Keeping a 4-year old busy

When I babysit, I have one rule. The TV must not be turned on. I know it may sound a little crazy (this may be the teacher in me) but I think if I’m babysitting them, we should be making memories, not viewing shows that really don’t matter.

So that’s just what we did yesterday- No TV and crafts only! She was a bit excited when I showed up with my craft bag! It was filled with stuff to make slime, thumbprint turkeys, and handprint turkeys. We also decorated Christmas ornaments, but that’s a bit too early to post on the blog. Let’s just enjoy Thanksgiving first. 🙂

Slime: Three ingredients- food coloring, glue, liquid starch. I used to do this with my 5th graders at least once a year and they loved it.

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She of course loved it too!

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Directions: 

1. Put glue- as much as you want- into a glass bowl. I used glass so it didn’t stain the plastic when we added the food coloring. I used 3/4 of the glue bottle you see in the picture.
2. Mix in food coloring to get the desired color.
3. Add liquid starch a little at a time while stirring. Keep adding little by little until the goo doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl and you have a clump.
4. Coat your hands in liquid starch so it doesn’t stick to you and mix it up with your hands. If it’s too sticky just add a little more liquid starch.

It’s that easy! And it occupies them for quite awhile!

The next crafts I found on Pinterest. The first one was from Close to Home where there are a quite a few crafts for kids. Ours did not turn out quite like the example, but here are our attempts at a thumbprint turkey:

Our turkeys-
I have to admit it was fun sticking our thumbs in paint and being so artistic! 🙂

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We also made another “Thankful Turkey.” I also got this from Pinterest, from Sortrature.

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Our finished product:

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I love that candy is first on her list!

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Loving November for the first time, in a long time..

I have to say that this is the first November where I am actually enjoying the excitement of the approaching holiday season. I am not just trying to ‘get through’ the month. When I taught fifth grade, November was always a source of stress. It always meant tons of grading for report cards, then report cards, then conferences, and teaching on top of all of that.

November was always one of the most difficult months as a teacher because there was so much to do. It was plagued with worry and stress. How are you supposed to do all of this in the little amount of time you were given? You actually wonder how the hell you were going to make it to the end of the month!

It’s different for me now. I don’t have worries. I don’t have stress. I am not concerned with pleasing other people. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoyed meeting the parents. There are those parents out there that you wonder why they don’t have more children because they are amazing. But those report cards and conferences, the anticipation of the first ‘this is how your child is doing’ stresses you out a bit.

Since I quit teaching, I’ve actually been enjoying every moment of November.

My house is clean.
I’ve enjoyed mid-day reading at Panera with a hot chocolate in hand.
I walked my dogs several times last week.
I’ve been sewing, crafting, and decorating my house for Thanksgiving.
I’ve even been Christmas shopping already. I’m almost done with everyone.
I had a wonderful lunch last week with a friend.
I’ve been volunteering my time- seriously there is nothing more rewarding than that.
I cook and bake now too (and not just on weekends). This week I made chicken corn soup, baked ziti, and banana bread.
I’ve been spending time with my nieces and nephews, which has been so much fun.
Last week, when my nieces spent the night, we made a project for their dad (who ran the NY marathon) and I enjoyed photographing them too.

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And this is the project they did for their dad including everything “New York.” Sorry it’s a bit blurry.

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I’ve been wishing on ‘Wishies’. You blow them in the air and make a wish and they carry your wish. I haven’t done that since I was a child. 🙂

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Let’s not forget the silly faces during lunch with my niece.

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Or Tuesday when we went to the playground. I can honestly say I was the only adult actually climbing and going down the slide too.

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I’ve been exercising too and I’m doing well on my weight-loss team. Oh yeah, I’m “Sandra” on the actual challenge chart, but as you can see I’m doing well for the Red Team.

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I’m not exhausted on Friday nights.
I went to the grocery store this week during the day.
I even had time to cut coupons!
I don’t stress out on Sunday nights.
I love sleeping in.

I have  nothing exactly new to post… Other than it has been very nice to stop and enjoy life for once. It’s so easy to go through the motions and get ‘caught up’ in life. I can honestly say it’s nice to enjoy November.

Trick or Treat Trot

I had a busy weekend spending time with friends and family. A highlight of my weekend was definitely  the Halloween 5K that was held by our local YMCA. It was a ‘team’ challenge for my Project Pounds Away weight loss team.

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We could dress up and they even gave prizes for the best costumes.  The morning’s schedule looked like this:

7:45 – 8:15 AM – Kids costume judging

8:30 AM – Monster Mile (1K)

8:30-9:00 AM – Adult costume judging

9:15 AM – Trick or Trot 5K Run/Walk

10:00 AM – Award Ceremony

I did dress up, but I had to wear my red team shirt, so devil horns it was! A headband was easy to run in and I didn’t want anything that would hinder my running. It was freezing Saturday morning though! I should have planned for a warmer costume.

The race started in a cemetery (which was super cool so close to Halloween), lead through a park, and then ended in the cemetery. There was a monster hill at the end of course, but I promised myself that I just wouldn’t stop running. So, that’s what I did. I just didn’t stop. Our team coach was at the top of the hill and encouraged us a bit. After that hill, we certainly needed the encouragement!

I ran the race with my sister, Ashley.  She’s a bit faster than me, but she was there cheering me on at the end! You couldn’t see the finish line over the hill, so I didn’t know how much more I had to run. Thankfully, she was there telling me to sprint, so I knew I didn’t have much left.

I finished the 5K in 31 minutes. Although this isn’t my best time ever, it’s my best time in a while. My goal was 33 minutes and I beat that goal.

Projects! Projects! Projects!

So, as you know I’ve been on a bit of a break. Actually it’s only really been a break from blogging. I’ve still been busy taking old objects and giving them new life. I’ve ventured out of just gardening and I am extending into home decor. There are just some things that are too beautiful to let sit outside. So, here’s what I’ve been working on. The “How-to’s” will come soon, but unfortunately I haven’t been taking ‘in progress pictures’ so that’ll have to wait.

Here is my first coat rack or jewelry holder:

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Another coat rack made of door knobs and a cabinet (I love the red paint underneath):

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A towel rack. Maybe? I didn’t really like the paint on this one but I was just experimenting:

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I’ve also been working on plate flowers for my garden. The one below is my favorite. I just have to add a spoon to the back and buy copper pipe. I also want to make a copper leaf somehow… I still have to think about how I’ll make that happen. But here it is so far:

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Here are a few things I picked up at the auction on Saturday, but you’ll have to stay tuned… I’m starting them this week for my mother-in-law! They don’t look like much now, but you just wait! 🙂

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I also picked up some old frames on Saturday. They are pretty rough and an older couple there wanted to know what I could possibly do with them. Oh, I’ll find something! Chalkboards? Signs? Garden glove holder with sign? Who knows? But I’m sure I’ll find something!

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I’m also working on projects for the garden to make with glass insulators. I’ve been collecting them for a few weeks now.

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I’m also pretty excited I found handmade nails! I picked them up at the auction Saturday. They were in a box of stuff that most people would think is junk. I can’t wait to work those into a few projects too!

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So, that was just SOME of what I’ve been working on lately. I also been taking quite few more pictures. My husband got a new macro lens for my camera, so here’s a picture with it! 🙂 I’m sure I could have captured more detail with the lens but this was my first picture with it. I just love the colors!

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Coming soon: More projects and “how to” directions 🙂

Lessons Learned at a Real Estate Auction

I’ve been attending many flea markets, antique shops, and yard sales to find new project materials. Aside from mud sales, today was the first time I’ve ever attended and participated in a real estate auction.

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I did learn quite a few lessons today.. Here are a few tips.

  1. Arrive Early
    The auction started at 10:00 and we arrived at 9:15. This was plenty of time to get a number,  to look at all of the things being auctioned, and do some research, which brings me to my next point.
  2. Use your smart phone to look up prices.
    Esty and Ebay are just a click away. This will help you avoid paying too much for objects like many of the people at the auction. Of course I looked like I wasn’t paying attention (on my phone the whole time) but at least I didn’t over pay.
  3. Bring a chair
    It would have been nice to have a chair. Some people didn’t, but we did end up standing for a few hours.
  4. On October days, wear thick socks, bring gloves, and wear a hat.
    I didn’t dress warm enough. It didn’t really feel that cold, but when you are standing outside for hours it gets a bit chilly.
  5. Choose a spot wisely
    All of the auctioneer helpers were in our way. It was difficult to get a good look at the items being sold.
  6. It’s okay to ask questions, even while the auction is happening. 
    Many people were doing this and I was confused. Auctions are so fast-paced, but surprisingly they did stop for questions.
  7. Have thick skin 
    I talk to everyone, but I was a little surprised when people ignored me.  Don’t be surprised if no one wants to talk to you until AFTER the auction. Many people kept their poker faces on the entire time. Then the auction ended and it was like we were all friends. This caught me off guard. Auctions are VERY important to some people. I just didn’t know.
  8. Even if things aren’t being auctioned, if you see something you’d pay for, ask!
    We ended up getting an entire truckload of old wood for $5.00. Oh, the possibilities!
  9. If real estate is being auctioned, know everything you can about the house.
    Why? Because you just never know. You should know taxes, property lines, and house features. It’s important to talk to the attorney and the homeowner if you can. I’m glad we didn’t skip this step because… well read the next tip.
  10. Don’t bring your husband when there is a house for sale and you have money in the bank. 
    I almost went to an auction to spend a few bucks on craft materials and walked away with a $100,00 house. Thank goodness for a recess!

Let me explain #10 a little more. We are not looking for a house, but when an old farm house is about to go for $65,000 and there is only one other bidder… you have to bid. Well, I didn’t bid, my husband did. I was shocked, but he kept bidding. My husband and I always talked about owning an old farm house with a barn. I just love the character, so although shocked, I wasn’t mad. Finally, we had it at $100,000 and instead of saying “SOLD!” they said “Recess!” They had to talk to the seller because that price didn’t meet the reserve. We waited about 30-40 minutes. In the meantime two other interested bidders showed up and bid the house up to $186,000.

The auctioneer apologized (yeah right.. what’s commission on another $86,000?) We did not buy a house today, but certainly I will think twice before making my husband go to a real estate auction with me!

Those are just a few things that I learned today. I wish someone would have shared those tips with me. 🙂 If you have any other tips, feel free to share!

Not enough hours in a day…

I know I haven’t blogged lately (over two and a half months). I’m actually surprised that people are still viewing my blog.  So I guess it’s about time that I start blogging again. After a wonderful lunch on Friday with two of my retired friends, I decided that since I do enjoy blogging I should make my way back to it. I have not stopped gardening or creating projects, which is why I’ve just been too busy to blog.

As you know, if you’ve been following this blog, I quit teaching. Actually I retired; I won’t go back. Not that I didn’t love working with children and it wasn’t incredibly rewarding, it just became too much. I certainly have other reasons too that I’ll share with you someday.

This was my first time not starting school since I can remember.  I was excited for more time to focus on me.  My sister-in-law did invite me to the beach the first week of school to help ease the transition. What better way to kick off the new school year than with a trip to the beach? As it turned out, I even got the chance to witness sea turtles being excavated on what would have been my first day with students at the EXACT time students would have been arriving.  That truly was amazing!

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After I got back from the beach, I had high expectations for my time. I thought I would have all the time in the world to blog and garden. As it turns out, I just don’t. I am not sure how I keep finding things to do or people to visit, but I still find there are not enough hours in a day. I’ve just been filling my days with stuff I love to do. This is happiness.

What am I most proud of? The time that I now have to dedicate to working out and taking care of myself. I started a challenge at my local gym called “Project Pounds Away.” It’s similar to “The Biggest Loser.” We train twice a week as a team, have team challenges, and ‘homework’. I also started Yoga and Zumba!  I’m not crazy about the Total Body class I take on Tuesdays or The Mixx class I take on Thursdays, but I do them anyway.

Anyone that knows me knows this is beyond my comfort zone and that’s why I’m proud. I usually don’t sign up for group things with people I don’t know. I usually don’t take group classes like Zumba and Yoga, let alone by myself. This post by Pink Runner certainly helped a bit. However, I’ve learned something about myself in recent months- I’ve learned that I love meeting new people and most things aren’t worth worrying about. I’ve let go of just about all the negativity in my life and I’ve been going by the quote: “Sometimes, you just have to show up.” So, that’s what I’ve been doing and so far it’s been working out great.

Hopefully that catches you up a bit on what I’ve been doing. So, even though there are not enough hours in the day, I’m hoping to blog more. 🙂

~ Sondra

 

Why Do I Garden?

I was down in the garden yesterday for almost 2 hours harvesting and pruning. I got quite the collection of tomatoes and decided yesterday was a good time to make sauce. I will be blogging about that later. 🙂

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Anyway, when I was in the garden for such a long time yesterday I started thinking about why I have a garden if it is so much work. I mean really? Why? Besides vegetables why put in all that work? There is really one reason, the beauty of the garden. There is just something about being surrounded by flowers that is so wonderful. Some people run to clear their minds, which I do sometimes, but gardening gives me a chance to think. I don’t think I’m alone here either. I know most gardeners can relate. The fact that I get so many vegetables is an added bonus.

imageedit_16_8333711944It was really neat watching the butterflies who didn’t seem to mind me snapping away with my camera. I must have taken at least 20-30 pictures of this little guy.

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I also love the Butterfly Bush in my garden that attracts so many butterflies. I think next year I’ll get another one for the other side of my garden.

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I don’t think you can argue with the beauty here either.

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T.J. also enjoyed the garden, as he just sits to watch everything around him. 🙂 He’s my gardening buddy.

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So there’s really nothing special about today’s post, but I wanted to share the beauty of my garden with you. If you garden, why do you garden?

“So I Can Kiss You Anytime I Want”

We all know the line from Sweet Home Alabama. There is just something about that movie and that line that I just love. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched that movie either. ❤

In case you haven’t seen the movie- In the beginning of the movie when they were kids:

Her: What do you want to be married to me for, anyhow?   Him: So I can kiss you anytime I want. (They kiss in the middle of a storm). At the end of the movie, he asks her why she wants to marry him and she says “So I can kiss you anytime I want.” 🙂 So sweet!

When thinking about decorations and word quotes for our room, there were a lot that I loved. It was so hard to decide.  But “So I can kiss you anytime I want” is something my husband and I still jokingly say to each other 🙂 So in our room it belongs.

I started out with an old sign. It was free and going to be thrown away by a neighbor. Although it is a good sign, I didn’t have a place for it in my house. So, a new sign it is! If you didn’t have a sign to reuse, I don’t see why you couldn’t just use a piece of wood.

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I taped off the frame and sprayed the sign white:

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I cut out the letters with my Cricut (I LOVE IT):

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I organized the letters out and pressed them down:

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I spray painted the sign again with blue over the letters:

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I carefully lifted the letters and the white showed. I untaped the border and here is the final sign. I found a perfect place for it above the closet doors.

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And I leave you with Tank, who doesn’t care about the sign, but loves his place in the room. He heard Bailey bark and it made for a perfect pose.  I couldn’t resist posting this! 🙂

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Jewelry Organizer: From an Antique Typeset Case

My husband and I are currently renovating our bedroom. I wanted a more cottage feel with blues and whites. So with a little white crown molding, a fresh coat of light blue paint, and new beige carpet our room is just about complete. In the meantime, I began organizing and decorating. The first thing I wanted to do was to declutter my dresser starting with my jewelry clump.

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What I had wasn’t working. Let’s face it, every women is trying to figure out a way to store and still display jewelry. I can’t even begin to tell you how many jewelry boxes I’ve owned since I was a teen.  I don’t even have very much jewelry; I just don’t wear it. Diamonds and gardening just don’t mix well. 🙂 Although not a lot of jewelry, I still needed a storage idea.

In search on Etsy I found one that I absolutely LOVED made out of a typeset case! However, the price tag wasn’t working–$129! Not that it isn’t worth it, but remember I don’t have that much jewelry and couldn’t justify spending that. Besides, I ALWAYS think… Hey! I can make that!  Ironically, my husband said we had an old typeset case above our garage! Awesome! ANNNDDDD it was already the color that matched our bedroom! Even better! So, with the help of my husband (as always) we tried to figure it out.

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So with a trip to the hardware store for hooks, we got started.

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I first organized my jewelry into the little boxes. Ummmmm…. is that all the jewelry I have?  Room to grow I guess. 🙂 He will eventually add hooks in every box, but we wanted to hang it and it is time consuming to put hooks in every box.

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My husband simply pre-drilled the holes and screwed in the hooks.

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We added hooks to the bottom for my necklaces.

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I LOVE it! I also think it adds character to the room.

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Finally! I Won’t Kill my Garden!

What am I most excited about? Not killing my entire garden next month. Last year, July ended and August began and I killed my entire garden. Nothing was picked, watered, or weeded. It completely died (except for a few peppers which needed little care).  Why? I began setting up my classroom for a new school year. I started putting in endless hours copying, organizing, planning, and getting ready for my fifth graders.  Yes…in the beginning of August.  I do wish others could see how much time and energy actually goes into preparing a classroom and maybe, just maybe, all the “but teachers have summers off” would stop.

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Many teachers will be in their classrooms this week and I will not be one of them.  Although I didn’t get out of setting up a classroom completely, as I did help a friend, it was a completely different (enjoyable) experience.

Along with not killing my garden, I am enjoying some other firsts:

  • Not freaking out about seeing school supplies in stores. BTW, supplies started showing up in the beginning of July and I smiled instead.
  • Not spending money on school supplies (I would be embarrassed to tell you how much I actually spent last year, besides I’m not sure you’d believe it).
  • Saving some serious money on gas (I had an hour commute each way). Final savings: About $200-$250 a month!
  • Finally, NO school nightmares! There is nothing worse than waking up to some bizarre dream about how you messed something up that was expected of you!

I am still trying to figure out what I miss about teaching this time of year.. So far, I am almost sad to say, there is not too much. The biggest thing would be seeing my colleagues and hearing about their summer. I guess that’s what Facebook is for. 😉 And I am absolutely sure, I will miss the newness of the school year when the students arrive.  I loved seeing their little, excited faces.

So, I’m actually taking care of my garden. Imagine that, I will actually have time to do that.  And I’m happy to say the garden is kind of out of control. Well, the watermelon and cantaloupe are out of control (even with the trellis built). Can you see the two watermelon?

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And a closer look:

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My peppers in one bed are in fantastic shape and are growing well. However, in the other bed,  the bugs are having a feast. I think I have it under control now though 😦

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And my bug-eaten peppers:

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My Roma tomatoes are growing, but seem smaller than usual. Any suggestions?

Overall the garden is in terrific shape along with my stress-level 🙂