Sunday, July 24, 2011

Band-Aid Boxes for Teachers

During the Great Decrapification of the Summer of 2011, I found these nifty little boxes. Oh yeah, I was going to make Band-Aid boxes for the girlies' teachers two years ago! Oopsie.

Sometimes I procrastinate. I might have told you that. It doesn't matter, now I have a newly organized craft space and I can make things. Yippee!

I found some super cute paper in my drawer labeled "School" so I plastered it all over the boxes.

I just used photo tape and tape runner, a lot of it, to adhere the paper. As a final step, I gave it one coat of Mod Podge to protect it from blood.

Whaaaaat? It is a Band-Aid box. Bleeding students will be opening it, otherwise why get in it, right? I have one in my own classroom, and I tell my students to help themselves, just be careful to not get blood on my cute box.

They think I'm crazy.

Did you know you can get Band-Aids at the Dollar Store? They're just a dollar.

I like these because they are pretty school looking colors. And they go well with blood.

I think I'll buy some Bactine to put in the boxes, and the girlies can give them to their teachers on the first day of school.

I need to attach a ginormous candy bar for Stinkerbell's teacher with a note that says "For the Pain and Suffering My Child Might Cause You This Year. So Sorry. Band-Aid?"

Friday, July 22, 2011

Alone in My House . . . A Staycation Dream

I'm so excited to finally be at a point where I can put this post up. When we sent our girlies to Horse Camp,  I had very lofty goals to completely decrapify and organize the Great Room in our basement. It had gotten so completely out of control, that I couldn't even think straight. When I'm not organized, I don't function at my best, so this project was a very big deal in my world, and sadly, it was at least two years overdue.

Let's start with a before picture, shall we? Everyone loves a good before picture, don't they?

This is the crap end of my basement, and you probably can't tell, since there's so much crap, but I have four crop tables set up in this picture, and they are all covered completely in Things That Need to Be Dealt With. Those words strike fear in my heart. What's even worse, is that there is even more stuff hidden underneath the tables. Like so much that you can't even sit in a chair at those tables.

The good news is that my Guest Room looks awesome. Well, at least when these pictures were taken. Part of the reason why there is so much stuff on and under my tables here is because I had to clean out the Guest Room for Aunt Marcia to sleep in while we were on our cruise. Since I didn't have the time to deal with the crap and make the mentally exhausting decisions about what to do with each and every little thing, I just stuffed it all into every available nook and cranny on and around the tables. I'm such a problem solver.

Enter Horse Camp and my opportunity to complete a thought without constant talking at me by my offspring. Bliss, I tell you.

The very first step actually started before we dropped the girls off in the Hundred Acre Wood, and that step was to sort and purge all the girls' toys. We took a whole van load of stuff to the thrift store, and it felt great.

The plan was to move everything from one end of the basement to the other, paint the walls and clean the carpet, then move back only the things not crap. Then repeat the process for the other end of the basement. That means I had to complete a lot of thoughts and make a lot of decisions. A lot of stuff was taken to the thrift store, and there is still more to be taken. I haven't yet made those decisions, and you'll see about that at the end of this post.

Smashley told me that she feels so much better about herself since I went back to work, because my house isn't perfect. Like it ever was, Smashley. She just always comes over when I know she's coming and I have time to hide the crap.

Here is Stinkerbell helping me unload the stuff on this IKEA Expedit unit. Of the two units I have, one of them became the new home for all the girls' toys, the 18,367 horses and their accompanying paraphernalia. All of it had to be on this unit or it was out of here. I take great joy in motivating my kids.

Here it is, all tidy and organized. I don't love all the barns on top, but there is nowhere else to put them. Besides the trash, I mean.

Here it is with the new paint color, Frosty by Valspar (Lowe's). Peanut Head doesn't like the color, he calls it Caribbean Vomit or some such thing. I don't care though. I told him he doesn't get an opinion because he has no fashion sense. He wears teal and Navy blue together and says they match because they're both blue. Yeah, so you see my point. His opinion matters not when it comes to paint colors. I chose this color because I wanted something to inspire creativity. This one does it for me.

The other color is Scroll Beige by Glidden. I have used this color upstairs in my living room, hallway, and kitchen, paired with my Milk Chocolate and Sunflowery yellow. I have stuck with it because I love it, and because tans are very hard colors to get right. I can't tell you how many times I've had what I thought was a tan color, then gotten it home and found that it looked like I had wiped a poopy diaper across the wall. Tans also tend to be too pink, too purpley, or too red. It's a hard color to get right. This scroll beige color has grey tones in it, and it seems to work.

I chose red and pink as subtle accent colors, so I painted my star birdhouse atop the bookcases in keeping with that idea. It used to be blue.

This is the same quote that I have in my classroom, and it's one of my favorites. I had Janae of Thoughts in Vinyl cut this one for me, and I like her version much better than mine. Seriously, the girl is good at what she does and her prices are great.

I have a lot more things that I need to hang on the walls, but I don't want to stress myself out trying to get it all done now. I like to take months pulling a room together. Months. A year. Whatever.

Part of this redo and decrapification process was to make room for desks for the girls. They had been wanting desks for a long time, so I've been mulling the idea over and looking at desks.

I looked for months, and let me tell you, desks are not cheap. Especially when you are considering buying two desks. I had finally settled on a single long IKEA desk, with a drawer divider thingy to divide it, when Peanut Head and I found these babies at Walmart. They are super simple, super cheapo writing desks, but they are perfect for the girls. Each desk was a whopping $39.95, way cheaper than anything else I could have gotten anywhere.

Peanut Head made these fabulous pegboards for the girls. This is my attempt at keeping their desktops cleared off so they have lots of room to do homework. Or scrapbook, or whatever. We got the bars and bins from IKEA, although I chose to paint the bars.

They were originally a silvery metallic color.

I wanted black.

I moved the large bookcases down on the wall some, and got rid of a lot of the stuff that used to be on them. I had to purge a lot because I wanted to put all my paper in the Sterlite drawers, and that took up six shelves. It was a good move. It's so easy to get to my paper now, and it is up and off the floor.

My new plan is to only keep two tables up when I'm not having a crop. Less surface area means I have less space to mess up, right?

In the space I made from moving the bookcases down, I put my other Expedit unit to create my crafty storage area. Peanut Head thinks it's busy, but again, he doesn't get an opinion. I love being able to see all my stuff and not have to dig for it.

It makes me want to create.

In spite of all the harassment from me, Peanut Head is always there to build stuff for me when I have a new project. This time it was the pegboards, and I think I quite possibly will love him for the rest of my life. I love, love, love, my pegboard. If I weren't already married to Peanut Head, I would marry my pegboard.

By attaching a metal bar and a 12x12 piece of embellished sheet metal, I was even able to get my glitter and all of my doodads out of various bins. I hot glued magnets to the lids of my glitter containers, and I found the large magnetic containers on clearance at Michael's. I love that everything is accessible now, and I can see it and therefore won't forget that I have it.

I found this little IKEA Wanna-be unit at Target, and it makes a perfect throne for my Cricut and my laminator. As a teacher, the $30 Scotch laminator was one of the best purchases I've ever made. I use it for school and for crafty pursuits. I can say the same thing about my Cricut.

All of my Cricut supplies are stored in the bins, as well as all of my stamping supplies.

I still need a window treatment here, but it'll happen when it happens.

The other corner is still home to the desktop. The cable outlet is over here, so there's not much choice about its placement, but it's a good spot for it anyway, so yay.

I'm determined to keep this area tidy. It's one of my favorite places to hang out. Not that you can tell by my frequency of posting. My new obsession is Pinterest. If you haven't checked out Pinterest, you must. Here's a link to my Pin Boards if you want a peek. I spend waaaaaaay too much time on Pinterest. If you decide you want to join, e-mail me and I'll stumble around to try and figure out how to send you an invite. I have to have your e-mail address though, so make sure you e-mail me.

This is my desk. Mostly I pay bills here. I love paying bills. Seriously, I love the feeling of getting my bills paid. I always have.

So, do you remember how I said at the beginning of the post that my guest room was looking pretty awesome when my basement wasn't? Ahem . . .

This is it now. A picture from the door because I can't even get inside.

It's a vicious cycle, I tell you.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

If My Kids Scream in the Forest and I'm Not Around to Hear Them, Do They Make a Sound?

So you'd think that being off for the summer from my jobsy, that I could manage to post a little more often, right? Well, apparently not.

I have been in the weirdest mood, trying to get organized like a madwoman, knowing that the summer vacation clock is tick-tick-ticking away.  This weekend marks the halfway point of summer for me. Not that I'm counting or anything.

Okay, I am. I am counting, and if you want to know the truth, I even have each week marked on the calendar week #1, week #2, etc., as if the first day of school is my impending execution date or something.

And really, it's not that I'm dreading going back, it's that I am dreading going back without having everything done that I want to get done. How lame is that? It's okay. You can agree with me. Peanut Head does it all the time. It's the secret to our long and prosperous marriage.

Last week I received a little gift from Heaven. No, I did not get a baby, although I wouldn't turn one down if it showed up on my doorstep. My gift was the gift we gave our girls for their birthdays, and it was to ship them off to Girl Scout Camp. Not just any Girl Scout Camp either, Girl Scout Horse Camp.

Right now they think I'm the Best Mom Ever. And Peanut Head too. I actually get the impression that they like him a little bit more than they like me. Some blah blah about screaming and freaking out, I don't know.

So we sent our babies to Horse Camp, and of course you know that we sent them with cameras so we could live vicariously through them. Yes, we did, and in retrospect, I'm thinking we should have included a Photography 101 class with those cameras before hand, because all the amazing pictures that were supposed to document our awesomeness as parents for sending our kids to Horse Camp pretty much didn't happen. Let's take a look at a few, shall we?

Horse Butt. I always wanted a picture like this. Not. I suppose it would be appropriate to hang it in the bathroom. What do you think?

Horse Leg Armpit? I actually got this body part name from Stinkerbell. She told me the armpits of her legs were itching her one day. Okay, what is the technical name for the armpit of your leg? I'm seriously dying to know.

Rock in Grass. We don't have any of those around here. I can see why they found this fascinating.

Stick in the Dirt.

Are you blown away by the talent yet?

We told the girls that scenery is nice, but you want to try to get some people in your pictures too. People are interesting.

Perhaps more than just their feet in the dirt though.

Okay, here's a little leg for you. Don't get too excited.

And a horse! A horse! Of course it's a horse. It is horse camp, after all.

And look! A horse with a person! Hey wait a minute, I think I know that person.

I do! It's Zoe Bug. A person. We're making progress here. I feel I should tell you though, I'm sparing you from most of the carnage. Between the two girls, they took close to 300 pictures, and we have probably ten good ones. We define good as "with people in them." Horses count as people too.

A very large number of the pictures they took are of blurry scenery. If you can call dirt scenery. There were also a fair number of pictures with unidentifiable people and their accompanying body parts. Thank you digital camera.

This is actually a pretty good picture of Zoe on Chief, her horse for the week. I feel like this is a bonus picture because it has a horse and a person.

And this here, my friends, is Stinkerbell brushing her horse.

A-a-a-a-a-HEM. [mule]

Okay, in my snottiest voice, "How appropriate is that? Stinkerbell gets a mule."

How interesting. Do these Girl Scout Horse Camp People know her or something?

When Peanut Head and I heard about The Stink's mule, it was all we could do to keep from dropping to the ground and engaging in hysterical laughter. The only thing that kept me from doing it is the fact that I don't like dirt. Peanut Head is fine with dirt, but in general he's a little more reserved than I am. Just a tad.

It didn't matter to The Stink though. She loved her mule, Barbie. I have something to say about that name too, but I'm just going to bite my tongue.

This is the BIFFY. It stands for Bathroom in the Forest for You. Yeah, I went in the BIFFY right before departing for the long ride home after dropping the girls off. The BIFFY is a nasty vault toilet with a complimentary bottle of hand sanitizer sitting next to the seat atop the Gaping Hole of Ick.

I am not a fan of places without indoor plumbing. I might have told you. Stinkerbell has also inherited my very pushy OCD Freak gene. While it is something I am quite proud of, since I am a freak, I was not prepared to let the pushy gene ruin my week of Being In My House Alone. A week which I have looked forward to with longing for months.

I exited the BIFFY and said to Peanut Head on the fly, "Let's get out of here before The Stink gets wind of the accomodations!" And we were out of there like that.

Our babies were left to fend for themselves for the next five days. Yippee!

Which reminds me, this particular week of Girl Scout Camp was entitled "Survivor Challenge." These two words have frightened Zoe Bug for months. She was worried that the camp counselors were going to take her out into the woods to let her fend for herself. She really wanted them to take the word "survivor" out of the camp name.

Instead they took her out into the woods to let her fend for herself. Here they are walking away after leaving her to her own devices.

That would involve curling up in a ball on the forest floor to suck her thumb.

The Stink was very excited about the possibility of being left to her own devices. She wanted to know if she could have a bow and arrows because she really wanted to kill something. No lie.

Sorry sweetie. I think that's called Marine Corps Boot Camp. She's seriously considering it. She's up to 20 chin-ups in preparation. Her daddy is so proud.

As I mentioned, Peanut Head and I drove the girls up to Horse Camp. Yeah, our two girls were two of four, out of 48 girls total, who were driven by their parents to camp. The other 44 girls took the bus. Doy.

Guess what we're doing next year? We're not losing two days of our lives and two tanks of gas carting our offspring back and forth, that's for sure. It was eight hours round trip, and that's not including the time we got lost because someone refused to listen to the lady in the GPS.

I could have had two more days Alone in My House. I'm going to write a poem with that title. It's very special to me.

So our trip to the Hundred Acre Wood and back was actually quite pretty. Yeah, except that at times I felt like we were in the middle of a Stephen King novel. We passed through a section of country where all the birds were suicidal. They launched themselves at our windshield multiple times. I managed to avoid all their tricks, but Peanut Head creamed a whole flock in one go while he was driving. I couldn't help but think of the game Angry Birds. A game which Peanut Head enjoys a little too much. Perhaps the creator of the game has been to the Hundred Acre Wood and back.

I think these particular birds suffer from depression. It's all that fresh mountain air. Makes you crazy.

When we picked up the girlies they were so happy to see us. There was so much to tell us about. They even had letters to share. This is what Stinkerbell had to say (completely unedited even though parts were making me twitchy):

Dear Mom,
Today mostly we are waiting for the bus. For dinner we had spaghetti. It was good. I couldn't sleep so I stayed awake for 6 hours. But I'm not tired.  They make spaghetti even better than you!

Dear Mom,
Today we had french toast for breakfast. Chicken sandwitches and tomato soup for lunch. They also make french toast and tomato soup better than you and Dad. For dinner we had steak. I don't like your steak but I like theirs.

Dear Mom,
For breakfast we had egg casarol. Chicken sandwitches for lunch and stroghanof for dinner. I maybe slept for an hour and a half.

Dear Mom,
Today for breakfast we had waffles. For lunch ravioli (I had peanut butter & jelly sandwitches). For dinner we had baked potatos. I didn't eat any.

Dear Mom,
Today for breakfast we had french toast again. For lunch we had a lunch hike. We hiked to the old sleeping barn. It wasn't a very long hike. We looked in it. Their was a lot of mouse poop. We had chips, sandwitches, & fruit. For dinner we had hot dogs & burgers.

Dear Mom,
I didn't get a horse. I got a mule. Her name was Barbie. And if I can't have a horse, I want Barbie! Barbie is smart. When I accsadently kicked her when she was tied up she didn't move. Monday we groomed. Tuesday we saddled. Wednesday and Thursday we rode. I can't believe their food is better than yours!

Stinkerbell is now living in the Hundred Acre Wood, where I chucked her out the window on the way home. The food is much better there.

Zoe's letter is quite a bit more wordy, except that she didn't put her life in jeopardy like someone else we used to know. She did talk about the food some, but never so that she dissed my cooking. She is a sweet little heart. And a lonely only child now.

When we got home, I unpacked the suitcases and found five pair of clean underwear in Stinkerbell's suitcase. I'm still pondering what this means.