Saturday, July 31, 2010

Making your 'Yard Work'

I don't want you to think I am lazy. But, sometimes, things happen, and other things get tossed to the back burner. This is one of those things. When we bought our house about 5 years ago, our double intown lot needed help. Mind you, it was and is a great lot. It was just...empty. Over the years, we have added the usual things....a garden, flower beds, kids playset, a bigger garden, more flower beds. The area between our house and garage has always been a giant eye sore. Ugh. It is shady, sunny, weedy and a plain awkward area. Two years ago, this area became 'my area' to do with whatever I wanted. It was to be a planting area. I had pots and potting soil, hand trowels, watering cans. I was ready to begin my adventure. Then, one of those things happened that causes other things to be put on hold. My mom got sick. Really sick. With the travel and lack of time, most of our garden became overgrown that year and of course, my area the weeds. I am happy to report she is doing wonderful (thanks to God and an awesome medical team!). And so last year, I was ready for it, seems very difficult to tend to anything OTHER than a newborn! Which moves us to this year. Today to be exact.  :)  I turned this little are into a cuter place for around $35. The cost of a scoop of mulch. I pulled weeds, trees, and slugs out of this spot, tilled up some dirt to make it a bit more workable, laid the stacks of sandstone half hazardly around, and scooped shovel-fulls of mulch. (lots of them!) I am so tired. I had some yard timbers given to me, so I staked them along the edge of the driveway and sidewalk with hopes of keeping the dirt contained. (not all over the concrete) I used a handsaw to cut one timber to fit the angle. I know you may look at it and think it is not all that impressive. But to me, it is a huge accomplishment. Nothing grows there (except weeds!) and now it at the very least...looks presentable. While shoveling mulch, I added a fresh layer to a few 'neglected beds' and we extended our 'front path' about two or three feet. My hands, arms and back hurt, but I am so happy with the outcome. I think I will take it easy tomorrow :-) 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Book of the Month - Give it a try!

I thought I would share a great read with you today. My hope is to have a book suggestion every month, but...well...we'll see. The dog days of summer are coming (I guess this 105 degree heat index around here doesn't count!?) and this book is a must read for anyone loving the wonderful Southern influence on a hot summer day. I hope you enjoy, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

School Holiday Party Boxes

I am nutty. I know this, my kids know this, our school knows this. Of course, most of my friends are nutty too! When our oldest started Kindergarten, it just so happens, some of the other 'Kindergarten moms' were just as loopy as me. Come class holiday party time, our 12 student class could probably have fed the whole school. Treat bags flow freely and arts and crafts are off the wall awesome. But we LOVE to do it. We are all still close as our kids venture into third grade this year. Do remember third grade? I think it is the time of grade school when treat bags start to dwindle off and snacks are reserved for birthdays. (sigh) Luckily for many of my 'mom friends' we have a new batch of Kindergarteners this year. Yippee! I tend to buy treat bags after the holiday when they are super cheap. I love super cheap. In my scrambled mind, I have had an idea of how to effectively organize all these supplies. This week, I just finally did it. I bought matching plastic shoe box type containers and whipped up some labels. Popped the labels on with self sticking laminating sheets and put the 'Valentine's Day' treat bags in the 'Valentine's Day' box. I am so happy to have this very simple thing done and ready for the new school year. And yes, I could have used boxes I already have, but I wanted them to stack and fit nicely.

I chose to make birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and Easter boxes. (our school has a big fundraiser for St. Patrick's Day, so that is why I included it) You can easily make whatever holidays you wanted and any size too. These work for me and I will use them, which is the whole point.  :-)   Lots of other ideas are floating around me right now and since we finally finished our baseball season (but soon to be football season!) I feel like I might have a bit more time to finish some things up. Back to school shopping is done and I have to show you my all school year supply storage ideas. Hope to have that done soon. Looks like the crew is done with lunch, so I will chat more later. Enjoy your day and do something you have been putting will feel so much better!  Thanks & Love, Emily

Monday, July 12, 2010

Why use Dad's old one?

When my little pumpkin-head (she is a red-head) started Kindergarten, her supply list said she needed a paint shirt and next to it said (one of dad's old shirts). This cracked me up mainly because I wear my hubby's teeshirts when I am pregnant and cannot fit into 'normal' maternity pjs. Our little tiny then 5 year old, would never be able to effectively paint with her dad's old shirt on. So....I thought about it. One of my old shirts probably would have worked, but her big brother had outgrown a long sleeve teeshirt type garment. In order to make it easy for her to get on and off by herself (think about 'after' it is worn and has paint on it) I came up with this. 
I cut the back of the shirt open right down the center. I folded over the edge and ran it through my sewing machine. Nothing fancy, just a basic stitch. At the top along the collar, I sewed Velcro on each side. Now she just slips her arms in to the shirt, and the Velcro piece stick easily together (no teachers help required!) and Viola! She is a painting fool! The arm length fits pretty well, but she can fold them up if needed. We used fabric paint on the front and added a handprint to it for the start of second grade last year. It is a really easy summer project, especially for those really hot days when it is 'too hot' to be outside, or a rainy morning activity too.
So last year when my youngest daughter need a paint shirt, I used one of my old shirts (because it was pink and long sleeved). I didn't think she needed to have the Velcro, as she was in preschool and it just seemed easier for her to put it on over her head. We may 'update it' for kindergarten as it still fits her well. I did sew the sleeves up to an appropriate length on the pink shirt. (folded and stitched)
I hope you liked these very simple and easy paint shirts. You could really go crazy with them, but they are gonna get messy! Can you tell I am starting my 'back to school' engine? I am working on organinzing my school supplies for here at home. I will share more with you next time, but here is a sneak peek. Enjoy! Love from Emily

Thursday, July 8, 2010

In Which I Ramble Aimlessly

We are in the thick of summer here and that generally means, no down time. My stepson is on a traveling baseball team and three out of four weekends in July are being spent on the road. He really enjoys it, it is a great experience and personally, our family enjoys it. The girls have their friends from our 'regular' league and my little guy is doing well, toting his bat and ball everywhere he goes. I like the traveling team better, selfishly, because I know more parents. If you have a child in ball of any sort, you know the feeling. Not to mention, I am the stepparent and most times don't 'qualify' (or feel like I qualify?) as friend-able material. Am I alone on that? I would love to hear how others feel.

Our garden is in full swing as well, after a slight detourance from the rabbits. Sadly, they met their maker, no PETA responses please. I love the little furry things too, until they ate ALL my it is game on! My 4 y/o has an eggplant coming to maturity and my 8 y/o is anxiously awaiting her peas. My stepson chose to plant blue pumpkins and he checks them everyday. 

While doing the daily Walmart run yesterday, I noticed the school supplies are out. Stop. I have a confession. Those of you who know me, know what is coming next. School supplies are my addiction. I can probably stock my daughters' entire class...I love school supplies. The folders which match the notebooks, loose leaf paper, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils.......ahhhhh. So I have been searching blogs of homeschoolers lately, as these are the people, whom I feel, are so organized and ready for school. The principals they follow inspire me to get on board! Do you happen to follow any great ones? Let me know!

My home projects are all waiting patiently in the background. My hubby is so wonderful as he sees these half finished things and knows the time will come (September) and someday will be finished. I hope you are all enjoying your summer. Life goes so quickly. Enjoy it to the fullest. Love, Emily