New year, New room!

Whether you have started your new school year yet or are waiting until after Labor Day, I’m sure you are well on your way to freshening up your school room space.

Keeping our space fresh helped me gain new perspective for the coming year, new hopes, and let go of old ways that weren’t working any longer.

Here’s a few things we accomplished to kick off the new school year: 

  1. Clean out the old desks.  We threw away the chewed up, nubby, missing-eraser pencils.  Then, we cleared out old, dog-eared notebooks with 3 sheets of paper left.  Finally, any folder or miscellaneous item that was not needed in the coming year went away…
  2. Clean out any old curriculum.  Wow. That’s easier said than done.  After sorting through piles of curriculum and materials,  I took away 3 boxes to a local Christian library with a homeschool resale section and I gathered a whole box full of other miscellaneous items to bless a newbie homeschool family.  We let go of anything that didn’t work for our family. For me, this is tough. Stuff costs money, and I don’t like wasting. 
  3. Give it a deep clean. No space is pretty with bugs and dust bunnies lurking around the corner.  We went through each and every shelf giving then a thorough dusting.  We even washed the windows!
  4. Gather new supplies and organize.  Each child received his and her boxes of their own pencils, scissors, and colored pencils, erasers, glue stick etc.  It’s a total time waster/distraction/disruption to be searching for a supply that’s needed and not have it at your fingertips.  Our main supplies were then gathered and placed in mini-galvanized buckets from Target, all smartly organized onto a wonderful, rolling cart from World Market.  
  5. Remove any old books.  We purged any books that we no longer needed, like the Beginner’s Guide to Spanish that was a bit mildewy inside. Gross right? 
  6. Add new books.  After clearing out some open space, we added in our new books in categories by subject.  We have some text books, but for many subjects we use “living books.
  7. Gather your supplies and weed out. I found a great rolling cart at World Market, added some little buckets, and stocked the cart with all the supplies we could possibly need for the year.  The last thing you want to do is leave your school area searching around for a working glue stick while the crews lies in waiting (I mean gets distracted and either starts to play or argue!). Find the glue sticks. Now. 
  8. Assess your kids’ height/comfort in their current desk/chair.  Did your kids have a growth spurt over the summer? Make sure their chairs aren’t too short or their desk/table too low.  I found out the hard way ergonomics are important. Our kids were emerging from little kids to mid-aged children (I will not say the word Tween!) We found a couple old desks at a garage sale, sanded, and painted them a fun color of their choice, and stocked them with fun supplies. 
  9. Finally, add some fun decorations to spark your creativity and create a special place to “do school.”  We chose a banner with our school name.               

I hope you are well in your way to an organized and beautiful year.  

Erin

First Day Fun!

It’s the first day of our new school year! I wanted to share with you how we celebrated our first day of homeschool.
First, we did a family PE class at the Y, and celebrated with donuts! Health lesson and PE all-in-one!πŸ˜‰

Then, we came home and toured the updated school room, introduced new curriculum, picked new books, and set new expectations and goals. 

They opened a small gift bag of new school supplies and picked out their new notebooks for the year.

Together, we worked out a weekly schedule, a daily routine, and updated our summer checklist-what the kids need to finish before we start school in the mornings.   Lastly, we made pennants with the kids’ names, grade, and year then took pictures! These pennants will go into their clear plastic boxes with their weekly work.

While I continued to get organized, the children organized their desks, explored our revamped space, and played with educational puzzles.

Lastly, we wrote a creative writing entry into their new journals.

It was a simple, fun day! What do you do to celebrate your first day of homeschool?

More wisdom when you’re weary…

This is not my wisdom…I’m lacking in that myself. Are you doubting how your year will go? Are you doubting whether or not you’ll have the strength to carry-on? Are you doubting whether or not you can do the job that God has called you to do? 

I wonder if doubt is the source of our troubles. When we doubt, what we’re  really wondering is if the Lord will do all that he says he will do.  I have been collecting verses this year about what God says he will do. 

If I’m honest with myself, I struggle to believe those verses are applicable to me and my situation in right now.

But, there’s a verse that says all of his promises are true. And if God has given you a promise, you can believe it will come to pass.  Because he said so. So, we have to again choose to pass up the temptation rely on emotion, unbelief, and circumstantial evidence that God will not bring to pass his promises in our lives.

When Moses had passed, and the Israelites were about to cross into the promised land, God gave Joshua severity specific instructions.  He gave them a promise about success. He told Joshua, “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the laws my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. ” 

I don’t know about you, but some days I do not feel like a success. It’s hard to see success in the day in and day out challenges of parenting and homeschooling.  But God tells us to be strong and courageous and to follow his plan, and then we will be successful.

I’m choosing to believe that and make that our verse for our school this year! I want the kind of success God can bring!

Do you choose a verse for your school each year? Share with us.

Where the Wisdom Part Comes in…

It’s hard to struggle with the burning questions in life without really ever knowing if what you’re doing is right.  There are so many choices to make as a mom.  Stay home or work, traditional preschool or Montessori, homeschool or school, public or private, this sport or that.  Truly, how do we ever really know if we’re doing the right thing.  When a decision has to be made, and you’ve prayed, and you’ve waited, and you’ve carefully weighed each option, and still nothing clearly presents itself. How do you know?  I have obsessed over this ad nauseum. 

After reading my Proverbs 31 devotion, the two verses stood out perfectly.  See, I’ve been so anxious about making the “right” decisions, I’ve lost sight of who is in control.  This past year, to help put things in perspective, I been jotting down verses on note cards of what God WILL do.  Each time I’m anxious, worried, or filled with fear of the unknown, I can be reminded of who is in control and what He has promised to do. For me. For you.  He promised. So, when it comes right down to it, I have to decide, will I trust what He says? Yes. I will. I choose trust. We’re in His hands, he is in control. 

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share some of my collected verses with you over the next few weeks. This is the Wisdom I am privileged to receive, mediate on, and believe. I encourage you to head over Proverbs 31ministries and sign up for their daily devotions. 

When things look hopeless, grab a note card….write down your own collection of verses about what God will do, and then believe He is who He says.  You’ll be amazed. 

Isaiah 30:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears WILL hear a voice behind you, saying, β€˜This is the way; walk in it.’” (NIV)

Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I WILL answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (NIV)

(Emphasis mine.)

Let me know if this has encouraged you in some way! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Erin 

Thanks for taking a moment…

Glad you’re here.
Welcome to my tiny corner of this crazy e-world. Creating this blog has been on my heart now for a couple of years. (I’m a bit of a procrastinator.) I’ve been debating about whether I should share this journey at all, whether anyone would be interested in reading with interest in what I do share, and whether or not the crazy ideas swirling around in my head might be of some use to you in any small way… It’s my hope they will.

I humbly invite you to join my journey in the search for wisdom. Wisdom to make good decisions in many aspects of life, but mostly, wisdom to know how and where to best spend the very precious moments we’ve been so graciously provided. Wisdom, at times, has seemed elusive to me. I tend to over-analyze, over-emote, and under-estimate God’s ultimate design in my life. I tend to want to plan everything in great detail. While this has served me well in designing homes, it tends to work against me in life.
When I have the patience to wait and be still, I can start to see the many intricate ways He’s designed my so-called problems and opportunities to fit the beautiful life only He can design. That’s why I consider any direction from God to be as the verse says, “pure gold, like the best honey dripping from the honeycomb.”
Any direction from Him, even though seemingly difficult at the time, when viewed from afar, is a bit like the honeycomb–perfectly shaped and formed specially for the unique purpose for which it was designed. Designed by Wisdom.
Join me.

Readying Your Home for a New School Season

In the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a few projects about how we will be readying our home for the upcoming school year. School, for us, will start in a mere five weeks. Five weeks left for my kiddos to swim, play hooky, and daydream. Five weeks left for me to plan the upcoming year, organize new materials, purchase needed curriculum, put away last year’s work, and maybe re-do a room or two (or 3 😀). 

My oldest is now an official “tween.” And even though she has such a sweet shabby chic-style room, and I still love it, she’s ready for a more, shall we say, grown-up room. (Heart-breaking.) So, after several drawings, Pinterest searching, and Home Goods trips, she has dreamt up several excellent ideas for an updated room design. Tackling a job like this during the school year is not going to happen, so with five weeks left of summer, off we go.

Here’s what her room looks like now….

   
   
  
Steps towards room transformation:

1. Gather ideas. We gathered some ideas about what her ideal room would look like. What colors she is now drawn to, what would be timeless rather than trendy, and what style would be realistic to achieve. 

2. Set a budget. We figured out what was actually achievable in our budget and how badly she wanted a new room. Her birthday was not far away, and asking for some Target or Pottery Barn gift cards was ultimately necessary.

3. Write it down. (Correction, we’re teaching kids here right?–have them draw it out and think it through). She actually took the initiative to sketch out a floor plan complete with color choices for bedding, drapery, and pillows. After looking at the sketch (which was all white (what?!!) white walls, white comforter, white sheets, white drapes, etcetera. Awesome and disciplined design choices for such a young age, but not necessarily practical for kids who run and romp barefoot outside in the garden. So, I guided her toward some alternate color options and she finally settled on a palette of navy, white, and coral.

4. Choose pattern first. Next, we wanted to see what was available in our budget… We found sweet Euro pillows from Home Goods with a coral and navy mini print. Then, we found a patterned comforter at Target, a solid coral pillow at TJMaxx, and decided to wait for the “perfect” sheets. 

5. Pick paint. Choose paint only after knowing what else is going in the room. It’s much too hard to match bedding or rugs after the fact. So, we settled on the stock white (whiter-than-white paint from Sherwin Williams.)

6. Do the work. This is most often the most challenging part. It often involves wall-prep, cleaning, re-organizing, moving furniture, and my most dreaded task–rehanging wall decor.

7. Put it all together. Conversely, this is the best part! Now we get to enjoy all of the hard work and planning that went into creating our new and beautiful space! 

We learned so many wonderful lessons in this task! Learning to stay on budget, using what we have, combining colors, mixing fabrics, and preparing a space intentionally. (I hope she likes it for many years to come!!)
I hope these simple steps will help you refresh your rooms this summer while you have a few more “free” moments.  

Happy Decorating!