Monday, April 30, 2012

Last Spring Cleaning Challenge Post

This is the final post for the challenge we committed to at the beginning of the month. Though this will hardly be the last area of clearing up and cleaning out it is the final one for this month's official challenge.  It served it's purpose in getting me back to my beginning of the year commitment to organization.

  It has been really useful to get rid of clutter and be able to find things and just have messes gone.  This last post is a mess that was never supposed to be there in the first place.  In January we made a blog post called  "Lemonade" when our water line to the refrigerator had been leaking and ruined a good section of the kitchen floor.  After pulling it up we decided to lay a new kitchen floor.  The boards that were not messed up, because of the size of the kitchen would still cover a good section of flooring, so we set them in the back room as we dismantled the kitchen and they wound up sitting there for several months as we laid new flooring then moved on to other projects.

We've decided to save these to use in the shed once cleared out and use it as a pool cabana, because of it's close proximity to the pool area.  After moving the flooring for now to the garage I then just had to get the game room decluttered and gave it a quick cleaning.  Found I have room along the back wall area where I can add shelves to be able to store the kids DVD's for easier access in this movie and game area.

Finally, had to show this.  Hannah loves board games and has been after Kevin to play one with her. He's been so busy that he's had to keep putting her off. Finally on Saturday evening he committed to spending time with her on Sunday.  So Sunday morning after making her bed she set up the game complete with dolls to be her "helpers" and was all set for Kevin to be able to join her later in the day .  It was just cute to have dad sit there as she explained the rules, then play the game.  She proudly announced her victory at the end and even got him to join in again later that evening along with Cameron. 

Lauren was busy logging time watching educational DVD's as she played with her Legos. Not only does she enjoy this, but it's really helped her language skills.  She enjoys sharing what she's learned from her lessons.  I love the fact that she just thinks it's entertaining and isn't aware it's part of school!!  Sneaky mom : )

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Date Night

On Friday night's Cameron usually attends a young adults group, but since he chose not to go last night Kevin and I thought we'd take advantage to get out for the evening while he graciously watched the girls.  "Date nights", for us unless it's a special occasion will generally be dinner and a trip to Lowes.  I know how boring.  Not for us though since projects are a common interest.  It's a chance to get out, enjoy each other's company, talk at our leisure and maybe find an idea for the house that inspires or is needed.

Last night we had a nice Italian meal at Raviolis Osteria. I've included some images borrowed from their web site since I didn't make a point to bring my camera. It was really good, especially the creme brulee we couldn't resist for dessert!

Then instead of our usual trip to Lowes it was a fun filled cruise through Sam's Club to pick up items we were really short on.  Ah the joys of responsible parenting  : )

Today I got outside in the cooler morning to paint the rafter area around the new roof in preparation for Kevin and Cameron putting up fascia board and new guttering.  While I was busy with this the girls played with Hannahs remote control car then decided a game of tag was the best use for it. Kept them busy and burned some energy while I worked.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Visitors.  This consists of two categories wanted and unwanted.  Yesterday we were able to visit Amber and Eddie at the home we helped them move to from their apartment about a month ago. These are temporary lodgings for them as they've been blessed with 6 months of no rent for house sitting in return. We can safely say we fell into the category of wanted and invited guests!!

Fixing us a delicious meal
My Girls

Today after watching a squirrel behaving strangely from the barn window I walked back in the pool area right near where the girls had been playing this past weekend and found this unwanted visitor.

Our first of the season and since rattlesnakes are territorial we made sure to let it know this was our territory.
Kevin quickly took care of it with one head shot and Cameron added another tail to his collection.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunny and Warm

This past weekend was beautiful.  The sun was shining and temperatures reached into the upper 90's. We took full advantage to get some yard work done around the pool. Flowers are blooming and looking really pretty.

Because of the bright sun we set up a shade canopy for the girls to retreat under when necessary. While they played with their bubbles Kevin and I began to take care of the weeds and plants that were getting a bit out of hand.  We'll need to keep at this to really see the progress we want, but we're off to a good start for this season. Cameron was off playing baseball with a group of friends so he managed to get out of this yard work session.  We let him know we've saved more for his help the next time : )

We decided to let the chickens on the pool side of the fence to help with bugs and weed control in some of the planter beds around the pool.  Took a bit of coaxing to get them out of "their" yard, but once over they loved scratching and picking at bugs and plants.  Will have to do this a bit more when we're out there working. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Week Three of Spring Cleaning

Another week down in the Spring Cleaning Challenge.  This time it was the master bathroom's tall linen/storage closet.  It was a time to clear out electronics like an old ultrasonic contact lense cleaner that I definately haven't needed in years. Both Kevin and I had Lasik treatments done 5 years ago!! Old electric toothbrushes that have been collecting dust, and a lot of outdated lotions and other products that got shoved to the back of the cupboard and aren't good anymore.


I used plastic storage boxes to organize and better store First Aid items and made easily identifiable and accessible kits.  In general just getting things properly sorted for a more efficient space.


Oh, and a quick garden update.  With the warmer weather a lot more has been sprouting and growing. We've had to drape bird netting over everything because the birds kept uprooting  my small seedlings. Our first few squash are growing as these plants seemed to be the quickest to get established and we'll be picking these in a week or so. The girls are really excited to see the changes, especially where their sunflower seeds have now grown into almost foot high plants. What a thrill it will be for them when they finally flower!!

Garden photo with all the bird netting
Yellow Squash, Corn and Yellow Nasturtium

Loads of these this year so our garden is really reinforced with fencing!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Birds of a Feather!

Each year in early spring not only do we contend with the Mallard ducks swimming in our pool and trying to nest in the ferns, we have a funny looking bird with a curved bill that always returns and keeps her nest in the one of our pygmy date palms.  The chicks are so cute and it is funny to watch these birds as they grow and run and fly about our property. Here are two of the chicks that were there this past week.

Where I (Kevin) work there is a large lake used for the water treatment plant, the water district owns several thousand acres and of course we have a variety of wildlife that shares the property with us.  This year in one of our chemical tank farms we had a pair of Great Horned Owls nest and lay eggs on one of the lights attached to the canopy.  We have to avoid the area as much as possible until they leave the nest within the next couple of weeks. These are some photos from the biologist who verified who the new occupants were. I love the look on their eyes as they realized they were being photographed.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Today as part of our schooling I thought it would be fun to include with Hannah's lessons in grammar and multiplication our collection of the classic, Schoolhouse Rock. We have the DVD's and I had her listen to some fun songs that reflect what she's been learning.

Little did I know that as we watched I would have to keep explaining what items were in the videos, or what they were referring to.  Examples: phone with a cord, a typewriter, payphone, jukebox, flashbulbs on cameras and records. These things just aren't a part of her everyday life.

The imagery and references in these were now SO DATED it was amazing to contrast with what makes up life today in our children's world.  It took me on a trip down memory lane when Schoolhouse Rock played on TV in between kid shows.  This would have been a TV where we kids were the remote, because my parents hadn't yet bought the big TV with the remote that made the clicking noise to change your channel.  Remember those, any of you?

It also got me thinking about items that make up part of our children's everyday life like cellphones, laptops, Ipods, Ipads, digital cameras and the list goes on that were the stuff of comic books and futuristic films when I was their age.  Amazing!!!  It added a whole other perspective to our school lessons today.

Monday, April 16, 2012

No Whining Zone

Since our computer system router died on Friday (so no internet)  and we needed to wait for a new one to arrive, which Verizon graciously overnighted for a Saturaday afternoon arrival.  I had no excuse other than to get to my next project.  The dreaded homeschool cabinet!!!

Now mind you we have other more organized storage areas for books, videos and materials, but this is the cabinet that our daily lessons come from. I will routinely straighten it, but I have lots of help putting materials away and my "helpers" are not so worried about being organized.  In preparation I hit Walmart for some storage containers that even the girls could pull out and be able to put back in order.
As I opened the cabinet I did have one of those "what was I thinking? " moments.  Yes, this needed to be done. Yes, it will be so much better once complete, but ugh this is not how I want to spend my Saturday.

It was this very lack of enthusiasm and  procrastination that let it get so bad in the first place.

So after pulling everything out, sorting, discarding and taking the time to pull samples of the girls work for filing along with grades. I then made container's for each of the girl's current workbooks.  Threw out all the dried up pens and pencils so small they were useless. I placed in containers and labeled the flashcards, magnetic letters and phonics pieces as well as the math manipulatives for easy location and use.  And finally we have this:

Having the containers instead of seperate stacks I've had in the past, I do believe we will be able to maintain far more order than we've had.  As I finished Hannah called me in to look at her coloring and craft boxes that she had decided to clean up and clear out "just like you, Mom!"  Hey, maybe this has been time well spent? !!