Sunday, March 27, 2011

Making Our House Feel Like HOME

This is not my house.

This is also not my house. 
(picture from Pottery Barn catalog)

But I could picture myself living this way. Peaceful. Calm. Organized. I'm not asking for a showroom of perfection. Far from it! I want my fridge to have my children's art hanging from it, I even welcome the window paint drawings on the backdoor. I want a house that feels like HOME. One that welcomes me in and makes me feel as ease. I just want a place I can sit back and read in comfortably, and not first have to hunt down the book I was reading, finding it 20 minutes later after digging through various "piles" around the house. I want to be able to find what I am looking for within a shorter amount of time that I plan on using said item. 

My first step was to join in the "project simplify" on Simple Mom, as I've mentioned before. I'm working on hot spot #3 currently, the kids' toys and clothes. I've already tackled the papers around the house and the Master Closet. I'm like a little tornado, just quietly whirling about the house, making messes as I organize. 
Living in the middle of the project makes me want to run away. I don't like the uneasiness I feel when I see these unfinished projects, and I am tempted to throw everything back into a closet, have a cleared table and declare it a losing battle. But I won't. I will keep plugging away. I will donate more boxes of "stuff" than I ever expected, and I will remember to be mindful in my future purchases. I will fill my home with things that I love, and not just things that were on sale and "would do for now". It's getting there, I just need to keep plugging away. 


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life Lessons: Being Mindful and Simplifying the Home

     The more I read about mindfulness, the more I run into the term "simplify". It makes sense that they go hand-in-hand, but I had never taken the time to think about it before. I'm joining Simple Mom in her challenge to simplify the home. I'd like to enjoy my home, in this minute and the next, instead of having the feeling that I am drowning in stuff. Clutter.
     This might be a good time to admit that I am a thrift store junky. And as the saying goes, I am the kind of woman to spend $1 on something I don't need when a man spends $2 on something he does. If it's on sale, it will probably come home with me because I swear I can find a use for it. I have lots of "projects" started an piling up as well. I'm ready to to tackle the clutter and decide once and for all to use it or lose it! 
     My intent is to have a home that is welcoming to both my family and friends, a home that doubles as a schoolhouse that invites my children to learn and explore, a home that energizes me for the day instead of holding me down. I just joined project simplify, so I'll be starting with hotspot #1 - the bedroom closet. If I don't blog again after this post, it's quite possible that I'm lost in said closet. Or I've run away, because my closet is where I dump all the unfinished projects, all the things I *might* use one day, and its beginning to become reminiscent of the talking trash heap on Fraggle Rock. The haul out to goodwill should be a good one when I'm done! I'm too shamed to post a picture of the "before", but I'll come back and add a picture of the stuff I'm letting go of :) 


Update: I survived! Here is the van all loaded up, 95% of this came from my master closet...the rest *was* in the closet at one point but had previously been moved to the garage. There's a baby gate, car seat, 2 laundry sorters, worm ride-on, organizing drawers, baby toys, and of course clothes. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Life Lessons: It's all a balancing act

     There are days where I wonder if we'll ever find our flow. It seems as if the thing I love the most about homeschooling, freedom, is also the part that causes me the most grief. We don't have an exact schedule, and no two days look the same. Instead of a schedule, we fit in lessons around other social activities, field trips and events. The upside to this freedom is that we can have an impromptu day at a hidden zoo when we were only planning on a grocery store field trip followed by a picnic! (Here are some of the animals we got to visit, an owl and some turkeys)

The downside to our days is that they don't always feel completed. Nicholas is definitely a "to do " list kind of kid. He likes to know the day's plan and what needs to get done. Sydney is more of a "fly by the seat of her pants" kind of girl. She gets inspired and runs with it! I'm somewhere in the middle, and I am trying to find a balance that works for the both of them.
     I don't expect to find a regimen that works for us all the time. Just this week we've added in karate lessons and a science co-op! Our lives will remain a juggling act, a process, and I think we will all have some good days as well as some bad. But more importantly, I think we will learn through them all. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

February 2011 Reading List

Arithmetic Village is a whole series of math fairy tales that we were fortunate enough to win. I excideldy tore opened the package and was pleased to find the books simple and charming. Sydney loves the stories and has since gone about the house playing "Polly Plus" counting jewels. 

Charlie an Lola are favorites around here and this was another big hit. Our library system just got a bunch of new titles in, yay! 

This was a cute story, albeit kind of hard to read outloud! See, the vowels are missing and are added back in as the family gets new members. At least the kids got a kick out of me trying to say words without vowels :) 


The Month Might Be Milk was on a friend's list from last month and looked like the sort of book we would like. We read it, and it was. S had the cool idea to make the cookie recipe but I had enough girl scout cookies laying around here to tempt me ;)

Sydney loves this book! We read it together many times. MANY times. She also chose this as her book-club pick an gave a great little report on it. 

Junie B. reminds me of Sydney. She is a wild child, full of love and creativity and also loudness. Nicholas used to enjoy this series, but has since grown out of it. This is now a bedtime series for Sydney and she seems to enjoy reading chapter books.

Our new family time reading adventure, brought to us by my childhood favorite author Judy Bloom. This is still what we are currently reading and it is proving to be a bonding book for us, as we can all relate to the characters and their wit.