Category Archives: Ms. Dimples

Middle Girl’s Room Makeover

Decorating a room to incorporate the likes, favorite color, toys, and personalities  of four girls ranging in age from four to ten is no easy feat, but I think I got!

The previous residents attempted a “tuscany” feel to several areas of the downstairs by using the stucco method and somewhat painting it with earthy colors.  The white you see is where there is no paint.  They didn’t quite hit the nail on the head.

I chose to cover up the orange flat paint with a very warm and soothing green eggshell.   Green is a color that is the common thread in each of the girls’ quilts.

It took me an entire afternoon to paint this large room.  What seemed to take up the biggest amount of time was moving all of the furniture and toys out of the way.  *grin*

I am still toying with the idea of building a shelf around the pole seen in the picture.  I found an example on Pinterest I really like.

Now we are ready to purge, build, and decorate!

Mark exceeded my expectations building bases for each of the girls’ bed frames.  After hanging the curtains and putting their beds together, I hung their name signs over each of their beds.  I want to sew a couple of throw pillows for each of the girls in their favorite colors to match their name signs and quilts.  That will happen as I find the material I am looking for on clearance.

Here is a view of the kitchen play area I created, as well as little Layla’s (4) bed.  She is not yet big enough for a twin sized mattress.

I created the “EAT” and “Say Grace” signs out of a couple of scraps of wood and some extra ribbon from my craft tub.  The chalkboard menu lists the specials of the day.  You can also see the footprint butterflies we made with each of the girls.

I gave away most of our plastic toy bins and containers and opted for this shelf and matching baskets.   I put a lot of time into searching and finding the right containers for the girls to organize their toys in.  I could spend a WHOLE LOT of money to buy bins that look good and will stand the test of time or something cute but cheap enough not to get all worked up about if it was torn up.  Considering I don’t have $300.00 to spend on the first option, I chose to go with cute and not heartbreaking if they didn’t last too long.  These baskets were less than $5 each at Old Time Pottery, and after almost three months… not one has been torn up or even nicked!  Booyah!

When Mark finally brought home the pallets I have been whining longing for, I made each of the girls a little place of their own to display their masterpieces.

In the corner opposite of their little cafe spot I created a place for their dollhouses and put some books on the wall.  I am keeping my oh so frugal eyes open for a chair or two to put here so they can snuggle up and read their books.

While I may have the bulk of their makeover completed, I have a few projects left up my sleeve.  I am on the hunt for little bedside tables to set next to each of their beds.

I am also looking for a great rug to put in the middle of the room.  It has to be an incredible price and incorporate the colors of the room:  green, blue, pink, brown, orange, and yellow.  I am sure the perfect rug is out there…somewhere.

Finally, I am going to paint one of their doors with chalkboard paint to give them a spot to let their inner Picasso and Van Gogh out.

Granted, it took me about 4 months to get their room to this state of completion, but I have done it all for less than $100.00.  Thank you Pinterest for so much frugal inspiration!!

All for the glory of God,

~Rhen

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For the Love of Strawberries

We are a family who loves fresh fruits and veggies, so when the opportunity came to pick strawberries, we loaded up the van and headed to the strawberry fields!

I thoroughly enjoyed our little adventure.   It was a great morning that rolled  science lessons, math lessons, a field trip, a buffet, and a fun time all in to one.

We divided the girls into teams of one Big, one Middle, and one Little with a basket and a goal.  The boys grabbed a basket and headed off with manly swagger to fill theirs faster than their sisters.    It is always a race.  Whatever it is, it is always a race!

They worked hard, but enjoyed every moment of it.  My job was to run the filled baskets up to the “office” and grab an empty one for them to fill.

In the picture above, you can see my boys (Israel -2, and Noah -14) roaming the fields eating and picking.   I am not sure if any of the strawberries that made it into Israel’s hands were ever put into the baskets.

The strawberries were so ripe, juicy, and sweet.

At the top of the fields stood an old shack whose front porch served as the “office”.  It fit perfectly with the couple who handed out baskets and took payment.

We took our bounty of eight overly full gallon baskets home to process.  The little trick of using a straw to core each berry worked beautifully.   Simply use a clean straw to poke through the berry from the bottom up towards the stem.  It will core it and pop the top off with ease.

We put all of the tops, cores, and trimmings to the side and fed them to the chickens.  They were delighted with their treat!  Oh, the happy squawking!

I dried 5 trays of strawberries in my dehydrator.  The chips will be used in our homemade energy bars.  They add nice crunch and flavor.

I cut up and froze a large portion of the strawberries to use in cobblers, smoothies, pies, and homemade ice cream this summer.

 I also attempted to oven dry strawberries as seen in this pin on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/pin/102527328989401617/).   It did not work well at all.  The berries never dried as described and were far too moist to can in jars or bags.  Mold would have spoiled them quickly.  It is too bad it didn’t work.  If you try to oven dry them (not dehydrate them into chips), and it actually works, let me know what you did!    I am still intrigued by the idea.

With our strawberry harvest such a success, I am now looking toward our next fruit-filled adventure at the end of the month when we head out to pick peaches!

Do you enjoy getting out to the farms and being a part of the harvesting?

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen 

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Tough Start, Nice Finish

Have you ever experienced those days where you look at the clock, realize it is 2:30 in the afternoon, and try to form a list of accomplishments that includes more than eating breakfast (a cup of coffee counts), brushing your hair (with your fingers works just fine), and you haven’t lost any kids?

Yeah, my week started out that way.  Two steps forward and five steps back seemed  the motto for Monday and Tuesday.  Ugh!

A few highlights {insert sarcasm here}:

  • It is heartbreaking finding Layla’s (3) cute, little, blonde curls on the ground.  Grrrr.
  • Misplacing the key to the filing cabinet where our school supplies  and completed work that awaits being checked are stored is not a good thing.
  • A toddler (Israel- 21 months) who is suddenly extraordinarily clingy makes multi-tasking almost impossible.
  • Over-sleeping just ONE morning results in being behind the eight ball all day, and that, for some aggravating reason, tries to continue into the next day or two.
  • The joy of discovering that Susannah (5), in her attempt to “clean” her room, crammed a globe slam-full of her clothing and toys.  A globe!!  Yes, she shoved the earth full of junk.

After what felt like banging my head against the wall Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I decided it was time for a do-over.  Sometimes, we moms just have to clear our minds and to-do lists and start fresh.

Forget the days that were not productive, and drop the to-do’s that didn’t get completed.  That means it is time to create a two-day week out of Thursday and Friday, and use those two days to accomplish a new to-do list and new goals that will realistically fit in a 48 hour period.

Just a adding a little cuteness to this post with a sweet shot of my clingy Israel (21 months). How can I say “No” to that little face?

What does my new two-day check list look like?

  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away 4-6 loads of laundry (not too bad!)
  • Tackle a couple of lessons in Math and a couple in English.
  • Don’t scrimp on the Bible study or prayer time!
  • Include our favorite subjects- science (with Apologia, of course), geography, and history.
  • Tackle vocabulary and spelling next week.
  • Find something arsty to express ourselves artistically and let the creativity flow!
  • Think of a couple of cute and creative ways to style Layla’s hair in an attempt to make the gaps not quite so apparent.
  • Finish putting together soap orders.  (This one is very therapeutic for me!)
  • Spend some much needed wind-down time with Hubs.

By the time this evening (Friday) wraps up, this list will be checked-off, and I will be snuggling with Mark while the kids play a game of Monopoly, read a book, and/or play with the puppies.

This week may have started off on the rough side, but through a readjustment of my goals and my attitude, it is finishing very nicely.

How has your week been?  Was it like mine, or did you accomplish enough to put you ahead next week?  *grin*

God bless,

~Rhen

Linked up with Raising Homemakers!

Ahhhh, the smell of an apple orchard in the fall.

What screams homeschooling in the fall better than a field trip to an apple orchard?  Nothing, I tell you, nothing!  *Warning*  I have lots of pictures to share!

Aren’t the Arkansas Black apples beautiful?  They become almost black with a hint of deep red when they are ready to be eaten and enjoyed.

Our fantastically fall field trip (say that five times fast) took us to Mountain View Orchards where we were warmly greeted by a father/ son team.  They were extremely knowledgable, very capable in sharing that information with kids of a wide variety of ages, and they were wonderfully generous with their apples and their time.

Did I mention they were brave?  They let us loose on their apple orchard!  *grin*  Well, actually, the kids were well behaved.  The adults, on the other hand… just kidding.  We had a great time!

It is not always easy to find a field trip that will appeal to Littles, Middles, and Bigs.  Sometimes, if the field trip is fitting for the older kids, then the information  that is being shared is over the heads of the Littles.

Then there are times that whatever adventure we are on fits the younger children, but it is completely boring for the older ones.  Not so with an apple orchard!  Be still my homeschooling heart!

The bouncing bumpy tractor ride back to area of the orchard where we picked wasn’t too long and gave the kids an opportunity to plan their apple-picking strategies with their friends.

The question/ answer period gave a lot of new information and knowledge to our older children, yet wasn’t so long that our Littles grew restless.  The time and energy we spent picking and enjoying the apple orchard took just long enough for the bigger kids to get hands-on with some of their new knowledge, but it didn’t tire the Littles out to the point of whininess.  *love*

The children were paired up, I prefer to pair a bigger kid or two with a little one, and given a box to fill with apples.  That day we filled multiple boxes with Golden Delicious, that is, whatever apples the children didn’t eat while picking.  I told you, the father/ son team was generous!

My favorite shot of the day?  This one.

This is Renee’s sweet, sweet friend, Arianna, as she toted Israel’s not-so-light tush around the apple orchard.  My little man had an apple in each hand.  He would take a bite of one apple and then switch his attention to the second one.  He consumed every bit of both apples.

We even brought in grandparent reinforcements for those apples that were way up there in the trees.  Reach!

Everyone, wave to Paige and her sweet little guy, Gabriel.  Israel and Gabriel hang out together every Sunday at church.  The cuteness is almost unbearable.

Our bounty from the day was enough to fill my counter and keep me busy canning, dehydrating, and freezing fruit for days!

There was much making of pear sauce and Foo.  Emily Grace was my right hand girl.

Our pantry has added many quarts of pear sauce, 6 pints of Foo, and 6 quarts of dehydrated apples.  These will be yummy and a reminder of warm weather and the sweet smell of the apple orchard when we are in the midst of winter.

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I shared with you earlier this week that our family’s schedule is becoming a little overfilled and things will be a little crazier than usual.  In addition to my fill sensor going on out my washing machine (which means no washer for about 3 days), we are moving!  We have been extraordinarily blessed to have found a different house to rent for the time being.  There will be more details and pictures coming soon.  Until then, I am up to my eyeballs with packing and cleaning and preparing to move in a week and a half.  Wow!

It is a good thing we school year round and are so far ahead.  Taking a couple of weeks off to get moved isn’t a big deal at all.   Getting a family of ten packed and ready in about ten days, that, my friends, is a big deal.  Pray for me!  *wink*

God bless,

~Rhen

You Capture! ~Play~

With a house full of Littles, Middles, and TWO new puppies, there is a whole lotta play going on in here!

We are working diligently to make sure our Little Man, Israel, knows his way around a kitchen!  One day, his future bride will thank me for this.  *wink*

One of the many pleasures of homeschooling is the ability to get the kids outside periodically to stretch their legs and have a little fun before hitting the books again.

There is nothing quite like the sweet giggles from Israel and Susannah as she chases him in his swing.  Every time she would almost “catch” him, he would swing out of reach and she would have to chase him back the other way.

There are rare moments in the day when one of the children isn’t playing with our newest furry family members, Ezekiel and Judah.  I am ever so grateful that when they feel like chewing on something, they chew on each other.  They will stalk and romp and play as the kids watch with delight on their faces.

Noah takes great care to ensure the puppies are tired out and completely ready for nap time.

It does this Momma’s heart well to watch as the children play, catch butterflies, and enjoy their time together outside.  Sometimes I wish I could freeze these moments and keep them in my pocket.

God bless,

~Rhen

Why not join up and check out the other links to I Should Be Folding Laundry’s weekly photo challenge, You Capture!.

Fun Balloon Inspired Name Sign

It has gotten more and more difficult to come up with something different for each of our eight children’s name sign.  I have now made it through seven of the eight!  Just so you know, I have no idea AT ALL what I am going to do for number eight.  Then again, he is only 18 months old and still really coming into his personality.  I hope I get inspired before his birthday!

Layla, age 3, is our bubbly, grinning, laughing, and silly one.  How do you create a name sign that shows that?  Balloons!

For this project you need:

  • the appropriate letters for the name (purchased from Hobby Lobby at 50% off.)
  • acrylic paint (already had this in our arts and crafts supplies)
  • paint brush (also already in our arts and crafts supplies)
  • 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide ribbon (purchased at Hobby Lobby for 50% off)
  • clear spray sealant ($5.99 at Hobby Lobby)
  • glue gun

I chose to paint each of the letters of her name a different color to match the tie blanket I made her for her birthday.  Doing this really makes the “balloon” aspect of the name sign pop!

Two coats of paint and a two coats of sealant and the letters are ready to add the ribbon to.

I used a black, 1/2″ wide ribbon and tied a small bow to be the bottom of the ballon, and I cut a 3 foot long piece to be the string.  I hot glued the string to the back of each letter and the bow to the bottom of each letter.

Before you hang the letters on the wall, I want to pass on a little tip.  If you add a bead of hot glue to the bottom of each letter on the back side, it will keep the letter from moving around on the wall when doors are closed too hard.  It really helps to keep the letters properly angled!

I used the toothpaste trick to hang the letters.  I applied a small dot of toothpaste above each nail hole on the back of the letters.  When I gently touched each letter to the wall,  a spot of toothpaste marked the place for the nail.  After I drove the nails in, I wiped the toothpaste off of the wall and the back of the letters.

Once I had hung each letter, I gathered the strings together to complete the balloon look.

I want to share another little tip for keeping the letters and strings in place.  First, once you have gathered the strings together, use a small ponytail holder to keep the strings from pulling away.

I used a small nail at the point where all of the strings are gathered to keep it all held in place.  Finally, I used a small piece of the ribbon and tied it around the gathered spot.  Ta-dah!

I am already thinking of making two small changes.  Okay, maybe they are really medium changes.  *grin*

I am considering changing the ribbon to a white one, and I am also considering changing the coloring of the pink “L” to a darker, brighter shade to better match her blanket.

Here is  a photo of her blanket:

I am thinking that the white ribbon for the little bows and strings would be less stark than the black.  Also, while there is some light pink in the blanket, the letter just doesn’t seem to match as well as the other letter colors.

If I make these changes, I will update this post so that you can see the differences.

To see the other name signs, just click the following links:  Renee and Noah, Emily Grace, Hannah, Olivia, and Susannah.

They make such great personalized gifts!  If you create a name sign of your own, I encourage you to leave a link here in the comments for me as well as for other readers.  You just may inspire someone with exactly what they are looking for!

God bless,

~Rhen

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You Capture! ~Summer~

I adore summer.  I am a hot weather girl.  With my hair pulled up on top of my head, my sunglasses on, a pair of sandals with oh-so-cute painted toe nails, and a pair of shorts, I am ready to soak up the sun!

One of the our favorite things to do is lie on our backs and watch the clouds as they drift by.   I just listen to the Littles and the Middles talk about the shapes and animals they see.  They are a never-ending source of entertainment.

I see a little hippo in this one.

In this one, I see a little crab (middle, left)

The summer storms that blow up in the afternoons are a welcome site around here.  Mark and I enjoy sitting on the porch and watching as the storms rolls through and the lightning dances!

Hands down, the favorite summer fruit in our home is watermelon.

Apparently, it takes great concentration to properly eat and fully enjoy a sweet slice.

This is Israel’s first watermelon.  It was love after just one bite.  Don’t even think about taking it from him!

What shapes did you see in the clouds?

All for God’s glory,

~Rhen

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