Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Dresser Makeover

I may not have completed every project on my Summer list, but I did manage to finish a couple.  Today I want to share one of the projects I completed with you.
Here is the before picture when we had to more the dresser as we were re-doing the kitchen floor.
Years and years ago some one gave us a dresser.  The drawers in it didn't slide right, but the person who gave it to us knew my hubby is pretty handy and he could probably fix it.  So we took the dresser and over the years it has lived in a few different spots in our house, but the drawers never got completely fixed.  It still functioned, but I worried every time someone pulled one of them out that the drawer would slip off track and come crashing down on someone's foot.  This dresser is waist high and had drawers that were really long and wide.  These drawers were also heavy, thankfully they never fell on anyone's foot so I don't know for sure, but I would guess they were heavy enough to break bones in the feet.  We ended up using the dresser for storage.  We stored things like party supplies, take out menus, phone books, candles, table clothes....really it was just sort of a hiding place for all the stuff you don't know what to do with.  It took up a good chunk of area without serving a lot of purpose and over the years I would look at it and think, "I bet I could make that dresser more useful."
The paint I used to match the bookcase (excuse the mess) and corner shelf I painted a few years ago.
A couple of years ago we got a desktop computer again.  We knew we would need the computer for school more as the kids got older so we got one that we could easily move around our house.  It typically sat on a small desk in our bedroom, but the more school work we were doing on the computer and the more blogging I started doing, we realized that our bedroom was not a great place for the computer.  We wanted our computer in a more central location without putting it downstairs in the basement.  The more I thought about where I wanted our computer to live, the more I thought about that dresser.   Can you guess where I am going?  Yep, I turned our dresser into a computer desk for us with a little help from Buddy and the Handsome Hubby.

I cleaned out the dresser and find better spots for all the "stuff" in the dresser and took the drawers out of the dresser before we moved it to the garage.

Of course I picked a super HOT day to do this you know so the paint would dry faster...not because I have bad timing.  Anyway once the dresser was in the garage, I began by deciding what I wanted the dresser to look like in the end and this required removing the decorative wood piece at the bottom of the dresser and removing the pieces of wood between the drawers.  Buddy was happy to help with this part!  Hubby helped me remove the drawer slides as the screws were stripped out and I couldn't get them out by myself.  The next step was to lightly sand the entire shell of the dresser I was left with.  This helps the primer stick a little better and it helps even out the rough spots.  After sanding, I primed the front, sides, top, and inside of the dresser/desk with a good chalk based primer.

Primed and ready for paint
 A day or two later, I painted the desk with my paint color.  I used Rust-Oleum Metallic Accents in Scarlet Red as my paint color.  I used this color on a bookshelf and two corner shelf in my living room so I wanted the desk to match.  I painted on the first coat and let it dry for a day.  The next day while I was cooking dinner, Hubby put on the second coat of paint.  Then it was time to bring the desk back in and get it in position.  Right now we don't have a shelf inside it store our keyboard or pens, but we have thought about it.  We are just a little undecided about it so we are seeing how the desk works for awhile and may add the shelf eventually.  I love how it turned out and I love that our computer sits in a central location now.

The finished desk (sorry for the computer glare).
What do you think?  Have you ever performed a furniture makeover?


Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday 'Fess Up

Happy Friday All!!!  I am sighing today because we made it through a long week and the weekend is in sight.  We are on day #8 of school and it seems to be going very well.  Our routine is falling into place nicely and the kids are learning new things...win, win!
A Glimpse of Normal blog, Friday Fess Up
Now it is time to fess up part though and tell you that what I haven't won on lately was my Summer Project List that I wrote about earlier this year.  I am sure that I over planned for being able to get projects done and I think we took a more relaxed approach to summer this year.  I also ended up working on a few more things that were not on my list for the summer than those that were on the list.  Such is life I suppose!  Here was my original list of what I wanted to accomplish:
  • Finish cross stitch of wolves for my son
  • Transform an old dresser into a desk with storage
  • Start remodeling our master bedroom
  • Scrapbook 50 layouts
  • Bake 15 new cupcakes from my Pinterest board
  • De-clutter my office/scraproom
  • Teach my daughter to sew
  • Sew my own skirt
  • Sew a dress for my daughter
  • Go blueberry picking more than once
  • Make blueberry desserts
  • Cut out and hang the Bible verse in our living room
  • Finish hanging decorations in my kitchen
  • Make decorative fence for our strawberry patch
  • Make 15 crafts off of Pinterest
  • Read 10 books for fun
Here is what I actually did accomplish off of the list:
  • Finish cross stitch of wolves for my son   -  This is not finished yet, but it is certainly closer to being done.  Here is a progress picture I posted on Instagram the other day.  
    Top left is earlier this week, top right is zoomed out so you can see all I have finished so far, bottom left is about one month ago, and bottom right is earlier this year when I picked this project up again.
  • Transform an old dresser into a desk with storage  -  Done and I will be posting this on the blog next week.
  • Start remodeling our master bedroom  -  I bought some decorations does that count?  Not anywhere close to done.
  • Scrapbook 50 layouts  - Failed - I don't think I even scrapbooked this summer.
  • Bake 15 new cupcakes from my Pinterest board  -  Failed - it got way too hot to bake because we don't have air conditioning.
  • De-clutter my office/scraproom  - I started, but still need to finish this.
  • Teach my daughter to sew  -  Failed - Once we settle in a little more to school this year, we will start working on this as part of school.
  • Sew my own skirt  -  Failed
  • Sew a dress for my daughter  -  Failed
  • Go blueberry picking more than once  - Done!  We love blueberry picking and had a lot of fun eating and picking and eating.  We picked over 50 pounds of blueberries this year.
  • Make blueberry desserts  - Done!  I tried using gluten free flour and our desserts just didn't turn out the same so I will definitely make some more this fall with regular flout this time.
  • Cut out and hang the Bible verse in our living room  - Failed
  • Finish hanging decorations in my kitchen  - Half done?  I got a few things hung back up in the kitchen, but I have more to decorate with so I am not quite finished yet.
  • Make decorative fence for our strawberry patch  -  We found our strawberry patch once this summer and then the ants took over so I postponed the fence building.
  • Make 15 crafts off of Pinterest  -  Failed
  • Read 10 books for fun  -  Failed - I think I read less than 5 books for fun this summer, but in my defense when I wrote this list I didn't know I would go back to planning my own lessons for my son.  Research for what we wanted to do for school for him took more time this summer than I thought so I didn't get as many books in.
So now I think I will make a list of the things I want to do before the end of the year.  Here they are:
  • Finish cross stitch of wolves for my son
  • Start remodeling our master bedroom
  • Scrapbook 50 layouts
  • Bake 15 new cupcakes from my Pinterest board
  • De-clutter my office/scraproom
  • Teach my daughter to sew
  • Sew my own skirt
  • Sew a dress for my daughter
  • Cut out and hang the Bible verse in our living room
  • Finish hanging decorations in my kitchen
  • Make decorative fence for our strawberry patch
  • Make 15 crafts off of Pinterest
  • Read 10 books for fun
It didn't change that much did it?  Oh well, I guess I have some things to work on.  I am off to tackle some projects, dishes, and finish my grading for the week.  What kinds of things are on your to do list for the rest of the year?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review

A couple of years ago we decided to learn to speak Spanish as a family, but we have not always been consistent about working on it and we have found it hard to teach Spanish to our kids and have them remember what they learned.  This is why I was so excited for our family to receive Starter Set 1 of Spanish from Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids to review.  I thought if my kids heard other kids speaking Spanish, they might remember it better than they do with just adults speaking it.
Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review, spanish for kids, learn Spanish, Spanish for homeschoolers, homeschool Spanish
Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids was created so that students will succeed in discovering another language and become enthusiastic about it.  Their video series uses a teaching style that was created by Kit Strauss after a decade of development.  Her videos combine immersion in the language with visuals to help students retain what they learn.  The Starter Set 1 that we received includes:
  • A 20 Week Curriculum Guide
  • DVD 1 with 3 different videos
  • 3 Workbooks that go along with each video
  • Sticker Set for Basketballs Aren't for Breakfast
  • Flashcard Set
  • The Game "Go Squish" (this is included in their Starter Set 1 for a Limited time)
As I stated we have been trying to learn Spanish as a family so I was pretty excited to get this product for us to review.  I am the only one in my family that has taken Spanish classes, but that was years ago in high school and college.  I remember a few basics, but not enough to be considered fluent.  Over the years we have tried a few other programs and methods for learning Spanish.  Hubby has picked up some of the language and while the kids have been able to pick up a very limited amount of words, they have a very hard time remembering what they learned until now.
You have to love his sense of humor and where he placed "La Casa."
When our package arrived I read through the curriculum guide for level 1 since I wanted to start at the very beginning.  Once I read through the guide, we sat down to watch the first video, Basketballs Aren't for Breakfast.  This video features kids speaking Spanish so it captured my kids' attention right away.  They saw kids sitting down for breakfast and speaking in Spanish about what they were doing and eating.  The video was funny and entertaining and over before we knew it.  There was also a review section at the end of the video so that you could review all the words taught throughout the video.  It is set up very well and there are many opportunities to learn new words and practice them.
Little Miss went for items she could reach.
Over the next couple of days we watch the video again a few times and began working through the lessons that were outlined in the curriculum guide.  I also reviewed the vocabulary with the kids every couple of day since it is listed for you in the curriculum guide.  We also began working on the activities listed in the curriculum guide for each lesson.  These lessons have been planned out in a way that is extremely easy to follow and you can easily make adjustments to make it easier or harder for each of your students which is what I did since I have 2 different grade levels in my house.  I really appreciated how complete yet flexible the lessons in the curriculum guide are.  As we continued working through the lessons, the kids had a lot of fun using the sticker set and placing them on things and people around the house and they liked working through the workbooks included in the Starter Set.  In fact they were enjoying the workbooks so much I had to stop them from working too far ahead.  We eventually watched Video 2 which is The Little Magic House Part I even though we have not completed all of the work for video 1.  So far we have watched the video 4 or 5 times and we are continuing to watch it as it does introduce a lot more words and they are words that can be confusing such as este/esta, mi/mis, nosotros, and ustedes.  These are words that will take us much longer to get down because it involves knowing the male and female forms, formal and informal, and more in depth items.  I have to tell you that video 2 is also very made and with repeated watching we really are learning the words and how to use them properly.
This was my personal favorite placement of stickers the kids did.  :)
We are truly having fun and learning with our FL4K Starter Set 1 for Spanish.  The videos are very entertaining, yet practical.  My kids don't complain when I say it is time for Spanish, instead they ask what part they get to watch and work on for today.  They had a blast putting the stickers on items around the house and they made me promise not to tell dad so they could see if he would find them all.  They like having the flashcards with the pictures on some and the words on others so they can match the pictures to the words.  They have been having races to see who is faster.  All four of us are recalling the words we are learning and the kids are even using them on their own when asking each other for things.  This is the first program that we have used where the kids are retaining and able to use the Spanish they have learned.  It is also helpful for hubby and I to hear how they pronounce the words in South America and the accents they use.  I also really like the fact that I can use this one program with both my 3rd grader and my 8th grader.  We will definitely continue using the Starter Set 1 to learn our Spanish and when we have it mastered, we will checkout FL4K's other volumes for learning Spanish.

You can find out more information on Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids on their website or on their Facebook page.  You can learn more about the Starter Set 1 we received here.  Right now their Starter Set is on sale so hurry and check it out.  Many of my Schoolhouse Review Crew friends have been trying out this program too so click the banner below to see how they like it.
Beginner Spanish Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids Review

Friday, August 12, 2016

Homeschool 101 - Encouragement

I can't believe today is the last day of  the Blog Hop with my friends at the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  It has been fun chatting about our subject - Homeschool 101.  Hopefully we have given you lots of advice and  motivation for wherever you are at in your homeschool journey.  Today we are discussing ENCOURAGEMENT.  We all need a word of encouragement from time to time and I hope that is what I will be providing in this post.  Read on...
Homeschool 101, Encouragement, Glimpse of Normal Blog
Every homeschool parent needs encouragement from time to time.  Our days can be very tough even though they are rewarding and let's face it, sometimes we get burnt out.  We love our kids, but between teaching, parenting, and all the other things we do with them exhaustion, fatigue, and burnout can set in quickly if we are not careful.  So today I want to share with you my sources of encouragement and hopefully that helps you know where to turn.

  • My Bible  -  When I am looking for encouragement, I know I can always look to Psalms for encouragement.  King David wrote many of the Psalms and so many times when he was writing them he was in a dark place, but the Psalms are filled with much hope, joy, and encouragement because David knew he could count on God.  There are many other great books of the Bible for encouragement too.  Some of the most encouraging books to me are Psalms, Esther, Corinthians, Ephesians, and Romans.
  • My Hubby  -  This man supported our homeschool journey long before we ever started it.  He helps me find solutions when we are having problems at school.  He encourages me through the long days where it felt like nothing went right.  He helps with subjects when the kids are struggling to grasp a concept and we have tried several ways of trying to learn it.  It is a HUGE encouragement to have my hubby support our homeschooling and be willing to jump in and help out in any way he can.  
  • Homeschool Friends  -  I love my friends who also homeschool.  They are a blessing to me because they understand the day to day of homeschooling.  They have been there, done it, and are even in the midst of it so they just understand.  They encourage me and hopefully I encourage them.  We bounce ideas back and forth, we talking about what products/curriculum we use with our families, and just let each other know we aren't alone in the journey.  Sometimes not being alone in the journey is the best encouragement around.  (Don't worry I love my non-homeschool friends too, they provide other encouragement for me.)
  • Blogs  -  There are so many great blogs out there and I find so many of them encouraging.  These bloggers are on the same journey as me, survived the journey already, or just offer words of wisdom.  They probably don't realize how encouraging they are because they are probably like me and write more to get it out of their head and hope someone reads it than posting confidently knowing for sure they are encouraging.  
  • My Kids - Buddy and Little Miss are pretty amazing.  I know, I know I am boasting, but they really are great kids.  They know when Mama is having a rough day and that is when I find arms around my neck for hugs, random notes, and extra "I love yous."  Even on good days I find them doing things to help, working together, and using the lessons they have been taught.  These kids of mine are awesome and I love them to pieces.
I know you are not just like me, but I hope maybe one or more of the things on my list will help encourage you.  You can't have my hubby, kids, or friends, but I hope you find encouragement in your hubby, kids, and friends.  What are your sources of encouragement?  I would love to hear from you.
5 Days of Homeschool 101
Like I mentioned at the beginning, I am participating in a blog hop this week with my friends so please click their links and read what they have to say about each subject.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Homeschool 101 - Traditions

This week I am very excited to be participating in a Blog Hop with my friends at the Schoolhouse Review Crew and we are super excited about our subject - Homeschool 101.  We are going to chat about some of the things that are most important in homeschooling and hopefully give you a lot of encouragement wherever you are at in your homeschool journey.  Today we are discussing TRADITIONS.  What are the things you do in your school year after year?  Read on...
Homeschool 101, Traditions, Glimpse of Normal Blog
Our family has many traditions, you know those things that you do year after year and you pass down.  These are things your family can look forward to and count on.  Some of our traditions are just family traditions that started when hubby and I were kids and they are things that we want to continue in our family.  Some of the our traditions are new and unique to us now.  Some of them are for our personal life and some of them revolve around school.  The point is we have traditions that our children can count on and they look forward to them, for us if we didn't do these things our kids would be so disappointed.

We do try and make school special in our house so that it doesn't just feel like a chore.  I am not saying every day is special, but we do try and do some things to make it a little more interesting and over the years these things have become traditions.  Our school traditions are:
  • A Trip to Get Ice Cream When You Learn to Read!  -  This one makes me a little sad because both my kids can read on their own and have been for years now, but I remember the look of joy as they ordered their ice cream and told the cashier, "I can read!"
  • Pictures on the First and Last Day of School  -  I always take a picture on the first day of school and the last day of school.  I love to see how my kids have grown over the years and I love to see how they grow during each year.
  • This year's pictures!
We started school yesterday!

  • A End of the Year Celebration Dinner  -  Every year at the end of the school year when the grades are tallied and it is determined that the kids will be promoting (luckily they have never been held back), we announce they will get to have a celebration dinner.  The kids get to pick the restaurant of their choice and the menu item of their choice.  So far every year they have picked Red Lobster and Buddy has demolished the Ultimate Feast every year.
    Last year's celebration dinner!
    Buddy and his Ultimate Feast
    Yes, I was totally trying to steal his food.
  • Rewards at the End of Each Grading Period for Good Grades  -  This is one of our newer traditions since Buddy is getting into harder/higher grades.  We are trying to keep him motivated.  The reward each child gets is unique to them and their interests so they know that there was thought behind it and we appreciate their hard work.
  • Displaying Excellent Work  -  When I grade something that is outstanding or a project that the kids worked really hard on, I display it.  It gets taped to the wall or a magnet on the fridge so that anyone that comes to our house can see it.  It is a little boost of confidence for my kids and they never know what will end up being displayed.

  • I am sure there are other school traditions we have that I am completely forgetting to include and my kids will let me know about it.  What do you do in your home and school that your kids would call traditions?  I would love to hear about them.
    5 Days of Homeschool 101
    Like I mentioned at the beginning, I am participating in a blog hop this week with my friends so please click their links and read what they have to say about each subject.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2016

    Homeschool 101 - Home Management

    This week I am very excited to be participating in a Blog Hop with my friends at the Schoolhouse Review Crew and we are super excited about our subject - Homeschool 101.  We are going to chat about some of the things that are most important in homeschooling and hopefully give you a lot of encouragement wherever you are at in your homeschool journey.  Today we are discussing HOME MANAGEMENT.  I will be the first to admit that sometimes my house is total chaos, but for the most part I do have a home management system in place and when I follow it, it really works.  Read on...
    Homeschool 101, Home Management, Glimpse of Normal Blog
    People always ask me how I do it all.  I homeschool, manage the home, volunteer at church, hang out with friends, spend time with my family, blog, and even have time left to work on my hobbies.  Honestly I can tell you that it all works only with God's grace and mercy.  I am human and I forget or get tired, but with prayer and God's grace I can get one task done at a time.  I will be the first to tell you that there are many times throughout the day where I struggle with the little details and I have to stop and pray for help.  You know what happens every time I do?  God gives the help whether it is a little extra energy, an encouraging word from a family member or friend, or finding a lost item, He always provides.

    It has taken me years to get good home management going and I can't even pretend I have perfected it, but I will tell you honestly I just take it one day at a time and sometimes it is even one moment at a time.  It is so easy to get overwhelmed managing the household, but that is exactly what God has called me to do so I answer that call and have found some systems to put into place.  I have blogged about them before but it has been awhile so I will tell you about them again.
    1. FlyLady.net - I found this site many years ago and I wish I could tell you I follow it completely 100% of the time, but I do not.  I used it to get our house in order, create a routine for us, and currently I "flutter" with this system.  I don't get all of her steps done every day, but each of her steps I do complete, make my day easier.  The main parts of this that I use are the Weekly Home Blessing Hour, Control Journal for running the house, and De-Cluttering.  I love her system because her whole philosophy is that you can do anything for 15 minutes at a time and it is so true.  I do what I can each week and work on doing it better next week.
    2. Menu Planning - I have done many posts on menu planning and I put up a menu of what is for dinner every month in our house.  This has helped me TREMENDOUSLY.  Is it fun sitting down for a couple of hours each month to plan out a dinner menu for the whole month?  Not really, but the benefits of having it down far out weigh the time it takes to get it done.  If you don't think you can plan for a whole month, plan your dinners for just one week at a time and before you know if you will have a whole month of dinners that you can rotate, add to, or swap out for the next month.
    3. Daily Planning - I have also posted about my love of planners and planning out the day.  I try not to list out every single thing I have to do every morning.  If I did this I would be completely overwhelmed because my list would be a mile long.  Instead I list the top 5 things I HAVE to get done for the day.  As I get each task done, I cross it off and add a new task to complete.  I also try to break up big tasks, into smaller, more manageable pieces so that I don't feel like ripping my hair out. 
    4. Teach Your Kids to Help - I used to be very overwhelmed trying to do school and keep up with the house, but my wise hubby asked me why I didn't have the kids help me with chores more?  I had to admit that it was because they wouldn't do the chores right (the way I would).  It was a pride issue.  Did it really matter if the house was perfectly dusted or the laundry was crisply folded when I felt like I didn't have time to turn around?  The answer was no.  These are tasks that I could teach my kids to help me with which would save me time and save me from "Mommy Meltdowns" and feeling like I "have" to do everything.  So I taught my kids age appropriate tasks and I continue to do so as the years go by.  They may not always complete the chore perfectly, but in reality neither do I.  
    5. Take Time - Try to take some time every day to renew and refresh yourself so you don't get burn out.  I get up every morning before my kids, have a cup of coffee and my quiet time with God.  You can do this at the end of the night too if that works better for you.  Just let your spirit rest, relax, and enjoy some quiet time.  Making sure I get this time is a priority to me because it starts my day right rather than sleeping in and getting up in a frantic rush.  A frantic rush equals stress for me and stress for me equals a bad day that just falls apart.  That is the last thing I want and it will not help me manage my home at all.  
    What do you do to manage your home?  Do you have any tips to share?  I would love to hear how you keep your house running.
    5 Days of Homeschool 101
    Like I mentioned at the beginning, I am participating in a blog hop this week with my friends so please click their links and read what they have to say about each subject.

    Tuesday, August 9, 2016

    Homeschool 101 - Planning

    This week I am very excited to be participating in a Blog Hop with my friends at the Schoolhouse Review Crew and we are super excited about our subject - Homeschool 101.  We are going to chat about some of the things that are most important in homeschooling and hopefully give you a lot of encouragement wherever you are at in your homeschool journey.  Today we are discussing PLANNING.  Planning is honestly how I keep my sanity in this homeschool journey.  Read on...
    Homeschool 101, Planning, Glimpse of Normal Blog
    Years ago I would have been the first to laugh at you if you would have told me that I need a plan.  I was a free spirit and I figured as long as I got things done by the end of the week, that was good.  That was also before kids and before we started homeschooling.  Now I don't start my day without at least a general plan and most days I have a specific plan for what I need to accomplish, what the kids need to accomplish, and any activities we may have.  This truly keeps my sanity especially when it comes to homeschooling.

    So where do you start with planning for your homeschool?  I started with our general daily schedule.  Hubby and I sat down and figured out what curriculum our kids would use and then we decided the order of their classes.  He did a great job this year of helping me take a really broad subject for my son and narrow it down by planning out our schedule.  We plan out the daily schedule for school based on who gets up first, which subjects they need help on and which subjects they can complete independently, and approximately how long each subject will take.  Once we had that set, I could go through each subject and plan specific lessons for Buddy (I didn't need to for Little Miss because we use a boxed curriculum for her that has a lesson plan book).  I plan out only a few weeks at a time, otherwise planning for the entire 180 school days becomes overwhelming (while we are working within those weeks I start planning out the next few weeks beyond those).  Then I plan for one subject at a time so that I can focus on just that subject.  I have found over the years if I take planning step by step it does not overwhelm me.  When I have tried to plan it all at once, I end up stressed, restless, and unhappy because the task is way too big.
    This is our sample schedule we are trying this year.  We will modify it as needed.
    Planning doesn't have to be super hard, but it is necessary.  I have written several posts on how I plan and why I plan and I will most likely continue to do so.  To sum it all up for you - start small and follow these steps:
    1. Choose a curriculum or mix of curriculum
    2. Plan the classes your students will take
    3. Decide the best order of the classes for your student
    4. Determine start and end times to your homeschool day
    5. Plan lessons one subject at a time for a few weeks at a time
    6. Continue to plan lessons one subject at a time for a few weeks at a time until you have enough lessons for the whole school year.
    How do you plan out your school?  I would love to hear about it.  I am always looking to make my planning more efficient.  
    5 Days of Homeschool 101
    Like I mentioned at the beginning, I am participating in a blog hop this week with my friends so please click their links and read what they have to say about each subject.