Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year

It is hard for me to sometimes think about all the changes that I want to make with my life because change can be difficult. There has been so much change, both difficult and wonderful, in my life in the past two years that sometimes I am amazed that I am where I am today.

I am so filled with gratitude for my life and everything that I have experienced. This is not just the "I am grateful" type of gratitude, it is the deep feeling of pure joy and bliss. I woke up this morning with the most wonderful feeling of joy. I did yoga, meditated, and enjoyed my morning coffee while watching the sun rise over the mountains from my kitchen table. It was beautiful to watch as the rays of sun hit the snow covered mountains and glistened with all the colors of the rainbow. I am rarely awake before that happens and today it was the perfect start to a perfect day.

This next year I have one goal. To live in the moment. I don't need to plan my life away, I need to enjoy every moment as it comes. I want to enjoy laughing with my kids, snuggling with my husband, and spending time in the outdoors reconnecting with myself and all of consciousness.

I hope every one of you who reads this feels peace, love and joy in your life throughout the whole next year. You are amazing. You are loved. Namaste.

Monday, November 3, 2014

New Floors!!!

All pictures are at the end of this just scroll down if you want pictures. :)

I am sooooooo excited about my new floors!!!! In my last post I told you about how I ripped the carpet out of my living room, honestly carpet grosses me out and I think it should never be in a house, but that is just my opinion but my opinion is usually right! Hahaha! Actually with 7 kids, 2 dogs and 5 cats I seriously think my house should have no carpet whatsoever. So, on to the good stuff!

I hummed and hawed over what to replace the carpet with. We have hardwood floors in the kitchen and hallway, and tile in the laundry and bathrooms. The hardwood floors we have are knotty alder...I seriously think that whoever decided to put these as flooring ought to be beat. Alder is a very SOFT wood. So soft in fact that I dropped a children cardboard book on it and it dented the floor. Seriously. It was ridiculous. I had a professional flooring guy come in to take a look at placing matching flooring in the living room and sanding and refinishing the rest of the hardwood floors. He said not only was alder a bad choice but it was hard to find because people started to realize that it was stupid to use it as flooring. Needless to say it would have been $4000 to fix my flooring problem.

So, then I remembered that I read a blog a year ago and she replaced her carpet with laminate flooring that I thought looked beautiful This is the one I am talking about. Plus it was going to be WAY cheaper than my $4000 option. So, I went down to Sam's Club to look at the Select Surfaces laminates and I fell in love with the Cocoa Walnut color. It is beautiful!!! I bought 24 boxes and brought them home.

It was after I bought them that I decided that I didn't just want them in my living room....I wanted them in the hallway, entry way, and dining room too. My husband was not thrilled with my idea. He is worried that with laminates and our kids it wouldn't be a good idea. You see, my littlest kids (5, 3, and 2) LOVE water and they are always dumping it on the floors. So after a debate we decided to put it in the living room, hallways, and entry way but not the dining room since it is really just an eat in kitchen and spills are always everywhere in there. We decided to put tile in the kitchen and dining room.

I proceeded to rip out all the hardwood floors in the hallway and entryway. It took me about 9 hours over the course of  3 days and lots of sweat and I was sore every morning.

I finished 1 of the hallways as well and then decided to put tile in the entryway too because water gets drug into the house all year long through the front door and tile won't get ruined by water. Laminates might. If all my kids were older I would just put laminates in the dining room, entryway, and the kitchen. I have 1 more strip of laminates to place in the other hallway but I got side tracked with Halloween and haven't finished yet.

I still have to rip out the flooring in the kitchen but that is a MUCH bigger job. I have to take out the counter tops and all the cabinets first and that means I will be without a kitchen for a few days to a week. Not sure I want to do that just yet. However it needs to be done and sooner rather than later.

On a side note I am probably going to put the laminates in all the bedrooms on the main floor too. We had to rip out the carpet in the master bedroom due to an unfortunate explosion of a LARGE container of activated charcoal and I almost have hubby convinced that laminates would be better than carpet in the bedrooms.

So to recap: (and sorry some of the pictures are a bit fuzzy)

This is what it looked like before: (this is actually the picture from before we moved in)

This is what it looked like during: 

Getting some math skills in by figuring out the square footage of the room.

This is what it looks like now:

I am totally in LOVE with these! Even my husband who wasn't fully on board when I bought them and started installing them has begun to like them. Also, I am completely impressed that they don't sound like laminates when we walk on them! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

More projects!

Oh man do I have a list of projects that I need to do! About a week ago I ripped the carpet out of my living room because my 2 yo dumped a gallon of milk in the carpet and despite my best efforts to clean it up and shampoo the carpet it just wasn't working. In fact the carpet and pad wouldn't even dry.  So I pulled part of it up and I found....MOLD. Not good. Bye-bye carpet. It was ripped out the next day.

That isn't even the project I am writing about today....that will be for another post.

Today I am posting about our office that I am redoing, or rather "doing" because up until 2 days ago it was a kids bedroom. You can only imagine the amount of crayon, marker and holes in the walls from it being a kids room. I unfortunately don't have any pictures of that, but I do have a picture of the room before we moved in. The walls are an oatmeal color which isn't bad, I just wanted a happier color.



This is what it looks like now! I still have to paint the doors and trim (the doors were only partially painted when we moved in, you can kind of see the yellowish parts of the door) Don't you love the pen on the closet doors? Yeah that will be covered over.


I am in LOVE with this color! It is Summer Shower by Benjamin Moore. In fact I love it so much that I am going to paint my kitchen this color once the remodel in there is done!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Being ME, Being FREE

 I have a confession. I don't EVER post pictures of myself. In fact I don't let people take pictures of me. Why? Because I am fat. Well, no not really. I HAVE fat. There is a difference. My whole life I was a skinny girl. I could eat whatever I wanted and it didn't matter. Then I got pregnant. I was young (19) and dumb. I really thought I could still eat whatever, cause you you know I was "eating for 2". I was wrong. I gained 60 pounds. Even after having the baby I was still 30 pounds heavier than I used to be. With each successive child I gained more. I tipped the scale at 200 after my 7th child. It was then that I realized my weight was out of control.

I tried diet after diet with little or no success. I exercised, I ate healthy, I REALLY tried to lose weight. It was then that I realized something very important. I was putting myself down, I was treating myself so horrible because of the extra weight that it was effecting the way I interacted with my family and friends. I wouldn't go swimming because I feared what I looked like in a swim suit, I didn't want to wear anything that was form fitting or that would show I was fat. Have you ever been clothes shopping just to realize that NOTHING hides your fat? Shopping was not fun. I hated myself more and more every time I tried on clothes. I knew it needed to stop. I realized that my daughters were watching me and I was unintentionally telling them that body size and shape matters. 

Size doesn't matter. Shape doesn't matter.  I am no where near where I want to be, but it doesn't matter. I will eventually loose all the extra weight, but I am not going to stress about it or exercise my body to death. It will come off eventually because I know it will.

Let me tell you something else. I am DONE being angry, sad, depressed and all those other roller coaster emotions that go along with feeling fat and worthless!! I am amazing! You are amazing! Everyone is amazing! There is no reason for ANY woman to feel like she is nothing! 

I am finally HAPPY about my body!! I want to point out that my clothes don't fit me quite right, I jiggle in places I shouldn't, I have stretch marks from my knees to my chest, BUT I AM HAPPY. I have so much to be grateful for! I can walk, run, jog, swim, do yoga, play with my kids and there are so many other out there that can't. 

I no longer care what I look like. It really doesn't matter because I am so much more than my weight! It took me nearly 13 years to realize that I am not "fat", I am an AMAZING person with so much to give! I want to enjoy life, not hate it, or tolerate it!  Besides, I realized that happiness is a choice and I choose happiness! How about you?

P.S. All the pictures were taken by my 11 year old daughter. She is trying to learn how to use a camera. :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our Schedule

Normally I wouldn't post about our schedule because, well, we never really had one. Recently, along with all me organizing my kids school work and all my projects I thought, "Hey! Self! Yeah you! You should really implement a schedule so your kids don't turn out to be lazy couch potatoes and end up living with you for the rest of their lives!" So, I decided I would see what would work for us.

Granted I have tried schedules before but we just never stuck with them... I think I am seeing a pattern in my life here with me not sticking to things.... I digress... so, I thought about WHY I have trouble with schedules and why i don't stick to things and it turns out, I am lazy! What is that you say? How in the @%$# are you  lazy? You have 7 kids and homeschool them and do all kinds of projects! Lazy isn't a possibility! Well, my friend it is. You see, I can stick to something if I enjoy it but if I get bored, meh, I stop doing whatever it is.

I realized that my kids are watching me and I was not setting the type of example that I wanted them to see. So, I stepped it up. I made a schedule. I used the idea from Managers of Their homes (never read the book)  I just Googled the images and scoured Pinterest until I found something I thought might work.

Now, we are not sticking to this strictly because, well, life happens. It is more of a general outline and so far it works. During school hours I let my kids set their own schedules. They got to pick when they did each subject and how long they thought it would take them. now, everyday is a bit different from the actual schedule but if we start to get off track I can say, "What are you supposed to be doing?" And my kids go look and follow the schedule. It is really nice to have and for the past month it has been working pretty well.

Here are some close ups of the schedule.

Hopefully this will keep working for us!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Homeschool Rewards

My kids needed some nudging and perhaps some pushing and shoving to get them to do their schoolwork. I came up with a fun way to keep them motivated  and so far they LOVE the system. We have been using it for more than 2 months and it is working!! Whoooo!!!!

These are their "ticket" jars. Every day that they complete their school work they get a ticket. When they save so many tickets they can use them to buy things. For example, 4 tickets gets them a date with mom or dad to the dollar theater. 10 tickets gets them a date with mom or dad to the full priced theater. You can use 6 for a trip to the store to spend $3.

This is what the tickets look like. I have to date them and write their names on them. That way they can't "fake" tickets.

To make this, I used some old fence boards and screwed them together. then I mounted the pipe fitting thingamajiggers to the boards with a screw. I tightened them to fit around the jars and viola! I cut slits in card stock and placed them in the lids so they could just drop their tickets in and their names were cut out with my Silhouette.

Have I mentioned I love making things?

Chore System

Oh chores, how I loathe them....ok, not all of them, I loathe having to nag and beg and plead to get my kids to DO them! After years and years of trying every most of the systems out there I finally settled on one I came up with a few years ago that worked. In fact it worked every time we used it. I don't know why I ever stopped. Oh wait, I do know. I saw all these other colorful chore systems and they looked FUN! Mine is not colorful or fun, but it works.

These are my kids chores cards. The numbers on the cards are for the days of the week. 1 = Monday, 2 = Tuesday, etc. Since we have had these chore cards for awhile some of the chores on the cards don't correspond with the number on the card and my kids know just to ignore that chore. For example, You can see that my daughter Katie has "Do laundry on Wednesday" but the number on the card is 1. She knows it's Monday not Wednesday so she doesn't have to do her laundry. Does that make sense?

These are my Extra Chore cards. I put these on the kids chore rings when I need them done. They don't get anything extra or a reward for doing them, they are just ones that I need rotated between kids and don't need done all the time.

It is simple, not fun, not colorful, but it WORKS and that is all that matters to me!

Workbox System for homeschool

Here it is in all its glory! Ok, so it really isn't fantastic...well, I think it's fantastic, but you don't have to think so. I have been struggling for years with how to organize the kids schoolwork and we have done some systems that temporarily worked but it never even lasted 3 months. In fact they usually only lasted about 4 weeks (or less) but who's counting? Oh right....I am.

I had heard about workboxes for a few years, and I tried a folder system that mimics the workboxes because I didn't have the money to buy 1 box per subject per kid. It didn't last. I kept forgetting to put worksheets and stuff in the folders and if the subject didn't have a worksheet, but instead they had to read...they wouldn't do it.

So, I finally had a meltdown  told my husband that I NEEDED something that worked for us. I had been struggling for years and now that I have a 5 and 3 yo and they are begging to do school with the older kids and my oldest will be starting highs school soon, I needed the organization. So here it is!!

The 3 orange boxes and 1 green box are my kids Science. They are SRA Science Labs that I got years ago. The top right cubby holds teachers manuals and my binder that has our yearly schedule and other important stuff. All the white bins hold more teachers manuals and manipulatives. I had to hid the lower stuff from my 18 mo old so he wouldn't pull everything off the shelves. The kids chore cards and daily schedules hang on command hooks. I will explain these later in this post.

Each kid has 8 bins that are numbered and color coded. I added the subject labels on them for my info so I don't mess up which bucket I put what in. Depending on the child, buckets # 7 and  #8 are not labeled because they are "floating subjects" or fun bins. Floating subjects means that the subjects that go in them rotate between electives. So one week might be art, the next week music, the next cooking, etc.

I put everything that the kids will need for the week in the buckets. That means, living books, worksheets, textbook, whatever is needed. I even put the teachers manuals for their math in their bins so that if they have a question they can refer to the lesson in the manual. 

I used my silhouette to cut out the circles and colored flower design. I wrote the numbers on them and laminated them. I put the round velcro dots on them and the buckets. The numbers stay on the left until they are done with the subject, then they move the number to the right side of the bucket. That way with a quick glance I can see who has done what.

These are my kids weekly school charts. I modified the weekly schedule I have been using for years and laminated the charts so I could use wet erase markers on them and plan a whole week at a time.

Each card has the subjects listed and I just write the assignment they have. They like having everything split up into days and they know what to do without feeling overwhelmed with a weekly list. I know, I know,  this  is a weekly list because it has Monday through Friday, but they like having each day on an individual sheet. They don't do every subject everyday, and some kids don't even have all the subjects, I just made a master and photocopied it for all of the older kids.

I keep our manipulatives in the buckets on the shelf so we can grab them when we need them. Easy access for the kids and they know where to put them when they are done.

So there you have it! This is helping my kids become more independent and need me less and less which is AWESOME! I mean, I love helping my kids, but when each one individualy wants me to sit next to them and tell them Every. Single. Step. That is not ok with me. I have other kids to take care of and meals to prepare and my chores that need done. This is the FIRST time I actually think my kids feel responsible for their own work and I can see that they feel more accomplished because they are doing it themselves. My only regret is that I didn't start this YEARS ago. Thoughts or comments?! Let me know!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Laundry Room makeover!

I am so embarrassed to show these pictures, but without them you won't truly see the difference. Don't judge me!  I have been trying to get the laundry room under control for years. So far it has not. gone. well. It seems that any time there is a shirt or towel or any item that needs to go in the laundry basket it instead gets tossed nonchalantly into the laundry room. It's not just dirty stuff either. My kids toss trash, toys, shoes...anything that they want to disappear forever in there! Here is what my laundry room looks like most of the time:

This is what my kids do. Throw EVERYTHING in there. See the pink chair on the bench? That was supposed to be taken to the garage so one of the seat slats could be repaired. Instead it only got as far as the laundry room. 

All these boxes are supposed to be collapsed and taken to the trash can outside! The laundry all over the floor is supposed to go in a basket which should be under the bench!

See all this laundry. It's clean. The kids are supposed to take it out of the dryer and put it on the couch and fold it. Nope. Not my kids. It is WAY easier to just put it here! The stuff up top is some of my extra homeschooling stuff. I need to organize it. I also need to finish this cubby system I built forever ago!

So, here I am looking at my laundry room trying to formulate a plan that will help keep it clean. I look through pinterest and get sad because all the laundry rooms on there are clean and beautiful. I needed a plan. So, I decided that part of the problem is no one really has an assignment on when they should wash their clothes. Many days I tell my kids to get dressed and they tell me they don't have anything clean. So I make them do their laundry right then and there. I realized my problem. There was NO planning or organization! Because I have to be crafty and I can't just print off a checklist I made this awesomely cute laundry chart!

All I needed to add were the kids names (and mine too of course) and then we had a perfectly organized chart for who does their laundry when! 

The next thing I did was um, well, not what my husband expected. First I decided that the cubby system wasn't working how it was supposed to so I tore it out. Of course I did it while hubby was at work...when he came home the laundry room was empty except for the washer and dryer. He was a bit surprised because I had been so excited to put the cubby system in there in the first place.

Next I patched and textured the walls and got them ready to be painted. Then I moved the washer and dryer and realized I had forgotten about the 1 x 1 foot section of the wall that got damaged when we moved in. I had to rip out more of the sheet rock and patch the whole darn thing. Good thing I knew how! Then I painted  the room the same color as my playroom because I had leftover paint and, well, I thought it would go nicely with my red washer and dryer plus I didn't have to go buy more paint!

The 1 x 1 foot section that I had to repair was just below the water lines. See how well the patch job turned out? Pretty good if I say so myself!

I bought an IKEA Expedit shelf off the local classifieds and added workboxes for homeschool (I will post about that separately) because our current school system stopped working. So without further is my new laundry room!

The basket on the right hanging on the wall was a thrift shop find for $4. It is a PBK mail sorter but it works nicely for holding my swiffer  pads, cleaning gloves, and cleaning rags.

There is my lovely IKEA ironing board and my laundry day chart. The clips on the rod to the left of the basket are going to hold a laundry symbol chart.

This is the workbox system for our school. The cabinet to the left holds my laundry soap, and other laundry products.

The laundry room has been finished and working for nearly 2 weeks now and the it is staying CLEAN!!!! That has never happened before! If something is dirty my kids throw it in the blue hamper that you can see to the right. I am so happy that I finally found something that is working for us!! Yipeee!!!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Our New Playroom!!!

So I finally got to create a playroom for my kids. I have wanted one for years but it was never possible to have one. We moved into this house 3 years ago and I knew there was space for one, but between finishing the basement and moving state to state we ran out of funds.

Since we homeschool I knew that a playroom was essential for the younger kids to have a place to use their imagination and just play. I also knew that the older kids needed somewhere to be be able to hang out that is comfy and inviting. A place that they would enjoy being in.

It took me 3 weeks to nearly complete it. I only have a few things left to finish but they aren't essential. Mostly it I need to paint few doors and put up a few pictures and quotes on the walls. I have to apologize that there are no "Before" pictures. I did take some, but I can't find them anywhere! I searched my camera, phone, and the computer and they have completely disappeared. Just use your imagination and envision walls and ceiling that are oatmeal colored, no pictures on the walls, and a giant pile of toys strewn all over the room since we had no where to store them.

So, here are the details of what I did: I started with painting the walls and the ceiling. It took 3 coats of paint to cover the nasty oatmeal color that it was painted. The trim and baseboard got caulked and I made sure it was all secure to the walls. I painted the tree in the corner, and added the IKEA canopy leaves (I found them in a local classifieds for $5 each!).

 My kids asked to be able to put the ABC stickers in the tree  so they could have a cool alphabet tree. The dragon sticker and ABC's sticker I found at Dollar Tree! My mom gave me the ABC cards that are hanging on the wall years ago. They were so cute but I never had a good place to put them. So, I put some eyelet screws in the wall and tied some jute rope to them. I used clothespins to hang them and I am so happy with how it turned out!

 The shelves and the blue bins are from IKEA. I labeled the buckets so the kids know where everything goes.

The big blue bucket holds all the dress up clothes and the clear-ish green bin holds stuffed animals. The bear is from Costco and we have had it awhile. The play kitchen was made for my sister and I by my dad when we were little girls. That is a favorite with my kids.

I painted the chalkboard wall and added a magnetic board for their magnetic toys. They haven't been able to use the chalkboard yet as it hasn't fully cured and isn't ready for chalk. By the end of the week I am sure it will be the new "cool" thing in the playroom!

The gray couch is a giant beanbag/couch thing that they kids LOVE. It is so comfy! The ottomans were on clearance at Sams Club for $14 each!! My little kids love to jump from one to the other and pretend they are pirates on small boats!

I searched for curtains that would match the room and I couldn't find any I liked or that were in my price range. So as I was wandering through Walmart I stumbled across clearance table with sheets that matched the room! For $4 each I bought 4 of them and brought them home, measured them, hemmed them and hung them! This is a close up of the pattern!

I added 2 rugs both from IKEA. My 3 yo is obsessed with the car rug and my 5 yo loves to pretend she is in the forest when she is standing on the other one!

I LOVE the playroom and so do the kids! Any questions? Feel free to ask!