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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Outlet/light switch covers

I have a love/hate relationship with painting.  I love doing it, I just hate picking colors.  

We finally picked a color for my daughters room.  She is very into zebra stripes, bright colors and fashion.

We got the color on the walls, but didn't want a boring cover around the light switch or outlet.  Our problem - do  we paint it, or decorate it some other way.  I had seen several ideas on Pinterest, but none of them seemed right for her room.

Like most girls my girl is very into duct tape.  Since the color for her wall is inspired by one of her favorite duct tape patterns, why not use duct tape to decorate with?
This is what SHE came up with - on her own.

I think she did a fantastic job.  The colors go great together and there is even more personality in her room.   I am looking forward to using another tape on other covers throughout the house.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Command strip remover

I love command strips.  We have them all over the house.  I use them to hang a wreath on the front door, earring holders on my daughters walls, lights around the kids windows, as towel holders, robe hangers, hanging pictures and kitchen utensils, and a few other places in the house.

3 Christmases ago, I hung five large command hooks on the mantel for stockings.

Notice if you will.....  the position of the hooks.  I didn't pay attention when I hung them.  I just put them up.  These hooks have to be taken off the plastic backing (with the sticky attached) by moving the hook itself in an upward position.

Not possible with the way these are on the mantel.  They are completely blocked in.  Oops


So, I contacted to find out what to do.  They suggested using floss to 'saw' the strip off.  I didn't know if it was going to work, or even how.  Worth a try I suppose.  I didn't want to leave them up another year, but I didn't know what else to do.  I went to the bathroom and got some floss.  I wrapped it around my fingers and tried to floss the strip.  This floss broke.

I don't particularly like the Reach floss, but I have it.  So I use it.  Since the other stuff broke, I went to find something stronger.


I wound the floss around my fingers and finagled the floss between the mantel and the hook.  Not as hard as I initially thought.

It started easy, got a little difficult toward the end but I defiantly saw the hook separating from the wall.

Once the hook came off I was simply left with this.....

From here you just remove the strip as you normally would.  Much easier than I thought it would be.


I got all 5 off in under twenty minutes.  My 12 year old was even able to do it.  I'm glad to see that I no longer have to worry about command strips being stuck somewhere.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Free Reading - 31 Kisses

When I first started reading this, I though 'hmmm, just another silly romance novel.'  It is, but it is so cute!  31 Kisses is written by Chautona Havig - the same author who also wrote Ready or Not. 

Had I noticed that, I would have been a lot more excited to read it!

Right around Christmas Chessie and Gumpy (grandpa) are at the grocery store.  Grandpa finds a cute guy, Carson,  to set Chessie up with, but never quite finds a way to do. 

A few days later Carson happens to stop by Chessies house and inadvertantly knocks her Gumpy off a ladder!  As with all great romance novels, they quickly become friends and start a new tradition with kisses - the chocolate kind.

Gumpy is such a kid at heart, constantly evesdropping and pushing Carson and Chessie together.  Chessie is a thoughtful granddaughter, always thinking about Gumpys salvation, not her own personal interests.  In the end - at least one of them get their way.

I laughed so much with so many parts of this book.  It also made me crave kisses :)  I was a little sad to see that there is not a second book to continue the story, but then again, if there was, I would want to buy every one!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Curriculum Review - Apologia Land Animals

Young Explorer Series
Zoology 3 Exploring Creation with
Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day

This is the book my girls used for Science for the fist semester of the 2012/13 school year.  This book was so well laid out that I didn't need a teachers book to explain it (they took it at co-op any how).   There were plenty of colorful photos, easy to read text, and exciting activities.

At the end of each lesson is a What do you remember section.  The student is to review/write the answer to a few questions regarding what they learned in that lesson.  Along with tracking, notebook activities, and mapping skills are fairly easy experiments.  We didn't do each one, but the ones we did were simple enough and did not require a huge trip to the store (love it!)

While taking this class at co-op, the students were also challenged to make a zoo and add animals to it each week.  The new animals were to be the ones they had learned about that week.

We really enjoyed learning about the animals, then taking a trip to the zoo to see them in "real life" and talking about what we had just learned.  I really believe that the girls will retain so much more information from this class than any other.

Along with the text book, you can also get a note booking journal.  I got a jr journal for my 4th grader, but would not do it again.  It would be fine for a student who really does not like to write or for a younger child, but there were too many coloring pages.

My older daughter (5th grade) had a regular journal.  There are pages to color small pictures of what you learned about, and write info about the creature, mini books and penmanship practice as well.

In co-op we did the entire book in one semester.  That was way too fast.  If you spend an entire year and really enjoy the book, you will get a lot out of it, and retain the information.  As with all home schooling - you only get out of it, what you put into it.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Eggs in Ham

12 slices of semi thin ham (lunch meat)
10-12 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 250
Grease your muffin tin - butter tastes best
Take your ham and cut one slice across the radius.  It doesn't have to be perfect.
Now, put the ham in the muffin tin so that it forms a 'bowl'
Break your eggs - one at a time - into a small bowl. 
Add your milk.
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk vigorously with a fork.

Pour into the ham.  Depending on the size of your eggs and the size of your muffin tin, you may not need all of the egg.  Do not over fill.
Bake at 250 for 15-20 minutes or until desired done-ness.   I like mine firm - no squishy runny yellow stuff on my plate!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Stuff, stuff, and more stuff

Why are we such a consumer driven society? 

In what generation did we go from being happy with what we had to needing multiples of everything we already have and then more?

In preparation for some upcoming construction I was helping my mother clean out my grandmother's living room the other day. My grandmother is 80 + years old she my grandfather have lived in this same house for about 30 years. My grandfather, however, passed away nearly 3 years ago. My grandmother’s health is declining.

Being the oldest and the only one that lives close by, the responsibility fell on me to help her clean out the living room.  In living room there's a set of shelves with cabinets underneath.  The shelves have displayed crystal things (bowls, and vases and stuff I cannot find a purpose for) for as long as I can remember. Underneath those shelves are four cabinets. I don’t think that my siblings and I ever thought of looking at what was in those cabinets. There are places in everyone's home you don't ever consider looking through. This is one of those places. As children you never stop to think about what might even be in there. Curiosity never overtook us, so we never stopped to check it out.

While my mother and I were cleaning out the cabinet we found a dozen empty boxes. Empty.  Empty boxes.  30 years of storing empty boxes.  We also found 6 boxes of crystal that had never been opened. These boxes have been in the cabinet for 30 years.
Unused. Unopened. Unloved. So why have them?

Along with the empty boxes in crystal were vcr programmers, remote controls to things we could not identify, cable cords, 6 sets of headphones, nick knacks, do dads, and some worthless stuff.  Among all of their possessions, I also found a few treasures they had collected from Africa, Japan, Czechoslovakia, and Germany. I'm sure these things had great memories attached to them 20 years ago. My grandfather is no longer with us, and my grandmother can't remember last week. So stories were never passed on and never attached to the object. Thus rendering these items worthless to anyone left behind.

As we were going through these cabinets, more cabinets under the wet bar, and a hallway closet I found unopened gifts, unopened items that they had purchased, half used items, and things that have been ruined by non-use and storage for the last few years.

You don't think about things getting ruined simply because they have not been used.

I have never understood people buying things just to have them,  but then not using them. I can understand wanting to be careful with great grandma's china, but you can't truly appreciate and love it if it is never used.

When I got back home that night I looked around my house. I try to make a point of everything having multiple purposes.  If I buy something and cannot use it on a regular basis, for one reason or another, it quickly becomes clutter.

I don't have time for clutter. I have children, I do not need disorder. Our playroom is full of it. I try to keep the children's bedrooms uncluttered, dejunked, and relatively clean.
I told my husband not to buy me stuff. For many years he was in the habit of buying me a cow when we visited a new city/state. My memory it has never been very good. I look at these things and think “how cute.”  

I would rather have a photo album with stories in it than a trinket that will mean nothing to anybody in 30 years. 

However, if I have a photo album, with stories attached to the photos, not only will I be able to add detail to those stories in a few decades, my grandchildren will be able to see a portion of my life but they were not able to experience.

I looked through my grandmothers photo albums one afternoon, she could not tell me who was in most of the photos, or much behind this much of the story behind the photo. The photo albums are full of photos (no words) of their travels to Israel, Germany, Spain and other places I will never be able to visit.  I know I am NOT great at keeping up with my photo albums, but I have recently started making sure that this is a priority.  Partially for this very reason. A photo album will last much longer and be treasured much more

I love looking through photo albums.  So do my children.  We will sit and look at a scrapbook or photo album a million times.  They have memorized many stories and can retell them without any help.  In twenty years they will not remember the Barbie’s, where they came from, or how often they were played with.  The girls may not want to even keep them for their own children.  However, a photo of them playing together can be hauled to college, a new apartment, a new home, and even shared with their own grandchildren after Barbie has had a proper burial.