving a house tour to a friend who hadn't been to our home for a year. She had seen things when they were still rough (aka no walls or ceiling in the bathroom and beds in the basement.) Looking at the house through her eyes made me realize how much we've actually done this past year!
We redid 2 bathrooms,
Painted every room in the house as well as the basement (except the shop area),
Replaced all the windows and the front door,
Replaced the cabinets in the laundry room,
Put new flooring in the laundry room and kitchen,
Created the school room and my craft space in the basement,
Fixed the chimneys,

Redid all of the landscaping, and
Here's a countdown of my most popular posts this past year:
#7 Organizing our 'Command Central'
I loved my summer mantelscape. But I really like my spring, Easter, fall, and Christmas mantels too. Please don't ask me to pick a favorite! I'll let you decide which you like best. SPRING, EASTER, FALL, CHRISTMAS

#5 Painted Magazine Holders
#4 My New Craft Space!
I still love my space! I've been using it hard too. :) It's nice to be able to spread out and work on things but not have to clean it up if I haven't finished the project. I can just leave it out and walk away.
#3 Homemade Laundry Detergent
Update: I've been using this since March and love it! Our clothes are clean and I'm saving money. Win-win! Plus it's so easy to make. I'll never go back to store-bought detergent again. Give it a try!
#2 Our New School Room

Our school room has been put to good use to. The kids love their desks and having their own spaces. I'm glad we got 2 bookshelves since they've been filling up. The bright colors make it a happy place to spend our school days (except when we get to the "really hard work".) :)

And my #1 post of 2011 was my Summer 'I'm Bored' Jar

A few of my personal favorite projects included:
The Mr. and Mrs. Pillow Covers
The DIY Sand Table (Courtesy of the hubby)

and My Bird Art

So after a year of hard work, I'd say we made a good dent in the to-do list. But there's more to come!
I think it'll be a busy year.... we've got big dreams to make this house fit our family, and I've discovered Pinterest. :) Can't wait to get started! Let's go.....

Linking up at these parties and here

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekly School Summaries - France (December 5-16)

The Eiffel Tower and King Kong
Our MFW curriculum seems to lend itself to posting a summary every 2 weeks. Of course, the busyness of the holidays is probably contributing to me having less time to post too but a 2 week summary is just as good. I had a bunch of Christmas projects to work on so while we had a regular week December 5-9, this past week was a week of 1/2 days. Which I guess technically for us would be 1/4 days. :) Last week, we only did our MFW studies and put the 3 Rs on hold. It was a nice break to have an easier week but still get some work done. Here's what we did:

Math: Similar to usual. They each had 4 days of lessons and 1 day of math games on the computer.

Reading and Language Arts: Soprano continued The Hundred Penny Box  from 'Across the Centuries' with a couple days of reading, a family tree activity, a worksheet and an evaluation. 
She finished her first Phonics book and will begin the next one in the series next week.
English and Spelling are going well as is her Handwriting. We're up to Nn.

Tenor continued with his 'A Reason for Handwriting C' and 'Writing Strands.'
He continued in Stone Fox from 'Across the Centuries C Level 1' with a few worksheets, a cartoon drawing activity, and an evaluation.

English (Rod and Staff Level 4) and Spelling (Rod and Staff Level 4) are going well. 
Typer Island for their typing instruction and continuing with SOS Elementary Spanish. I did change our schedule a bit because it felt like the school day was taking forever. So Tenor now has 2 days of typing and 2 days of Spanish. He gets Wednesdays off, while Soprano has 2 days of tying and 1 day of Spanish. It seemed to help us get through the day a little quicker. We'll see how it works this coming week.

They had a review worksheet about dental hygiene. We also talked about fishermen in PA.

Phys Ed.: We brought the scooters into the basement. It's an unfinished space but we have our family room, school room, and my craft space down there. The floors are concrete and there's enough open space for them to scoot around.  We also used the Wii Fit to do Island Cycling to coincide with our studies about France, where bicycling is popular.

Bible: The past two weeks included:
Reading about Albania and Gypsies
Reading Matthew 9:18-11:30
Memorizing Matthew 9:37-38 and 11:28
Reading about Menno Simons and William Tyndale.

We've moved onto studying France. We read about the People and Places, Nature, Farming and Industry of Europe.
Coloring the French flag and writing down interesting facts about it.
Making a model of the Eiffel Tower out of K*nex.
I actually took 1 year of French in Junior High and then had a cassette tape course for 2 years in High School. I can't speak French whatsoever but I was able to muddle my way through the pronunciations for the language activity. I can however order a cheese omelet and Coke if I'm ever in France.

Illustrating notecards for cave, sea cave, river, and rapids
Soprano's geography cards
And playing the geography game with North and South America and adding Europe.

Tenor's Europe pages from World Geography were Islands, Climate, and, Animals.

Science: Discussion on Animal Defenses, Adaptation, Caves, the Balance of Nature, Classification, and Eugene Odum.
We read some neat books from the library including:

Soprano finished the Reptile animal pages from The Complete Book of Animals and then moved on to the Science and Animals pages.

Other MFW: Wee sing: Wee Falorie Man, Coulter's Candy, Lavender's Blue, All the Ducklings, and Frere Jacques. I suppose I could have played some music by Debussy, Delibes, Ravel, or Saint-Saens but it just didn't happen.
Art: We got several books from the library about Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir and then we did the profile silhouette activity.

Soprano's silhouette
Tenor's silhouette (Yes, those are his eyelashes. Ridiculous, right?)
To fill in a bit, we read other books about western European countries and borrowed DVDs from the library. We focused on Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, and Serbia.
Some favorite books from the library were:
C is for Ciao: An Italy Alphabet
Count Your Way Through Greece
Linnea in Monet's Garden
and Little Bo in France

We had French Toast for dinner one night (I know, I know, it's not quite authentic) and then went to Olive Garden for an Italian meal. Being quite a bit Italian, the younglings are pretty familiar with Italian food. Ahh.... chicken alfredo, garlic bread, pasta, more garlic bread... yum!
With Christmas just a few days away, I'm looking forward to another week of 1/4 days and then a week off. I know the kids are too. But we're finished with 15 of 36 weeks! Wow! I wasn't sure we'd get this far to be honest. O me of little faith. :)
Merry Christmas to you and your families! I hope your Christmas break is refreshing and filled with joy!

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Cards - Joy

I had a bunch of Christmas cards left-over from last year and a few that I had put together during the year but I still needed a few more cards to send out this year. So I got to work. Here's what I came up with (all variations on a theme.)

Supplies used:
Stamps - TAC Seasonal Circles and TAC Christmas Postage
Patterned paper - from a really old Christmas stack and some from Creative Memories
Spellbinders - scalloped and regular circles
Provo Craft - swirl embossing folder
Tombow markers
Stickles (for the stars on the trees)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Pillow Covers

To add to our Christmas decor, I wanted to make some pillow covers for the living room. I had brown homespun covers on for fall but they just didn't quite work with the Christmas decorations. I made 2 'five-minute pillow covers' out of Osnaburg fabric that I had in my stash. After deciding what I wanted to say, I played around with different fonts and sizes on my Cricut.
I decided on the first line from "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", which is one of my favorite Christmas hymns.
I used Quarter Note for 'Glory' and 'Sing' and welded the letters together on my Gypsy before I cut them out. Then I used Doodletype for the rest of the words.
Using the same process as my Thanksgiving banner, I mixed up 2 shades of brown paint and pounced it on to the pillow cover with a foam brush. (This time I made sure to put some thick cardboard on the inside so the paint wouldn't bleed through to the back.)

I wanted to make 'Glory' and 'Sing' stand out so I used the Quarter Note cartridge to cut them out and then stenciled them with a Robin's Egg blue color. They still needed a little something when they were done so I outlined them with the brown paint and a very, very fine paintbrush.

And here they are all done and dressing up the living room loveseat. I have to say that in the end they look a little more 'Mommy-I-made-a-craft' than Pottery Barn but I'm okay with it. I'm not going to redo them at this point, and they match my winter pillow covers pretty well.
My oh-so-helpful 9 year old pointed out that I had them in the wrong order so here they are placed correctly. :)
That same 9 year old also took the pictures of me working (above). He did a good job, I think.

Sharing the Christmas ideas at these parties

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas 2011 - Holiday Cheer

Small vignette on our piano

I mentioned before that this Christmas (the 2nd in our current home), I have more time and energy to do some crafting and decorating. Last year, with no shower, a bathroom in shambles, Bass away on a business trip, and all the painting and cleaning we had to do, we barely got the tree and stockings up.

This year after we pulled all of the tubs out of the attic, I spent hours digging through them and re-imagining how everything could work in our new space. Here are a ton of pics of the spaces I dressed up for Christmas. Come on in and check it out!
Starting outside...
A bunch of old garland wound together to beef it up, some pinecones and holly sprigs from my stash, a few new white poinsettia blooms and a new gold bow went on the front window.

A lit grapevine tree with new gold bow and wood angels for the front stoop.
New white poinsettia blooms for the window swags and my lit grapevine angel dressed up the other side of the house.

Our gold, music themed front door wreath. the picks and ornaments were on clearance after Christmas a few years ago.

Living Room entry table: framed vintage-y postcard, 2 leftover garland pieces, and lantern.

Christmas village set up in the living room bay window with a roll of sparkly winter snow.
Winter pillow covers join the striped pillows on the sofa.
Candle arrangement on the coffee table.
Our ornament tree... filled with tons and tons of ornaments and many, many memories.
Our Christmas card holder. Either I'll just lay the cards we receive over the rungs like in the pic or I might punch a small hole in the corner of the back and tie them on the rungs with jute. Not sure yet.
Side table arrangement
Garland with berries and bells on the china hutch
Into the dining room---lots of green, white/cream, and snowmen
Snowy arrangement on a bed-sheet turned tablecloth
Buffet winterscape with faux Snowbabies
Window arrangement with greens and candles and my new cloche
Okay, so this house has this nifty little Narnia-esque lamp in between the dining room and the kitchen. We're not quite sure why it has an outdoor fixture on it but it actually works and until we redo the kitchen, it stays. I honestly don't even think about it anymore but when we have company over for the first time, they usually comment on it. At Christmas, it just cries out for decorating so it got some garland with ribbon and a bow.  Gotta work with what you've got, ya' know?
Our nativity scene advent countdown
Small, snowy kitchen tree designed by my 7-year old. She did a great job!
More snowy stuff in the laundry room

Family Room stockings
Family Room Fireplace
Family Room Tree----also designed by my 7 year old. She's a future DIY blogger, I'm sure!
With all of that finished, I was able to purge quite a bit that we don't need anymore. I was able to do a few projects too to make our Christmas stuff really fit into this house. It's nice to have all the decorating done. Now on to cards and gifts!

Linking up to some of these parties and here.
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