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Thursday, August 29, 2013

All things Back to School!

Can you tell by the title what I've been immersed in lately?

Getting 4 kids ready to go back to school is quite an undertaking mentally, emotionally, and financially!

This mama is tired, and more ready than I thought I'd be to send everyone back!

For today's post I thought I would put together just a compilation of all of the back to school ideas I've shared the past two years. Are you ready for it?

Check out this post for one way to organize all of those school papers. {I seriously feel like I need a secretary for this task!}

Now that we have the papers organized, how about some ideas on where to store those backpacks? I'm all about everything needing a place!

This has by far been my most popular post for back to school. Its all about lunch ideas for those of us who send a homemade lunch. We do awesome for about a month and then s-l-o-w-l-y we lose steam and our creativity. So if you need some inspiration, check out this post.

I decided to share our morning routine with you. This has taken a lot of thought and practice. Thought because I work part time and we need a consistent system that would help on the days I'm not here and my hub is getting himself ready. So here are 7 steps to simplify the morning routine, and a tip for preventing head lice.

Part of the fun of going back to school is getting new clothes. Once we had purchased a few outfits each it was time for some accessories. This is an easy and very cheap project.

Here's a post from last year on how to clean backpacks. I bought nice ones from LL Bean two years ago and they are still in great shape but they certainly have gotten dirty. Washing them is simple. Just check out this post for the 'how-to'.

{yes I know its crooked, I had a problem!}

And now that we are somewhat ready, how about a homework basket so that the kids have what they need.

So now if you aren't ready for school its not because I didn't do my job!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Homework Basket

What is a homework basket you ask? 

Well, for us it is a centrally located basket with everything needed for homework time.


Well, I didn't have this last year and my kids were always getting into my desk drawers to take what they needed. It always ended in a mess. I don't like messes.

So we are trying something new this year!

This basket sits on the counter right where my kiddos do their homework and it has all of the essentials with room to spare.

My favorite item is this pencil sharpener. You all need one. Go, now and get one. It will save your life, or at least your hands.

The best thing about it is that it doesn't use batteries. It suctions to the counter and works like a dream. I love this thing! I'm sorry I don't even know where I got it but its worth its weight in gold.

Other than this we have pencils, erasers by the ton, paper clips, and crayons for the kindergartener. I am sure as they get bigger we will need to include a calculator and other items but I'm hoping for now this will work.

Hopefully this is handy enough. 

Oh, if you are wondering what's in the jar, its ideas of things to do inside written on little slips of paper. I hear we are in for a lot of snow this winter so this will come in handy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to School Hair Accessories

Less than two weeks left with my babies at home! Gulp!

I'm excited for the structure and routine that the school year brings, but there's always that sadness that comes with sending them off once again. And this year my baby's going with them! :(

What's a girl to do but make some hair flowers!

My girl loves to help me make these. I shared a tutorial on how to do them a long time ago. Check it out here. Today though I'm tweaking them a bit and trying out a few new things. 

These flowers are great because you can use them to pin on a dress or sweater for an accessory or you can clip them in the hair or on a headband. 

{See that pink one on the bottom left? That one's been washed 57 times and still looks great~ fleece is better if you want them washable, some of the others are felt}

We started by hauling out some of McKinley's new clothes for school to see what colors we needed.

{This dress is from Children's Place and looks so cute with the gray leggings and magenta polka-dots I found at Old Navy}

{This one she fell in love with and was $7. at Marshalls}

For the headband with flower, we took an old green plain headband of hers and glued a round piece of felt to sandwich the headband between.

Hot glue works best for this project.

Different from my original tutorial is the two colored mum.

These are made by taking a strip of felt about an inch wide by the length of your main flower color and snipping your little notches all the way down, then laying it on top of your other color before you roll it up.

If you aren't that crafty and want to start with something really simple, try this.

This carnation type flower is just 12 inches of ruffled ribbon {for edging} that was just rolled up and glued.

For the backs I use a round piece of felt or fleece and inexpensive hair clips from Hobby Lobby.

This project was a freebie for me because I had the fleece, felt pieces and hair clips on hand. But if you wanted to make some yourself and had to go buy everything you could make a dozen of these for about $5.00. The felt sheets are usually 2/$1.00 and if you get the hairclips with a Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon you can do that for about $2.00. Each felt sheet makes about 3 flowers.

Here's another really simple idea.

These are just simple strips of felt or ribbon and a couple of dots of hot glue. These could be attached to hair clips or a headband.

So even if we aren't ready for school emotionally, we will at least look put together! ;)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 19, 2013

An Easy Rug Update

It sure is a good thing that IKEA is not handy.

I took a trip with my dear friend Sherry to IKEA and for some outlet shopping a few weekends ago. We found a lot of good deals but it sure was hard to stay within budget. Oops! {Sorry honey!}

One of my deals was this $5.00 doormat from IKEA. Its kind of sisal-ly {if that's a word}. I figured at this price it wouldn't hurt to give it a try and see what I could do with it.

Here's where it started:

First I taped off my stripes using blue painters tape. 

Then out to the garage we went with some leftover spray paint in various colors.

I used newspaper to cover the mat on either side of my stripe so that the color wouldn't spray where it wasn't wanted.

Once I was done I used a clear gloss sealer {gloss was all I had on hand, but the final product doesn't look glossy}. 

And that's it! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How to Pick a Nursing Home

So totally not your typical Homey Home Design post, I know. 

I promise this is an exception and not the rule to what I normally do. I mean post. 

It is what I normally do, kind of. 

Besides being a wife and mother to 4 I am also the Director of Social Services at a nursing home and I love it! As a social worker I help residents and families adjust to life in a nursing home and help them with any mood, behavior or cognitive issues. I've been there 13+ years and I can't imagine doing anything else.

In my time there I have learned a thing or two about what makes a good nursing home, so I thought just in case choosing one may be on your radar soon I want to share a few things.

Nursing homes are one of the most highly regulated industries in the United States. There is a rule for everything! This can be a double edged sword but the overall intent is the protection of a vulnerable population.

{As a disclaimer, these are my opinions based on my experience. Use these as a guide but not a definitive authority} :)

What to look for when choosing a nursing home for a loved one:

1. A Private non-profit facility: Why? I've seen too many facilities that were corporately owned where the bottom dollar was king. Money rules over good care. I am sure there are exceptions to this but I haven't seen them. In the end its all about the money. We have had staff come from these facilities to work at ours out of frustration over the way money ruled over common sense.

2. Smiling staff: Go for a tour. Do the staff seem happy to work there or do they appear stressed and over worked? There will always be people that aren't happy no matter what but what is the general vibe you get from the employees?

3. Visiting Hours: You have to wonder about places that have set specific visiting hours. What do they have to hide? Depending on the condition of the resident this may be important but for the regular resident it should be ok for a son or daughter to stop by on their way to work or stay to watch the late night news together. The only thing that is not permitted is the over night guest with the exception being if the resident is actively dying. I will say that it is important to use some common sense especially if your loved one has a roommate. Does that roommate go to bed at 7:30, then maybe you should take your visiting to one of the common areas of the facility.

4. Open door policy with administrator and director of nursing: A great facility will allow access to key personnel without an appointment. You should be able to pop in and ask a quick question or voice a concern without scheduling an appointment. That being said if you have quite a few issues to discuss, respect their time and go ahead and schedule something if you want their undivided attention for a period of time.

5. Residents are well groomed: When you tour take a look at the residents. Are they dressed in normal clothes {not a hospital gown}. Is their hair combed, and faces clean? What is the overall smell of the facility? Out of fairness please know that you will see a range of abilities from the resident in a recliner chair that is in the late stages of their dementia and can't engage in their surroundings {and may be drooling}  to the sweet little lady that wants to hold your hand.

6. Activity participation: Are there things for the residents to do of all abilities? Will the facility staff still take the resident in the late stages of their dementia to hear the musical program? How often are programs offered?

7. Survey results: Every year and sometimes even more frequently, the state and or feds will come in to do an in depth evaluation of everything the facility does throughout the year. They look at everything from peeling paint {which you'd better not have} to the temperature of the food being served. All of this information is available to the public and can be accessed online. No facility is perfect and nearly everyone gets citations. These citations have to be corrected and a follow up survey is done to insure that the regulations are being followed. Check it out here.

There are two great ways to choose a nursing home: taking a tour or talking to someone who has a loved one there. When you tour ask a another visitor about their experience with that home.

Care giving is not for the faint of heart and with complicated care issues there are great homes out there and many options for families. I hope you never need to use a nursing home but if you do make an informed decision.

Thanks for stopping by!

I'm sharing this here:

Between naps on the porch

Thursday, August 15, 2013

DIY Art Ideas

There's no excuse not to have art in your house. None.

Art is a personal expression of who you are, and maybe where you've been.

Art can be pictures you've taken of places, people or events. It can be pretty scenery or just something that caught your eye. 

Art evokes memories, emotions, and enjoyment. So why not have art?!

If your reason is money than look no further!

Today I want to share with you some ideas for do-it-yourself art and ways to keep it cheap.

I have two sources for frames:




Both are really cheap. Most of the frames you will see today were either 1.99 or 2.99. I have a few from Goodwill too and these were roughly .99. Totally doable!

Once you have the frames you can leave them as is or hit them with some spray paint ~ my favorite way to unify a bunch of mis-matched frames.

So what do you fill them with? 

Here are some ideas from around my house:

This one is a piece of scrapbook paper with the first letter of our last name. {This was just printed out from my computer, cut out and glued on top of the paper}.

Here's another example of scrapbook paper.

The great thing about scrapbook paper is that it won't fade and its a great way to add color to any space.

This is an example of taking fabric from your pillows or curtains and covering a plain canvas with it. On top I added an animal silhouette that I found online. Here's the tutorial.

Here's another version of using fabric from your decor. This one was actually a sample I purchased but couldn't afford any more. I wanted to use it somewhere and this was the perfect way to show it!

How about kids art? 

And if you don't have any kids art that you like or you want something that matches your decor give your kids some paint in the colors of your space and have them do a finger painting for you. 

If you want to get a little more technical. Here is some art that I made to first of all remember some of the places that my husband and I have been together.

And here's one for states that we've been to as a family. {And yes, we need to do more traveling!}

In my bathroom I painted this piece with painters tape and a template over an ugly piece of art that I had in my basement. {The stripes match my striped ceiling}.

And for a last idea. Look to the internet. There are a ton of free printables online. I love this verse that I just printed out on regular paper and popped into a frame.

I hope you've been inspired to personal art to your space!

Thanks for stopping by!

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