My daughter just got back from a three day 'pioneer trek' where they basically have to hike, pull handcarts, and camp. It's a big deal. I realized a few weeks ago that it'd be an awesome time to surprise her with a little room redo!
Let's go back to some before shots. Yikes.
Notice anything missing? Like a BED? She was sleeping in a loft bed, but decided she was tired of it this winter and put her mattress on the floor. And we haven't done anything about her bed situation since then!
So after I dropped her off for her big adventure (at 7am!), I came home and spent the rest of the day (with help from my AWESOME MOM) cleaning and organizing her room. It got crazy. Worse before better, right? She has So. Much. Stuff.
I didn't count, but pretty sure we found at least 100 pencils/colored pencils. Also about 100 hair elastics. No joke. We organized her stuff, but didn't get rid of anything important, I promise.
We did box up a lot of toys that were still hanging around with nowhere to go, which really freed up space and visual clutter.
When she got home, she walked in to see this!
So we didn't paint or change her curtains. But, we did do a lot.
We setup my old bed (it goes back a couple generations, it was my grandma's bed!), got her a bedside 'cart' (which holds books, charge cords (in her record bowl!), etc.), and hung up some new stuff.
She's had the chinese parasol (from her Grandparents' trip to SF chinatown) for years, but I'd never figured out how to hang it. Um, it took less than 30 seconds.
My mom made all the awesome pom poms! (print is a silkscreened handkerchief from Mikodesign).
The girl made the yo-yo pillow a couple years ago with Nana. We got her a cute aqua sham and a new big pillow, with a pillowcase made from a thrifted sheet. The morning she came home I stitched up the felt + pink houndstooth pillow.
I spy a succulent! I had fun playing with layers, COLOR, and mixing patterns like a crazy person.
We weeded/straightened her bookcases, but left them largely alone. She still has her blossom branches from her 8th birthday party!
Nana gave her a new quilt for her birthday.
My mom gave her this letterpress print from Sycamore Street Press. It looks sweet above her dream hooks.
We pom-pommed up her barre mirrors and added a few dance portraits. two from when she first got her pointe shoes, the other is poster-sized above her cubbies, and is of her during a performance a few years ago.
I put her fedora from tap up on top of the cubbies, along with her fave dolls. I wasn't totally sure she wanted her dolls on display, but she does (yay!). We didn't clear out her lego display cubbies. She loves lego, and had awesome sets on display there. But she also has little brothers. So we will help her rebuild those soon. Packing away a lot of her toys meant extra cubbie space for a belt/bag box and a dance clothes box.
Not pictured: an organized closet and under the bed boxes!
I thought this would be a good thing have by the door. All teenage girls need reminders that they're beautiful, right?
We were talking about how cool her 'stuff' is. Quilts from Nana, lots of handmade stuff, vintage stuff, dance stuff. Her stuff has stories. That's good.
She came home hot, dirty, sweaty, tired, and thirsty. Headed upstairs to grab comfy clothes before she showered... and she was surprised!
She loves it!
So fun to do something awesome for our amazing girl.
Seriously, this project just makes me happy. :)
I won't go through the whole process like last time. This time we tried a different kit this time. Last time we used the Jacquard one, this time we used two different tulip sets (Luau and Camo colors, just to try something else). I think I found them cheap on amazon or zulily.
After the first batch of shirts was done.
The waiting is the hardest part! Skip to the next morning (and skip the rinsing part, too, since that is the actual hardest part).
I dyed a couple of fabric pieces... I have sewing plans.
Spirals continue to be a big hit around here.
(The 'muddy' whites you see above is from excess dye that washed right out.)
Now you can't unsee it, can you? :)
The husband has yet to wear his shirt from last summer. I told him to wait and do a cool/dark one, but no, he had to use primary colors. So I scrunched it up again and squirted diluted black dye all over it.
I had a white cardigan I never wore, and decided to just dye it brown splotchy. Then I gambled and added some green. Suddenly 'Oh no! It's camo!' and I quickly grabbed some teal and purple. Hence this craziness.
I think I'll wear it, though.
The redhead won best spiral this time, I think!
Definitive list of best things to hang on a clothesline: vintage sheets, cloth diapers, pretty tablecloths, vintage quilts, and tie dye!
Best part is that the bigger kit came with extra dye packs and we didn't need them! That means there'll be a next time soon!
Wait, the BEST part was that my daughter and her friend made rad shirts and liked them a lot!
Tie dye rules.
*Note: The tulip kits didn't say to soak in soda ash solution before dying. But I did that anyway, which I think is a key part of this process.
Inspired by this post.
A drop of yellow to represent plasma:
Tossing the red blood cells in food coloring.
Red blood cells make blood red!
White blood cells:
I don't think my kids will forget the components of blood anytime soon!
We also recently made an awesome model of a lung (thanks, Bill Nye!)
Science is real.
Reading outside is the best.
I've tried to keep a running list this year of our read-alouds and audiobooks. Approaching the end of the year (not ready!), here it is:
Ramona the Pest
Ramona the Brave
Ramona and her Father
The Mysterious Benedict Society
The Bad Beginning (Series of Unfortunate Events #1)
LOTR: The Two Towers
Ramona and her Mother
The Reptile Room (SUE #2)
Story of the World (Ancients)
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey
The Phantom Tollbooth
The Wide Window (SUE #3)
Some of these, like the Story of the World, we listen to at home (and not in order, we used it as topics came up in our studies - still can't believe they liked it this time - so much!). Others we listen to in the car - very useful for boys who have to shuttle back and forth to drop/pickup siblings. A couple I read aloud to them, and the Lord of the Rings series is their dad.
Audiobooks are great for those books that you KNOW they'll like, but they are too stubborn to pick up themselves. I'm not sure Monkey would have read many Beverly Cleary's if we hadn't listened to a Ramona book first - and now he likes that author (of course he does!). His sister has been trying and trying to get him to read the Series of Unfortunate Events, but he won't. So I picked up the audiobook 'for his brother' and he has to listen since we're in the car. And he loves it. But three books later he still won't admit it even when I hear him laughing! And it's good for my redheaded reluctant chapter-book-reader. Delays + vision learning problems means his confidence falls short sometimes, though he is a good reader! So a big thick book isn't as overwhelming when you have it on audio.
If not in the car, fiddly toys, coloring, playfoam, or something to keep their hands busy while they listen works wonders.
So. After 9 years of teaching my daughter, she has decided to go to high school next year. I am so excited for her... and kinda hating it all at the same time.
We stumbled upon a school. I am obviously not easily impressed by schools, but this one ... impressed me. We went in and I asked a MILLION questions. She spent a morning shadowing a student and loved her experience. Everything I've learned about the school and everyone we've talked to over there has been great.
I'm excited for her to 'report to' someone else. A good lesson for her upcoming college/working years.
I'm excited for her social circle to expand. The wonderful band of little girl playmates she used to have has kind of broken up as age differences and interests play a bigger part, and sports and hobbies take up more time. She could use more friends, quite frankly.
Because we didn't plan on her getting her HS diploma, this year we continued to have her learn the way she always has, with books and programs we've chosen for her because they're GOOD. However they're not 'accredited' so now she is having to make up official 9th grade credits. We're doing that through two different programs, one online, one paper. Very different programs, one definitely better than the other, but both are STRESSING ME OUT.
I'm tired of having to 'nag' her to make sure she gets as much of her courses done every day as she can. I've never had to do that before! Even though I'm not her teacher for these classes I'm still having to deal with some of this coursework (some of which is so ridiculous, oh goodness) and some weirdness with the instructors/graders. I hate this. This is WHY WE HOMESCHOOL.
I'm kinda mourning the opportunities that being a homeschooled teen can bring. Some of her student-led interests that we could delve DEEP into during her high school years won't work out. There just won't be time. I could see her having opportunities to be a teaching assistant for dance classes, working on writing a novel (she loves to write, and she's GOOD!), or growing her musical talent by playing more instruments. Just yesterday she was online finding a language program because she decided to start learning Japanese. If I were a good 'school' mom I would have told her to stop and go study for her 'real' classes. Luckily, I'm not that good at this.
I will also SO miss her playing piano after lunch every day. She plays beautifully for a half hour after lunch. She's been doing that for about 7 years! Who will accompany my dishwashing now?
Speaking of piano, her daytime lessons won't work anymore. When do we fit those in?
I have to figure out how she's getting to school at 7am every morning and I have to remember to pick her up every afternoon and RUSH her to dance.
We can't pick up and go on little trips whenever we want anymore. We must bow to the school schedule. Yuck.
These silly hoops you have to jump through sure take up a lot of time. And this change sure affects the whole family.
Did I mention she didn't realize she was signing herself up for homework? Something she's never really had to deal with? After dinner one night she asked to watch a show, and I told her she needed to work on an online class some more. She was like 'After DINNER?' Ha. That's called 'homework', sweetie, and that's the norm now.
Yeah, this is definitely a mixed bag of feelings, esp. for me. She wasn't begging to go to school or anything but is now excited about it. Overall it seems like the right thing to do and we feel good about it.
Plus... school supplies.
Recently picked up a fun new kitchen toy, in part to get The Girl to eat more fruits and yogurt and stuff. They are silicone popsicle molds, have you seen them before? I bought these.
The kids usually make smoothies with our little magic blender. I found that one magic blender size smoothie makes about 5 pops. Or 4 and someone eats the extra. This batch has mixed berries + wild blueberries, greek yogurt, and a little almond milk. After it's blended, I usually add a tablespoon of chia seeds.
It can be messy to fill... but not too bad when you get the hang of it! I overfilled these a little, and their lids popped off in the freezer. Standing them up in the freezer can also be tricky, but I think we found our sweet spot.
The kiddos like them, and sometimes just fill them with strawberry yogurt, too. They would work great in school lunches - and work as an ice pack!
Clean up is easy - dishwasher!
Anyway, we've been having fun with them.
Last year I potted this cute succulent in a glass bowl.
Last night I finally repotted it. It grew like crazy!
Ahh, much better. I felt bad about having this huge plant in such a tiny bowl, and then Aaron teased me about feeling bad that I hurt a plant's feelings.
Got a new plant for the little bowl, and a new one for another small pot.
I can keep things alive now! My life is such that I can keep my children AND plants alive! Granted succulents are easy, but still! A year!
My only other plant success is this ivy:
Three years ago, I bought it right before Monkey's 6th birthday. It was tiny.
And, hey, can't forget my airplant - one year on that one, too! I got a few more air plants for my birthday, and this original one even had a 'pup'!
My go-to for keeping these alive: water succulents well at the beginning of every month. Soak airplants overnight once a week. Forget about the ivy often, watering when I remember. I guess it works!
(And then I stumbled on this blog post: need. more plants!)