Take 3? Or 4?

I’ve lost count how many times my daughter has redone her room. Hers was the first room we painted when we moved in, a soft pastel pink (she WAS 3!)  Since then we’ve done white with purple, and white again, not to mention how many times we’ve changed out the bedding and accessories. This past year she’s been itching for a loft bed to give herself more room but she didn’t want to downsize her full size bed. Her birthday was at the end of November so she got yet another redo!

Before - She'd gotten a little excited and already taken her box spring and frame out of her room before I could take the proper "before" picture. But you get the idea!

Before – She’d gotten a little excited and already taken her box spring and frame out of her room before I could take the proper “before” picture. But you get the idea!

After searching around town, we ended up using Site to Store from Walmart to get her bed. She specifically wanted a metal one and the only ones we could find in town were the clunky wooden ones with huge drawers and extra beds or even a slide(?!).  She chose one that had a desk already built in underneath. Very streamlined and open underneath, as long as she doesn’t bonk her head on the ceiling fan! Her walls needed a fresh coat of white paint (which we already had) and we had already replaced the curtains with the black, room-darkening, insulated ones, also from Walmart for less than $10 each  (much better for west-facing when it’s summer!). Even better, when we ordered the bed through the website, I was able to use a 5% cashback reward through my credit union. Woo hoo!

Building the bed!

Building the bed!

We ordered a cool bead curtain from ebay in black that she liked so much, we decided to order another one. It gives a little partition between the main door and her space under the bed. It had to be trimmed because it was so long and we used an existing tension rod that we had to make it fit nicely.

Next up, she got the idea that she wanted to splatter paint one wall for an impact and add some shelving. So in early July we did just that, taped off the adjoining walls, stirred a bit of water into a free sample of paint that we’d already used to paint a shelf for her bed (gotta love Lowe’s Valspar coupons for sample paint!) and let her go to town! (Personal Note: yes, this freaked me out a bit and I wondered if I should let her do it. But really, what harm can it do? I did the prep work with her help and it’s just paint – something that can be repainted if necessary. In the end she got a few dots on the white popcorn ceiling and that was the only damage. Whew!)

We purchased the interlocking shelves at Ross and she had a specific idea of what she was going to put on them – pop bottles with flowers (maybe painted, maybe not) and candle holders (warned that she can’t light them on the shelf – eek! fire hazard!) She also lined up all of her cologne sprays from Bath & Body Works on them as well. She had a wall mirror before but somehow managed to crack it so we got a new one (less than $5 from Walmart). She wanted a table of some sort to put all of her make-up and stuff in it that didn’t jut out too far and settled on a rolling cart that we got from Menard’s ($19.99 but I used a rebate that took $5.99 off it from a previous purchase).

Before with walls taped off.

Before with walls taped off.

Working on the splattering part . . .

Working on the splattering part . . .

These sample jars from Valspar at Lowe's are only $0.99 but I had a coupon for mine. Perfect for testing colors or using them for accents.

These sample jars from Valspar at Lowe’s are only $0.99 but I had a coupon for mine. Perfect for testing colors or using them for accents.

AFTER: splattered wall with shelves, new mirror and rolling cart.

AFTER: splattered wall with shelves, new mirror and rolling cart.

Did I mention that my daughter is sewing her own quilt to go with her room?  Well, she is, and I’ll say that she’s doing a wonderful job of it as well. My mother has taught her how to do it and this isn’t her first attempt. Now that we’re really getting a roll on putting the finishing touches on things, she’s been working hard on her quilt, too.

Here's a part of her quilt so you can see the colors.

Here’s a part of her quilt so you can see the colors.

Sewing away!

Sewing away!

Jocelyn originally had a foldable purple chair in her room but since it’s molded plastic and probably hard to paint, she wanted something different, preferable a stool.  That can also be tucked under her desk area much easily. When I was cleaning out the storage area this summer, I discovered a short stool that had a padded but torn seat. The legs will need to be trimmed and painted and then we’re going to use some leftover fabric from her quilt to make a cover.

The stool - BEFORE

The stool – BEFORE

She also wanted a plush chair of some sort to go underneath her loft bed to lounge in instead of up on her bed.  She decided on one from Target that was $44 but I used my red card to get a discount. She said it was her “human sushi roll”.  Say what?! She looks very comfy in it, though! She also spends more time under her loft instead of in bed!

2014-07-23 13.51.22

Other than finishing her quilt and covering the stool, there’s just one more thing to make the room complete – a rug. Unless I get the urge to rip out the carpet and I doubt that’s going to happen.  We have yet to decide on the color and size so we’ll hold off on that for awhile.  We have one very happy gal with her fancy room!  Hopefully this will keep her happy for awhile so we won’t have to redecorate it again!

Summer School Projects

I looked at the calendar today and realized that I have less than 2 weeks left of my summer vacation.  2 weeks!  Where did the time go?  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time off this summer and have been reflecting on my teaching from last year, writing down ideas, pinning more ideas on Pinterest, filing and tidying out files, and making some new projects.

Last year I had my crayons, colored pencils and markers in labeled, colorful bins. I hated the way they were thrown back in there or put in the wrong bin so I made something new using what I had on hand with existing drawers, scrapbook paper and stickers.

My new drawers for student supplies.

My new drawers for student supplies.

Last year I also made a really cool game called “Flip It” using lids that my students really enjoyed, thanks to Pinterest!  The object of the game is to roll 2 dice and flip the cap with the sum.  The first one to flip all of them over in their row wins!  I made some more sets with the milk and water lids that I’ve been collecting all summer, labeled them, and put them into sets.  I then put the sets into baggies which were put into a Party Pail ice cream bucket (recycle, right?!) with a label made of out an index card with multi-colored letters.

Flip-It Math Game

Flip-It Math Game

I have wires that run across my entire room above the desks and across my beautiful windows.  I tried large paperclips last year to keep the papers attached and it worked for a short time until I needed to close the blinds or open a window.  Clothespins work way better!  I had some that I used for a behavior chart last year that had students’ names on them so I painted over them to use on the wires. I bought a small bottle of paint from Walmart for $0.50 in Admiral Blue to match my primary colored classroom.

My freshly painted clothespins/paper holders.

My freshly painted clothespins/paper holders.

A teacher who was leaving our school left a bunch of these yellow paper pads in the teacher’s lounge before the end of school last year.  These have so many uses!  They’re more like a card stock so I thought I’d turn them into notes.  I could use these for thank you notes to the students or notes home for parents. In the past I sent home what I would call “sunshine notes” as they were positive notes on a sunshine paper. I used my existing stamps and ink to make several of these.

My "Sunshine Notes"

My “Sunshine Notes”

At the end of the school year I received a huge packet of new math vocabulary for the classroom.  I guess with the new Common Core Standards things like wording in definitions and pictures to go with them change, so I recycled all of my old ones and have spent many hours highlighting and coloring in the new ones.  I could’ve left them black and white but that’s boring. Besides, having some color attached to them can aid with students’ learning.  They do look cool! And I’m grateful for my daughter helping me with them, too. They took FOREVER! (In case you didn’t know, coloring is a good stress reliever!)

My thick stack of new math vocabulary. I need more wall space in my classroom!

My thick stack of new math vocabulary. I need more wall space in my classroom!

I used another idea from Pinterest for random sticks last year.  One end of the stick is painted (or colored) a different color.  Once you’ve drawn the stick, turn it over so you don’t choose that student again.  They’re none the wiser that you’ve flipped it so they’re still on their toes thinking they may be called on again.  I bought a small bottle of red from Walmart for $0.50.  I have an apple green already but I wanted something different for this year. I’m sure I could have gotten them cheaper at Michael’s with my teacher discount but I was already at Walmart and is it really worth the few cents it would have taken to go to yet another store.  Probably not.

Red Random Sticks

Red Random Sticks

I believe I’ve had a busy yet balanced summer. I feel good that I’ve gotten these things done as a head start to the new year. I’m sure once I get back into my classroom I’ll find more to do before the year officially starts with students on August 12th. For now, I’ve at least done these things!

Today I Cleaned the Kitchen Floor!

So what?  you might say.  Then you might think, Gosh, I hope that’s not the FIRST time the floor has been cleaned!  No, it wasn’t 😉

There’s just something about my wood floor that gets incredibly grimy, particularly in front of the stove, fridge, and by the big counter.  And dog slobber.  By golly, what the heck is it that makes it soooo slimy and hard to wipe up off the floor!?  Geesh!  Although the floor is swept almost daily (thanks to shedding dog) and mopped frequently, this stuff just DOES NOT COME OFF.  That is, without some elbow grease! So a few times a year, summer being one of them, I get on my hands and knees with my bucket and scrubber, and get ‘er done.

See that black stuff? THAT'S what I'm talking about. Doesn't just wipe off, needs to be scrubbed! Trust me, it's worse than the picture makes it look.

See that black stuff? THAT’S what I’m talking about. Doesn’t just wipe off, needs to be scrubbed! Trust me, it’s worse than the picture makes it look.

I use a bucket of warm water with some Murphy’s Oil Soap because a little goes a long way (1/4 cup concentrate per gallon of water).  I have to change the water out a minimum of 3 times due to the amount of ick. I also use an old dish scrub brush. I buy it from the Dollar Tree, use it on my dishes until the bristles split, then use it to scrub bathrooms and floors (different brushes, of course!).  I wipe an area of the floor with an old washcloth, put some extra water on the black parts, scrub with and against the grain, then wipe away with the cloth again.  Rinse and repeat for the entire floor.

My cheap scrubby brush. Yay, Dollar Tree!

My cheap scrubby brush. Yay, Dollar Tree!

That one spot after the cleaning.

That one spot after the cleaning.

The kitchen after the cleaning. Ahhhhh!

The kitchen after the cleaning. Ahhhhh!

I did the kitchen floor, dining room, and section by the pantry in less than an hour.  I would recommend sweeping first and if you have a dog, get them out of the way!  My Buddy is still shedding and he leaves piles of fur everywhere he lays down. That’s another thing checked off my summer chore list and I feel so much better that it’s done!

 

4th of July Goodies

My husband’s brother’s family was traveling in to visit for the 4th this year and I wanted to make something healthier for desserts to along with our typical hamburger cookout.  The thought of making the Jello thing from last year didn’t appeal to me so I checked out Pinterest again for some new ideas.

This first one was incredibly easy.  3 kinds of yogurt and a bit of food coloring. Extra fruit optional.  Delicious!

Yogurt Popsicles

Yogurt Popsicles

I already buy the big containers of vanilla yogurt so this time I bought one of strawberry as well.  In the 2 stores that I checked they didn’t have blueberry ones so I ended up buying some smaller containers and scooping out what I needed from those.  I should have added some blue food coloring to the blueberry yogurt as it turned out more purple than blue but oh well!  They were all very flavorful!  I put them in small Dixie-equivalent cups and used popsicle sticks. I actually have popsicle makers but they were so large that I thought the yogurt would get wasted.  These are perfect and I still can still rinse and recycle them when they’re done.

Next, watermelon!  A little time consuming using my cookie cutters to make the star shapes but they sure looked cool!  I had an extra bowl for the extra cut offs that went around the shape so there wasn’t anything wasted.

Star shaped watermelon pieces

Star shaped watermelon pieces

Last but not least was a cookie, cream cheese concoction that did require me to buy a mini muffin pan but I’ve been wanting one for quite some time so the $5.96 that I spent at Walmart for said pan will be well-worth it, I’m sure.  I bought 2 small Betty Crocker packets of sugar cookie dough (the bigger one was all sold out) for $1 each to make the base.  I had enough to fill all 24 muffins and make 6 extra cookies.  The recipe called for 2 cups of cream cheese but I didn’t even use a whole one (reduced fat, of course!) and it was plenty!  I used my pastry stuff that used to be my Grandma’s — ah, a trip down memory lane.

Cookies baked, now adding the cream cheese!

Cookies baked, now adding the cream cheese!

I added fresh blueberries and strawberries to finish it off with the red,white and blue theme, also on sale at $0.99 each with leftovers that we will eat without any problems.  We eat a lot of fruit at our house! These were perfect little bite size cookies that were indeed delicious. Yum! No leftovers of these when the night was over and done with!  I don’t feel bad in the least that the majority of it was healthy(ish!) I hope you were able to enjoy a safe and enjoyable Independence Day with fun, family and friends!

Flag cupcakes ready to go!

Flag cupcakes ready to go!

P.S. Just in case you’re wondering, the rest of our menu looked like this: hamburgers, veggie burgers, salmon burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, grilled fresh green beans, green lettuce salad with homegrown tomatoes, jello salad “green stuff” (a specific request from my daughter), 3 bean salad on wheat flat buns or white buns. There were a few brownies and some baked chips for the kids as well as cantaloupe. We were blessed to have such delicious food!