Inventing a girls space

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

To-do list for the girls' room:

  • Make Bird Mobile from Spool Sewing
  • Paint Rocking Chair yellow
  • Buy/install IKEA Knappa Lamp
  • Paint dresser pastel pink, find knobs
  • Paint/Install white shelf around the ceiling on 2 walls
  • Find fabric to make knock off  Pottery Barn Kid's Audrey Chenille Dot panels I'm drooling over...or else sell a bunch of stuff on craiglists/ebay to fund the real deal
  • Find daybed with trundle on Craigslist
  • Spray paint daybed pure white
  • Find white comforter for daybed; funky pillows
  • Find a small white table; maybe Ikea?  Garage sale?
  • Hang gold/mixed frames/prints

Still no call.  This is helping.

Singapore, Saxon or Math-U-See?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What is it about the Spring semester that makes me tired of our school books and longing for fresh curriculum?

Since Christmas, I've been reading reviews, ordering catalogs, and now, asking you for curriculum advice. Specifically: Math.

We've very happily used Singapore Math for 3 years with Belle, and in the fall will be starting a Kindergarten level Math with Boo.

The simplest thing to do now is to continue with Singapore Math for both.  And cheapest.  That's nice.

Then I saw a Math-U-See video and thought how wonderful for Boo to "see" math and use his hands to learn critical concepts.  He's a boy, and I thought that might be good for a boy.  Right?

It has also always been my plan to at some point make the switch to Saxon Math, because I used in junior and senior high and appreciated the repetition.  Yes, some people actually doing the same things over and over.  I am one of them.

However, I don't want to use a different curriculum each year.  And I don't want to spend a trillion dollars on kits, manipulative sets, and more manipulatives to complete the first manipulative set.

Okay.  Your turn.  Give me your opinion and I will listen.  Just don't say anything mean about Saxon.  It might hurt my feelings.


***Update:  I found Math U See at a garage sale and snagged the complete Gamma Set as well as the Starter and Completer Blocks.   Now I'm wondering how Belle will do going from Singapore 2 to Gamma.  Should we have done Beta first? ***

Better than a Clean Kitchen

Monday, March 22, 2010

Life's too easy right now.  I'm getting nervous.  But I'm also thinking I need to be more prepared for these easy days.

The other afternoon, Baby went down for a 2 plus hour nap.  Belle went next door to play at a neighbor's house.  Boo watched a Netflix movie on my laptap.

Unprepared for the break, I did what I thought was most urgent and logical.  I dusted my countertops.

Even as I spritzed and wiped, I was thinking, "There's something else I should be doing.  What is it?"

Miles away are two good friends.  Friends who would call these days anything but easy.  And I hurt for them.   Often I've wanted to pick up the phone and ask how today was.  But I don't because the volume in our home is typically high, and too distracting for a real grown-up, mommy-to-mommy conversation.

But there I was with two hours of quiet time.  And I was cleaning my kitchen.

Rather than regretting the clean counters, I will use them as a reminder, however long they stay clean.  A reminder to be prepared for unexpected time, to be a friend, to give what I don't own: my time.

Do you have a plan for those expected hours?


For those who pray, would you pray for my mom?

She and my Dad left on March 3rd for the trip of their lives, or marriage-to-date.  They were celebrating their 40th anniversary and had planned a trip to The Holy Land with stops in London and Rome.   

About 3 days into their 11 day Israel tour, my mom slipped and fractured her hip.  Their insurance company flew them home immediately to have surgery in the States, to put in three screws.  

They are home now, and the recovery has been painful, tiring and disappointing.  

My mom is confident that God knows about this and has a plan.   



Before and After: Our Entryway Mudroom

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I thought about calling this post, "How it Pays to Have Friends with Skillz"  after my last post.  Because this makeover is all thanks to my friends, Sammi and Eddie for their tools and skillz.  Is it one "L" or two when you add a 'z?

After spending the winter frustrated with our staircase turned coat rack, and then seeing Tim, The Remodeling Guy's post on this Coat Hanger Shelf, I thought I had to at least try this how-to.  It turned out to be too much for the Pajama Mama, but no problem for Sammi's husband who always seems up for a project.

Here's the before:

And the afters:

And for those of you who read PM in a reader, click over to see what my other skilled friend Ana (you know her from Barefooted-Blessings) did to my banner!

Thanks, Ana & Eddie!


How it pays to have' chair pockets

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Confession:  I truly believe I can do anything.

Really, I know it is so vain of me to say but apart from making it to the Olympics for a sport other than curling, I really think if I try hard enough, I can do anything.  Thanks, Mom & Dad.

It is this belief that leads to my benefit.  But it also leads to my demise at times.  And more often than I remember, it is to my own frustration.

About a month ago, I came across a blog post how-to that I just had-to.  I read it several times and came to the above conclusion: I can do anything.  Including this woodworking project.

I went to Lowes with my little list and borrowed my father in law's miter box.  Why don't I just buy my own?  I re-opened the blog post tutorial and thought I could finish this little project before Mr. Smarty even got home.

Nope.  I was wrong.

I even emailed the blogger who wrote the how-to and asked him again, exactly how-to.  Then later decided to prop the wood up against an out of the way wall in the garage and wait until I figured something out.

This week, I figured something out.  Actually, I can't take credit for it, but I will anyway.

A friend of mine needed 20 chair pockets made for her daughter's classroom.  She said she would pay me.  I said no.  She said she would buy me a gift card.  I said no.   Then I remembered that she's married to a woodworking genius.  And then I remembered my out of the way project just sitting in my garage.

I've never sewn so fast or so cheerfully.

I'll finish up the last of them and hopefully make the trade this week (you'll have to wait for that post).  

Do you trade skills?  I'll also consider taking on homeschooling students for cooking or cleaning services, too.  Let me know,


Potions and Concoctions, part V: Eyebrow Sugaring

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Eyebrow Sugaring, an alternative to waxing

Last month, Angry Chicken did a series of Potions and Concoctions where she gave recipes for homemade cough syrup, mullein oil, an eye compress and chai concentrate.   

"Potions" and "concoctions" -aren't those just fun words?  They make me want to brew something.  So in the spirit of homemade, here's a Pajama Mama potion-which is very easy and potentially very money saving-somewhere in the half-a-hundred-dollar-bill-a-year range.  

  • 1 cup sugar
  • half a lemon for the juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • A drizzle of molasses 
  • Cornstarch (to powder with for tautness)
  • Something to spread the mixture with like a tongue depressor, popsicle stick or spatula.
  • Cotton fabric cut into strips 
Over low-heat, mix the lemon, sugar, and honey until it bubbles into a smooth consistency. Allow  it to cool a bit. I still like my potion on the warm side.

To use, make sure your brows, or legs or where ever you wish to place it is clean and dry. Then dust area with cornstarch, which I've read draws out oil.  Spread a thin layer. Cover with a strip of fabric, and rubbing the strip the opposite way of hair growth, about 3 times. Hold your skin taut with one hand and with the other, grab the fabric end and pull it off very quickly against the direction of the hair growth. 

This stores well, just reheat if it gets too hard to spread.  

Do you concoct?   Do tell.