Thursday, March 27, 2014

DIY School

I thought I would get a little personal today. I wanted to share another DIY project I have been working on. This is the best one I have done!

I started homeschooling my 3 school aged kids in January. (I also have a preschooler.) They are smart, well-behaved, good children. But, I have heard 'alarms' going off in my head and heart for a couple years now. I got involved at our middle school hoping I could make a difference. We got the parent teacher association going again and I felt like that would help. We have good teachers in our area, but I felt like there wasn't any accountability to parents there because there hadn't been any parent involvement for a long time.  I wanted them to see parents in the schools again, and remember that we are ultimately in charge and have a say in what goes on in the schools.

In the end, though, I felt strongly that public school had nothing left to offer us.  My kids were actually happy when my husband and I talked to them about being homeschooled. My older two were tired of the negativity all around them. I felt like their spirits were being broken and their attitudes were quite stinky! I really haven't liked the changes to curriculum, and that power is being taken from parents and local leaders. I didn't like some things my kids in middle school were reading and the version of history they came home with.

So, I gave them a couple weeks to tell their friends and get used to the idea, and then, they came home. My heart is at peace. FINALLY! I knew something new was coming to our family, but I never expected it to be homeschooling. It's the best thing we have done, though. I feel like my kids can just be kids. They get plenty of play time, which is SO important for their learning and confidence. They get to study subjects THEY are interested in. We can tailor their subjects just for them. We can go as fast or as slowly as we need to. I felt like public school was turning them into little robots.

I have heard that some people got a lot of negative feedback from those around them when they made the leap to homeschooling. That was not my experience, I am happy to say.  I had some tell me I was crazy, but believe me, that is NOT the first time I have heard that, nor will it be the last I am sure! I had a lot of moms say they admired me or thought I was brave. But I just feel like I'm doing what's best for my kids. I feel this is what God wants for us, and I am willing to do what I feel He knows is best for us.

If you have ever felt like you could never do this, I totally get it. I NEVER expected us to be a homeschool family! I would say, though, if you are at all curious of how it would be, or if you have felt the whisperings that something's not quite right for your kids at school, BE BRAVE! Take a leap of faith! If it isn't right for you in the end, you can always go back. Even if that's the case, you have set a great example of going out on a limb and trying something new for your kids to see. They learn from watching us learn and struggle and succeed and fail! Nobody's perfect, so why should kids think their parents are? How will they know they can raise families, too, if they don't see that we are just human just like them? Isn't that a good lesson for our kids? When they see us struggle with things, they understand that that is the normal way of life. Working through things is what life is all about. Making things work is what it's all about. So, follow your heart. And that doesn't just go for homeschooling, that goes for life in general!

A Better Granola

Today, I am sharing a recipe with you from my family's food blog, Delicious Dale's.  I have 8 sisters-in-law and one fantastic mother-in-law, and they are all the BEST cooks! Try out this granola recipe my mother in law found in Bon Appetit Magazine.

Photo from Bon Appetit Magazine
  • Preheat oven to 300°. Combine 1 large beaten egg white, 3 cups old-fashioned oats, 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (such as almonds, pistachios, pecans, or walnuts), 1 1/2 cups coconut shavings, 1/2 cup agave syrup, 1/4 cup olive oil or warmed coconut oil, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon in a large bowl; toss to combine. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Bake granola, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and dry, 40-45 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet (it will crisp as it cools).
  • Mix in 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries. DO AHEAD: Granola can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
  • Coconut shavings (chips) are strips of unsweetened coconut and are available at many natural foods stores and some supermarkets.
Customize it
  • Swap maple syrup or honey for the agave to get a subtle flavor shift.
  • If chocolate chips mean your kid will love it, throw ‘em in at the end.
This granola's great out of hand, but for added protein, serve over low-fat yogurt. Or layer it in a glass with yogurt and fresh fruit.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ingenuity Treasury Feature

Thank you, Jessica from Feath and Kee, for featuring my Pink 'Chipper' Headboard in your Kids Only Treasury Spotlight! The other items are so cute, too! Check out their blog for some other cool items and ideas for marketing products.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Can you tell I like spray paint?

Yikes! Can you see my little assistant in the photo?
I love spray paint! Can you tell?  Here is another quick and easy DIY spray paint make over. I bought this hideous little nightstand at a really divy 2nd hand shop (those are my favorite kind!) for $2.  It isn't even made of all real wood. It's got laminate on it. BUT, you shouldn't let that scare you off. There is spray paint now that specifically says it's made for spraying plastics and such! How nice it that?  I do have another cute little nightstand that is solid oak that I painted the same as this one.  I bought that one for $5 while purchasing another table. (that is a blog for another time) They are both in my boys' bedroom and they look great together!
Back to this nightstand, I loved the handle on it! So cool!

On to procedure.  Wash down your project with a little soap and water. Let it dry completely.  Take off any hardware. Wash that, too, if you're keeping it.  Now for the fun part. Start spraying away. Remember on  my last post, I told you how to spray. Use long even strokes.  Start on one side of the table and sweep across and a little beyond it.  Hold it 8-12 inches away, so you don't get pooling or runs. Do the first coat, let it dry a few minutes. (if you do it outside like I did, it will dry really fast!) Then do another coat. Be sure to spray evenly, or you will be able to tell where you go it on too light or too heavy. If you need to practice, get a cardboard box and spray paint that til you master your technique.
So much better!
How darling is that?!

The oak nightstand. Nice!

Friday, March 7, 2014

DIY: An Old Chandelier Gets a New Look

We bought an old farm house that needed to be gutted and given a new life. It was right up our alley. My hubby and I love an adventure and we work well as a team.  He has the know-how, I have some vision. And when the project is bigger than I expected, he is my bailout man. He saves me quite often, and I love him dearly for it!  We had fun making it  new and beautiful again. After the worst of it was done, it was time for finishing touches. We needed a dining room light. I went to the local home improvement stores and perused several times, but couldn't see what I was envisioning. I finally bought one just because we needed one and it was on sale. As soon as my hubby hung it, I knew it was all wrong. Poor guy and my darn vision!  So, I went on the hunt for my dream.  I enlisted the help of my savvy sister-in-law and she finally found what I was looking for at a thrift store! $16 and a can of off brand 'Antique White' spray paint and the rest is history!

This is a super easy project that anyone can do in an hour. (After you find the perfect chandelier, of course!) First thing to do it wash it down. Make sure all the cobwebs and gunk are gone, so the paint will stick really well. I taped off the white 'candle' parts with masking tape because they were in good shape after I washed them up.  You can buy replacements at a hardware/home improvement store.  Then I just started spraying. When you use spray paint, hold the can about a foot away and do wide sweeps. If you are too close, it will go on too thick and you will get runs. Start spraying before you hit your target and then keep spraying past it. Make sense? This will give you a smooth finish.  It takes practice and some patience, but it's worth it.  I did 2 coats. I also sprayed the chain and the electrical cord so it looked uniform.  Hang it somewhere to dry a few hours, and then have your electrical savvy go-to guy put it up for you! EASY. AS. THAT!!


 I absolutely LOVE how this turned out! It was so easy and so satisfying. Go find one and get creative.