Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wait, I won? ((Mugswap 2013 - ACuppaKim))

My Rooney is the one with all the "luck" in the family... he won us a vacation package a couple of years ago and our jaws dropped because we aren't usually "winners," you know at much of anything ((certainly not sports and MOST definitely not random drawings!)).

Perhaps the luck for this family is turning around...

I just completed the annual Mug Swap hosted over at It was my second year participating and Kim had the most fabulous sponsors this year with two prize packs.  Take a look because I WON and am anxiously awaiting for some of that GOODNESS to arrive in my mailbox!

"Official" post forthcoming with pics of the mug/tea cup that I swapped & received, and of course pics of the "loot" when it arrives from the generous sponsors!  You're going to want to visit these Etsy stores friends!!

Oh, and mark your calendars for August me, you're gonna want to pay ACuppaKim a visit for #mugswap2014 !


Monday, August 12, 2013

A New Chapter...Homeschool

Pre-K is not a requirement for the state we currently live in, but my Rooney is one who loves learning.  I started reading to him within the first week home from the hospital and he loves flashcards more than most toys!  My Lifetime Love and I made the decision to homeschool long before we had children.  This post is not intended to explain the reasons we chose to homeschool ((while I'm happy to discuss with any friends interested)) and I genuinely feel that each family has to choose what works best for them.  This post is strictly a "mercy oh my, the time has come --- pray for us!!"

I feel like it is a new chapter in our lives ((school age children)), but I'm aware it's going to feel more like a journey!

We. Can. Do. This.

---->Photos with my Rooney?  Well, they are interesting these days.... I just do what I can!

Summer Reading Goals & a "Forklifter"

My Rooney has always been a book-a-holic.  Sister-girl.....well, she's working on it - she just never sits still long enough to "really" enjoy it like Rooney.  Faithfully, since our move to "Aldabana," I've been taking both the kiddos to storytime at our local library ((which I can't rave about enough, what a blessing our library is)).  My Rooney needs work being comfortable in groups and Sister-girl needs motivation to get into books, so storytime has really been a win-win for us.

I was excited when it was announced at storytime a couple of months ago that they offered a Summer Reading Program.  Admittedly, I had really become lazy since the move & the quantity of books we were reading weekly was just nothing like it had been previous to the move.  We all needed some incentive, myself included.

I picked a relatively small number for Sister-girl, 21, because I only wanted to genuinely list new books where I felt as though she was "listening" or giving me some amount of her attention.  She is frequently around when Rooney and I are reading together and I know she benefits from that as well.  Taking into account weeks we would be traveling and off of our normal home schedule, I set a goal of 70 for Rooney.  He's turning 4 this month and when I said "70" out loud I thought, "seriously, that is rediculous."  The math just added up though - broken down weekly is was 10-12 new books a week.

As for incentive, I had never really needed incentive for Rooney but he was new to the idea of setting a goal....especially one with such a large number attached to it!  When we talked about it, he honestly just acted like he wasn't interested!  I was shocked!  I explained what a goal was and how at the end you got a reward for reaching your goal.  That's when he shouted out "a forklifter!!"  It is still funny to me!  I wasn't even sure I could find a toy forklift.  Reliable Amazon quickly answered that question and for a price tag of about $16, I was happy to make a deal and firm up this goal.

Week after week we visited the library, choosing books that fit the kiddos interest.  Dogs, trains, farms, food (well, they are little foodies in all honesty!), dinosaurs, otters, cowboys, friends, family.  Every week there would be at least two books that I would say "how did I not know about this AWESOME book?!"  It was contagious, with even my Lifetime Love and I discussing what great "finds" we were discovering with the children.

I knew the benefit up front: more quiet, focused family time.  Well, at least that was what I was thinking.  The benefits were truly so much more than I had imagined though!  Seventy "new" books being introduced to a soon to be four year old, in less than two months.... his vocabulary completely blossomed!  The verbal changes have been so positively overwhelming!

Our goals were to be completed by last Friday and even this Momma felt rather accomplished when it was time to turn our reading list in!

There were plenty of treats & incentives provided by the local library too!  All the kiddos reaching their goals were given backpacks full of "coupons" good for items around town...a burger, cookie dough, cinnamon sticks...and of course a new toothbrush & toothpaste to remedy all those free sweet treats!  Perhaps best of all was that each child was able to pick a book to take home from a designated "stack."  Not just good books...great books!  It would have been impossible for me to choose, so the kiddos happily picked their own.
I'm pretty certain Sister-girl just picked the largest book she could fit in her hands, and it came as no surprise that my Rooney chose a Little Bear book - he just might be Little Bear's biggest fan ;)
((Excuse Rooney's "seriously Mom, another picture?" look!!))

The forklifter?  Well, I decided that in order for it to be truly a life lesson that he had to complete the goal fully and then get it, and since we had agreed he could order it from Amazon I stuck to my guns and didn't let him order it until he turned his list in.  Sure, I could have told him a few days before that he would be done soon and we could go ahead and get it ordered, but this just seemed like a good life lesson.  He really made me proud.  All summer, he made me proud, but perhaps super proud when we ordered that forklifter and he waited for it to be delivered!
Sister-girl is quite the cheerleader....she was so super excited for him!  Next year she will be old enough to join in on the "goal setting" lesson.  I really should have photographed her with her new toothbrush - she loves a toothbrush!  ((It's the small things to her!))
And yes....when we turned in our reading list, we promptly checked out about fifteen more "new" books.  We're addicted to this goodness!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pallet Art...((of sorts))

Anything using a pallet is all the rage on Pinterest these days.  I'm guilty as charged when it comes to pinning and repinning everything with a pallet....desk, garden, bookshelf - you name it, I've probably pinned or "liked" it!  I suppose it is my attraction to the "raw" looking wood, maybe?

Well, when the previous owners of our "new" old home moved out, they left a few items for us.  I kinda get the feeling it was "junk" they didn't want to deal with.  Yeah, they didn't know they were selling to a junk lover!

One trip to the basement after closing and immediately I took note of these "pallet-like things" they had left behind.  I'm, you know, not from around here, so I've had a few folks from these parts take a look and asked their opinion --- everyone agrees, they don't have a clue, other than they are "pallet-like!"

Call it what you want.......I just call it love at first sight ;)  My wheels started spinning and as Rooney's room really started coming together "design-wise" I knew it was the perfect spot for the "pallet-like" treasure.

I've had lots of those days lately where my creative brain takes the wheel despite the loads of, oh you know - housework ((insert cringe)), that desperately needs my attention.  So, this little project came together super fast!

The bunting/banner is made from precut pieces I had purchased from a deal site and set aside just waiting for the perfect project to pop up.  They seem to be made from a pressed composite type board and I chose to paint them with Valspar's chalkboard paint so they are essentially reusable.  Painting them was a breeze, but I have done more chalkboard paint projects now than I can count and I have learned that basically the more coats of paint, the better.

I have also gladly given up chalk!  Have you tried a chalkboard marker?  Lifechanging.  I'm a bit obsessed with them and that is probably why I have something chalkboard in over half the rooms of my house.  Chalkboard markers write similar to a dry erase marker, but you will have to "prime" them.  I also highly recommend that you use a "magic eraser" anytime you wish to erase them.  A damp magic eraser and a dry paper towel make all your chalkboard surfaces good as new!  I'm sure most craft stores carry chalkboard markers now, but I have purchased all mine from Amazon (I especially like the ones with a chisel tip).

I explained to my Rooney that I wanted to use this "treasure" to hang photos on.....we discussed what to write on the bunting. His name, maybe?  "Friends, Mom, friends!"  My Rooney is all about his friends  ((and he's truly blessed in that department, with friends far & wide)), so I readily agreed that was a perfect choice.

I freehanded the FRIENDS, though you could easily use a stencil if you wanted.  I inserted ribbon to create & tie the bunting ((resisting my urge to use polka dot ribbon....trying to keep it "boy" looking for my Rooney)).  Added ten-cent pictures I had printed off with push pins, and ta-da!!!

I'm. In. Love.

Time to get busy taking more pictures with friends!
Oh, also these are my favorite. As usual I'm getting paid zilch for this recommendation :)
And.....the wall color is KHAKI.... not peach or pink as it appears. Excuse my taking photos at nighttime with no natural light!  This Momma s q u e e z e s in blogging between bathing, supper making, reading, diapering, chasing....ahhh, you get it!