Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Blog Hiatus

 It has been a long, hard decision for me, but ultimately I had to make the best decision I could.  We are in a season of life right now where I don't have time to sit down and blog regularly.  I miss blogging and put it on my to-do list every week, but I just don't have the time.  Therefore, I am going to take a blogging hiatus.  I hope to be back to blogging in the fall, but at this time I have no definite return date for this blog.  Thank you for your understanding.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Our Barn Home - The Basement Part 2

Welcome back, friends!  The other week I shared the first post about our basement makeover.  You can read about that here.  I shared that our basement was just a barn basement that originally held animals and had had a tiny bit of a makeover at some point, but it was kind of a scary place.  It was dark, damp, and dreary.  We had been told that it would always just be a barn basement and be a HUGE project to tackle, but we could see a vision for the basement and we wanted usable space.

As we started the renovation, we found proof of the horse stalls that had been there, the ramp that led the animals in, and the opening where the back of the barn originally opened wide to the outside.  All of that was pretty cool to uncover because it tells the history of this barn we live in.  At some point in the barn's history, someone did some renovating down there because instead of horse stalls there was a small tack room, a wide-open area, a bathroom with a lovely pink sink and toilet (you can hear the sarcasm in that, right?), and an area that was walled off to be a storage room or workroom.  So all of this had to come out in order to start the renovation process.  It was M-E-S-S-Y, but necessary.  

Here are the pictures where everything is torn out.   There was tons of extra wiring that had to be tracked to see if it was being used, there had been a nest or two of red squirrels that stored walnuts in our walls, and there was a little bit of mold from the dampness that had to be taken care of.  So be aware that these pictures aren't pretty, but they are real...

Our Barn Home - The Basement Part 2
This is the area where the workroom/storage room was.

Our Barn Home - The Basement Part 2
This is the view from inside the basement door as you walk in.  See I told you wiring was everywhere.

Our Barn Home - The Basement Part 2
This is the other side across from the workroom.  Back in the corner is where the pink bathroom was.  Where you can see insulation is where the original door to let animals out was.

Our Barn Home - The Basement Part 2
This is the area where the tack room was and where the walls were full of walnuts.

Our Barn Home - The Basement Part 2
These were put up over the tack room and on the concrete below you can see it was originally a horse stall so these horseshoes probably belonged to the horse in the stall.  I insisted they be left where they are and they are still up on the beam.

Our Barn Home - The Basement Part 2
In tearing out some areas we found a record of what the woman who originally converted the barn into a house had done.  I was so sad there was mold on this because I would have framed it as part of the barn's history.  She said she used extra siding from the farmhouse upfront to cover the barn wall.

Our Barn Home - The Basement Part 2
This is the siding from the farmhouse that sits in front of our barn.  Pretty cool and it is still tucked away in our basement under insulation and wall now.

See, I warned you.  It was not pretty down there.  I hope you read all the captions on the pictures because I told a little bit of the history of our barn in them.  Check back in soon for the next part of our basement makeover.  I promise it gets A LOT better.  See you soon friends!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Our Barn Home - The Basement Part 1

 We live in our dream barn...okay, actually it has always been my dream to live in a converted barn and the family got on board with that dream.  We have been living here for 4 years now and I have shown you so many of the changes we have made.  Many of the changes were just cosmetic changes, but some have been more detailed than a coat of paint.  You can look back and see the changes by searching the title "Our Barn Home" on this blog.  

Last year we decided it was time to tackle our basement.  The basement of the barn was a pretty scary place.  It had had a little work done to it over the years, but overall it was still just a barn basement that at one time held cattle, horses, and probably critters I don't even want to think about...okay, I know for sure it held some icky critters we found plenty of evidence.  We always planned to convert the basement from a scary storage place that no one really wanted to go in to into a family-friendly space.  That is what we spent much of 2020 doing.  So before we go any farther, prepare yourselves for the before pictures...

A Glimpse of Normal
This was the area known as the workshop.

A Glimpse of Normal
This was originally a tack room area.

A Glimpse of Normal
This was the main room of the basement.

A Glimpse Of Normal
Another picture of the main room.

A Glimpse of Normal
The back corner of the main room.  

A Glimpse of Normal
This is not a great picture but it did have a bathroom with pink fixtures and saloon doors.

A Glimpse of Normal
Another view of the main area...SCARY.

There you have it.  That was the scary area known as our basement before we really touched it.  It was S-C-A-R-Y and we dreaded hearing the sentence "It is in the basement." because you never knew what you were going to find.  Hang around and I will post more of how we transformed this space soon.  See you then!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Happy New Year 2021!!!

 Happy 2021!!!!  I am assuming if you are reading this, you survived 2020.  What a crazy year!  It had its good moments and great moments, but it also had it's "oh my goodness, what is next?" moments.  You feel me?  Anyway, it's 2021 now and we are moving on.

Part of coming into 2021 is my return to blogging.  I thought about quitting my blog.  There was a time last year where I felt I really didn't have anything productive to say, but every time I thought about shutting down my blog, a little voice inside me said no.  My blog is a creative outlet for me and if it were gone I would miss it.  I will be doing a blog makeover as time allows.  I will continue to share our lives and the projects we have going on around our dream barn.  I also plan to do more cooking and baking so that I can share some recipes and recipe reviews with you.  I love to cook and bake and it is about time the blog really reflected that.  I also love crafting and more of that needs to appear here.  I am sure there will be other things as well, but I haven't really decided what that will be yet.  Who knows what the new normal will be?  😂😂😂

Happy New Year!  Our family wishes the very best for you this year.  I hope you will come back and see what we are up to.  

Friday, July 24, 2020

We Have a Graduate!!!

The world seems a little crazy right now and there is no telling what tomorrow might bring.  While there are so many uncertainties we are over here choosing joy and choosing to celebrate at A Glimpse of Normal.  It has been a pretty big year for us and although we have had to postpone some things, we are still celebrating.
We Have a Graduate from A Glimpse of Normal
We have our first homeschool graduate!!!  We are super excited to announce that CJ has completed all the requirements and classes to graduate from high school.  We are beyond proud of him.  He wanted to be a part of the Class of 2020 and decided over two years ago that he would work really hard to make that happen.  His hard work has helped him graduate a year early.  Along with graduating a year early, he has started his own small engine business.  The really cool thing about his business is that he has done all the work for creating it.  He did the research, filed the paperwork to get it registered in our county and state, and he does all the advertising, ordering of parts, paperwork, and so on.  The business is completely his and he is doing very well with it.  As of right now, CJ's plans after high school are to continue developing his business and to possibly take some certification classes this fall to get certified with the brands he carries in his shop.  Congratulations CJ!!!
Our graduate from A Glimpse of Normal
We originally planned for graduation and an open house in early May, but due to the pandemic, we had to postpone that.  We finally decided to change up our plans and separate the graduation and the open house so that CJ could be presented with the diploma he worked so hard for.  In the middle of May, we had a very small, immediate family only, graduation ceremony.  It was a beautiful day and we were able to have the ceremony outside and celebrate a little with family.  We are planning an open house for August because life has to go on even in crazy times.  
End of the 2019-2020 school year from A Glimpse of Normal
Along with CJ graduating this year, Missy has graduated from elementary school.  She finished 6th grade and is now officially a middle school student...or at least she will be when we start 7th grade this fall.  It will definitely be different planning school for just one student, but I am looking forward to being able to plan school around Missy's interests.  Our school may look a little different this year, but I guess everyone's will...

Thursday, June 11, 2020

A Small Update

Life hasn't been normal lately.  But you already know that because your life hasn't been normal either.  Who knew that one virus/disease would turn the world as we know it upside down?  
We have been fine throughout all of this so far and for that we are thankful.  Hubby worked from home for quite a few weeks and still has a modified working arrangement as sometimes he is home working and sometimes he is in the office.  We finished up our 2019-2020 school year.  I will definitely write more about that in a different post.  We have also been working on some home remodeling projects.  If you follow me on Instagram you have probably seen some of it.  If not, I will get around to blogging about it soon.  It has been a pretty big project so it is taking up a lot of extra time.

Plans have been being canceled and big events that we have been looking forward to have had to postpone until next year.  We get it.  Things just aren't "normal" right now.  Then rioting and protesting started.  It's hard, those are tough subjects.  We had several conversations about it all with our kids.  They need to know.  So I say all this to say...I just haven't had the write words for my blog lately.  No posts can bring back lives lost so far this year whether it be to the virus, rioting, or whatever.  It didn't seem right to be sharing DIY projects when people were losing homes, jobs, etc.  Now that life is starting to get somewhat normal, I plan to get back into the swing of blogging.  I'm working hard to find the words for my posts and get some content out for you all to read.  I'm still around and have been writing in my head, but now I will try and get them written out here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Sneaky Ways to Learn

Hey there, all you unexpected E-Learning families!  I know this wasn't your plan to do homeschool work.  I know your world has been flipped upside down and everything feels a little crazy with all the uncertainty and news lately.  It feels that way to us who have homeschooled all along too.  We are in the thick of it with you.  There are no right answers and methods and perfect ways to do things in homeschooling.  There is only what works for your family, use this opportunity to figure out the best schedule and methods for your family.  You don't have to do what we do or stick to a school day schedule (other than to do the E-Learning work) or set up a schoolroom.  Just take a deep breath and know you will make it through this one day at a time.  I've been homeschooling for over 12 years and we still have the occasional rough day and we have to make adjustments.  More than anything, I want you to know you are not alone.  There are plenty of homeschoolers out there and many of us are more than willing to help you out and give you ideas to break up your day and lessen the stress of the situation.  Reach out to those you know who are homeschooling or who have homeschooled in the past.  With all that said, I have been thinking about things we have done over the years to break up the monotony of bookwork.  I came up with a quick list of ideas for you to try out.  Here are some ideas I have used in our homeschool just to break up the routine. 
Here are some sneaky ways to get in some learning time from A Glimpse of Normal.
Monopoly - This is a great game for teaching while the kids don't even realize they are learning. This game is great for math - counting, money, multiplying (figuring rent, cost of houses, etc.).  This game can also be great to learn some negotiating skills (think trading property fairly).  I know you are going to say "But this game takes FOR-EVVVVER." There are ways that you can speed it up.  Deal out the properties instead of waiting for people to land on them and buy them.  Do an auction for each property if the person that landed on it doesn't want to buy it.  There are several other ways you can speed it up too.  If your kids are a little too young to understand fully how to play, use the board and make up your own rules that are adjusted for what they understand.

Baking - Baking can be a lesson in math and science.  We use fractions all the time in baking without ever thinking about them.  Now is a great time to bake a tasty treat and use some math skills.  If your recipe calls for 1/4 cup, ask what would that be if we doubled it, tripled it, cut it in half, etc?  Also, think about the science behind baking.  What does the baking soda do?  Why do we use baking powder to make things rise?  (If you don't know, you can cheat and use Google).

Scrabble - Yes, I know this game can be pretty complicated, but you can adjust the rules to your child's age and understanding.  When my kids were little, we let them spell out what they could so they could play a word.  We would let them use names, challenge them to play their spelling words, challenge them to rhyme with the last word played, and all kinds of other versions.  Adjust the game to fit what your child needs. 

Read and Watch - There are tons of movies based on books right now.  Read the book aloud to your child or take turns reading it to each other or have them read to you.  It doesn't matter how it gets read, you can even listen to the audiobook.  After you have finished reading the book, watch the movie.  Compare how the book and movie are different from each other. 

Yahtzee or Farkle - They are having fun playing a game and don't even realize they are doing math, practicing decision-making skills, and learning.

Send Out Happy Mail - Have your kids write letters to relatives or nursing home residents.  If they are too young to practice their letter writing skills, have them color pictures.  Who doesn't love getting something in the mail that isn't a bill?

Chore Challenges - One of the hardest things to do when everyone is at home is to keep up on chores.  They pile up faster and seem to be a bigger mess than normal.  Get your kids to help out and teach them how to do chores at the same time.  Make games out of it.  Set a timer for 10 minutes or 15 minutes and challenge them to pick up their room or the play area.  While they are busy doing that, take the time to tidy up a room yourself or do the dishes.  Fold the laundry and leave the socks for kids to match up.  Then as they make matches, they can shoot baskets with the folded socks into the laundry basket.  You can make just about any chore into a game.  If your kids need a prize, give out extra screen time or play a game with them when they finish.

Card Games - There are tons of card games that kids can learn from.  Memory, Go Fish, Old Maid, Solitare, SkipBo, Phase 10, Uno, and the list goes on.  We love card games in our family and end our evenings playing cards many nights.  They are an easy way to learn concepts without it feeling like a lesson.

Meal Prep - Let your kids help at mealtime.  Based on their age and experience level, give them tasks to help make meals.  It could be anything from setting the table to helping prepare ingredients for the meal to actually cooking the meal (for older kids).  Get them involved and let them help you out at the same time.

This list isn't extensive, it is just the beginning.  I will either add to this list or write another post with more ideas as they come to me.  I hope these ideas help and I would love to hear what you have tried or ideas you have.  Just remember to take it one day at a time and this too shall pass.