Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Reinventing Our Schedule…..and the Playroom too!

Reinventing Our Schedule…..and the Playroom too!

As I explained in the last post, I am starting to “home school preschool” on Monday for the kids. I wanted a space that we could call our “classroom” and use as a playroom. 
This is NOT my home, but I wish it were! I love this look.
This year the term reinventing keeps popping up. It is about taking what you have, and making it better. It is redefining a space, your dreams, and your personal goals. It can be small or large scale, but the point is just to improve your world one thought and one task at a time.
My solution is to use our spare room, otherwise known as our computer room, or catch-all room, or “where we through our stuff when we don’t know where to through it” room.
This spare room of ours is on the agenda to get a complete overhaul. For now I will work with what is here. I have started the job of giving it a good cleaning, planning to redecorate it, and repurposing it to be our very own school and playroom.
I love organizing rooms and finding better solutions to making them function. I also love to bring an element of design to a space and make them pretty, inviting, and most importantly our own.
Here is a quick tip to organizing. Velcro! Check this out. I put the tape on the wall (because I can never find it!). I put the markers on the easel, and on the wall by our board.

I also love command hooks that don’t ruin your wall. I used those for hanging our lesson board and for what will be hanging the month, day, and year. The kids can change out things on the board every school day. If you`re interested in these hooks as well, I found some great coupons from
I picked a spot on the wall for our new “Learning Board.”    High enough so Chica can’t grab at it, but low enough for the older two to manage working at it. 
 Here is the very beginning stage of our board.

 I used this as inspiration for our learning board. Why invent the wheel, when it’s been done already? Just add your special touches, and what is best for your kids at the stage they are in.

This is just one of the many boards I found online. She has all the links to the print-outs right there!
Follow my Preschool at Home Board on Pinterest for my latest ideas.

For artwork, I would love to have something like these prints from Studio Mela, found on Etsy. 

illustration print, drawing, quote art, inspirational poster, school,  kids art, nursery art print, teacher, math - LITTLE MATHEMATICIANS

I will also use the kids artwork on the walls to make them, and Mama, proud of what they have already done.

Next was arranging the furniture in a way that made more sense for our new playroom/preschool. I moved around some furniture. Took the drum set that was taking up too much space out to the mudroom, and moved in a rug that I had in storage.  I put a pretty quilt over the couch to make it inviting to all snuggle and read. 
But now I’m missing something. Some comfy seats of their own for my little students! You can never have enough places to lounge. I thought about Bubba’s school and quickly came to the conclusion that we need bean bags for our room.  He has them at his school and the kids love them. I also like this idea because it brings some nostalgic memories back to me of my tan corduroy one that I had growing up.  It is funny how things like that stick with you.
I want our time here to stick with them.
When I went online, I found all sorts of cool options!
 How about this?
( I found this one on

I can just see the three of them now!
Hmmm. Perhaps these? I love the bright colors and funny disguise faces!

Or this?

(I found this one on

Or a giant one for all three to share!
(This one if from Jaxx Bean Bags)
I have a lot more work to do but this is a start! This is going to be a great summer adventure for all of us!  I am a little bit nervous about how it will go, how much work it will be for me to keep things going, and interesting for them.  Here is my advice to myself when it comes to that negative chatter…..

Love, Peace, and Sandy Feet,
Mama Nic

Roll With It

It is fast approaching summer.  Just when I have gotten into a groove here with our family's schedule, it will all change.....again. 

"Roll with it."  This is my mantra.
This is not my foot,  although I love the idea!  I found her on Pinterest. 

My husband brought up the point that Bubba never gets a break from preschool.  He goes five days a week, all year long.  His only break from preschool is if we go on vacation and take him out.  Hubby approached  me with the idea to have him stay at home with me and the girls three days a week, and send him to school on the two days we send Marmalade.  Chica goes to a daycare on those days, so I can go to my office job.  This will give him a "summer break".  (Well, sort of anyway.)  I also know that the sister will like having him around more. 

At first, to be completely honest  I had a negative reaction to the idea.  The fact that things were just feeling manageable for me, and the fact that when you get this boy off his routine, things become a nightmare and is night terrors and bad behavior quickly return.  He is a good boy at heart, but he is a four year old and still a young man in training.  He has lots of training ledft to do. 

When I got the chance to stew about this for a day, my opinion drastically changed.  When else can I do this with my kids?  Now is the time that this will work, so why not take advantage of being at home a few days a week with my little loves?

I decided to turn the three days a week into a home preschool.  We would do lessons, crafts, have outside play, reading, field trips, the works!

I know, you are probably thinking that he still isn't getting a break from school, but trust me, this is better than having them do nothing all day.  I think they will love this idea.

I didn't want him to stop learning while he was on summer beak, and knew that he would love the structure and projects that I could do with him.  I also wanted to keep them all busy so they wouldn't get bored and fight.  Plus,  it would be good for me to have some structure to my days with them as well. 

photo of: Slab of Tree Mounted in Preschool Classroom (via RainbowsWithinReach)
Love this idea of a tree growing in the room and this would so fit into our log home!

Before I knew it, I was knee deep into looking up lessons.

Wish us luck!  Schools starts Moinday.

Love, Peace, and Sandy Feet,
Mama Ni

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Our family would like to say thank you to all the brave men and women who have over the years, put their country's well-being over the well-being of themselves.  We honor you and thank you today.


It has been raining for days!!!!  It has been cold, and windy, and is it really May?  You wouldn't know it this past week.  BUT, today we woke to the sun.  And that means,  let's get outside!

I loaded up the littles in the Mamavan, and drove around the corner to the nearest State Park for a picnic and hike.  We had so much fun exploring.  Fresh air, blue sky, sun, love.

It was the kids first real hike going on a hiking trail and the loved the adventure of it!

Take a look at all the fun we had..............

There is lots more daylight hours of today, so I have to run.  We threw together an impromptu cookout for later today.  :)   As always, LOVE, PEACE, and SANDY FEET, Mama Nic        

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What Pinterest Looks Like in Real Life (In my Bathroom)

Don't ya just love Pinerest?  I find it so useful for so many things.  Organizing all my favorite sties in one place, recipes, parenting advice, preschool lessons and activities, sewing ideas,  inspiration, travel, party ideas.....the list goes on and on.  Follow me on Pinterest if you are curious as to what I pin.  Click here to follow me.

My main point here today is to show you how I use these pins. 

Sure we spend lots of time pinning, but do you actually do any of the ideas or are you just a pin addict?  It is ok to admit the truth.  No judgements here!  I admit to both. Moving on.

I want to start documenting here on my blog, what Pinterest looks like in real life.  Here is the first example.

I will start on a project that I did in my bathroom.  I started a board  on Pinterest called, "Mama is Getting it Together."  This board is one that I have done many of the projects.    

The project I just completed was inspired by this:

My bathroom off my bedroom, is one of my favorite rooms in the house.  Ok, it is my favorite room.  We didn't always have a bathroom like this.  We started out with a small 1950's ranch and literally had to built a second story.  (A reno like this is NOT for the faint of heart!) Anyway, we designed this bathroom as a luxury spa-like retreat, sparing no detail unattended to. The kids use the bathtub more than we do, but looks pretty and I know it is there if I ever get a chance to enjoy it.

I don't have a picture of the pink,  metal siding ranch that it started out as handy to post today.  (I will find one later.)  Then it was a single story, log-sided home, then a two story one.

Home sweet home.  

( doggies.  Miss you Maguiness.)



The color, the fixtures, the tiles, sink, showers, toilets, were all picked by hand by my husband and I.  All of the actual work to make it all happen (sheet-rock, sanding, paint, installing EVERYTHING, tile, you name it) where all done by my husband , and our family helped too here and there.   I am lucky girl to have a bathroom like this and I know it!

Here.......follow me. Take the tour.
(see.....real mirror with real streaks!)

(baby bath in our bath)

(Hi Marmalade!)

(Say Hi to Mr. Haiti.  Hubby brought him back from Haiti and my family loves him.)

(real laundry)

(River rocks that we bought to use for our wedding vases have been re-purposed as a floor! (Well, to fill in here and there anyway) "Aaaww.  I know.  Sweet, right?)


(A gift we got from our wedding and the curly willow branches used at the wedding make a perfect statement here)

Details, details, details.  They make all the difference and this look, came together at last couple of years.  Every piece was thought out before it got a place in our bathroom.  We are supposed to think that "stuff" isn't important and it is not.  But, the stuff we surround ourselves with in our home should make the space feel sacred and yours.  Choose wisely and be picky about what gets a spot in your house. 

When we ever move, it will be a room that will be missed greatly.  The thought put into this room makes it mean so much.  The pictures hanging were taken in St. John,  on our honeymoon.  Some things I can obviously take,  but others are built right in the house and hopefully another family will appreciate them.

My only complaint  for this bathroom, is that we don't have a linen closet.  We use our closet in our Master Bedroom, which is a walk-in closet,  for towels and linens too.  It works, but it isn't the most handy at times.  For hand towels and washcloths, I was using a basket on the floor in the corner of the bathroom.  It looked alright and did the trick however, Chica is in the crawling stage,  and she LOVES to threw all the contents of the baskets, one by one onto the floor.  She does this again, and again and again.  Enough already!  So, this basket on the floor no longer works for this Mama.

Up on the wall they go.

I used both pictures above as my inspiration and did my "real life" version of it.



I used a stud finder, a power drill, 3 screws, 2 baskets that I already owned, a candle that I already had in the bathroom,  a shell from a recent trip to the sea, and our hand towels, bath towels,  and washcloths.  It didn't take long,  and all and I had them up on the wall. 

I know what you are thinking.  Her towels don't all match and maybe she could use some nicer towels.  Truth.  I thought about changing them to only the nicer matching towels, but that would not be "Real Life Pinterest,"  You get me?  I didn't wipe the mirror or hide the toys........This is the real world,  people.  I am pointing out the mirror streaks and laundry, not to be negative about myself, but to show you that it is ok to have a home that you love and live in,  and not have it be 100% clean 100% of the time.  If you have kids and can do this, please share with me how.  If it involves skipping fun things and rest to contastancly work at it, I  pass.  I am happy with my streaks.  I embrace them!

 Everything we do is NOT going to look as perfect or beautiful as a pin, but that shouldn't discourage us.  I love how this came out, and it works for our family.  I am proud of my bathroom redo that costs nothing.

I hope this helps inspire some ideas for your lovely abode! 


Love, Peace, and Sandy Feet,
Mama Nic