Sunday, July 21, 2013

the school stuff

new school supply caddy, a cutlery caddy from Target
I've been planning and organizing our school stuff the last few days and have said a few things about it on Facebook.  A friend asked to see how I had everything organized after I got it in shape.  So, here you go!

The vast majority of our school stuff lives in the enormous 5x5 Ikea Expedit.  I passionately love this thing.  I'll talk you through its contents row-by-row in a moment.  To the left of the Expedit is our current picture study. This summer we're studying local artist George Rodrigue, so we have some Blue Dog on the wall.  We change pictures every couple of weeks.  Underneath that, on the floor, is the basket of library books that is almost always overflowing.  I've got a small sling bookshelf on the way to better control the massive weekly library influx, so that will go in that space when it gets here.  To the right is a small bulletin board that holds recent art projects for display, and a 100 chart with some pails for hundreds, tens, and ones for us to work on place value. We almost never remember to use it, though. I either need to get consistent with that or take it down! 
On the top row, I keep things that are for mama only.  First cube has Five in a Row manuals and future books, and a bin with resources for picture, nature, composer, and geography study (our Charlotte Mason-y stuff).    Second and third cubes have readers and a few "occasional use" workbooks, things that I don't assign daily or even particularly often, but still hold some interest (Lollipop Logic, a Kumon cutting book, and a sequencing book from the dollar store).  The fourth cube has reference books like The Well Trained Mind, The Read Aloud Handbook, some Charlotte Mason books, etc.  The fifth cube has the kids' binders of finished work.  Those are still in need of a purging and re-labeling for the new school year.  

I'm pretty enamored with my "chalkboard" vinyl labels on my bins, too!
The second row holds most of the stuff we use day in and day out.  First cube is current workbooks (Handwriting Without Tears and Singapore Essential Math), plus small dry erase boards, clipboards, and my planner (pink binder).  Last year I had current workbooks in a portable file box sort of like this, but I decided to use cute magazine files from the Target $1 section this year.  I might end up changing that back, as it was pretty darn convenient to grab that file box and move it to the table and have all the workbooks right there.  It was also nice to be able to grab the box for school-on-the-go at the library or wherever.  So, we'll see about that. Second cube has reading materials for the twins (Happy Phonics games and Phonics Pathways).   The third box has a three-tiered tray thing for finished work (one tray per kid).  The last two cubes have handwriting manipulatives (sandpaper letters, Handwriting Without Tears stuff, and salt boxes).

The middle row has things that kids need regular access to. First cube holds our supply caddy.  The second and third cubes hold some frequent use math manipulatives.  The fourth cube has a 3-hole punch and a bin with phonics readers that have already been covered and are now available for free-reading.  The last cube has stacking trays with construction paper.

The entire fourth fourth row holds kids' books.  The baskets hold paperback books and the three cubes in the middle hold hardcover books.  Besides the paperback/hardback split, I don't impose any other organizational system on kids' books.  Chapter books and grown-up books live on bookshelves in the TV room.

The bottom row has Target Itso fabric bins for storage of things I'm not using right now or don't want kids rifling through (out of sight, out of mind!).  These are things like spare school supplies bought at back-to-school sales, the spelling curriculum a friend handed down that we're not ready for yet, paper (card stock, copy paper, handwriting paper, notebook paper) and such like that.

On the other side of the room, we have the orange dresser o' junk.  Not really junk, just less used school stuff.  There are more math manipulatives (geoboards, inchimals, play money, unifix cubes, pattern blocks), sentence strips, flashcards of various sorts, some busy bag sorts of activities, and who knows what else?!  The white cabinet holds mostly my yarn and knit/crochet things.  There is some kid paint in the top, but most of the kid art supplies are in the hall closet.  The baskets in the middle of the white cabinet have current yarn projects and kid bible resources (story bibles, bible coloring books, etc).

Our We Choose Virtues cards and poster are on the pantry doors.

Our memory box (for bible verses, poetry, whatever we're memorizing) is on the basket drawer thing under the bar that holds napkins and such.  We review our We Choose Virtues and our memory box during breakfast, so those things live in the kitchen.

The last school-y thing I have is my map, mounted on a large piece of foam core poster board and hung with Command picture hanging strips.  My USA map is mounted on the flip side, so when we need it, we just pop the map off the wall and turn it around.  Works well!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

NICU day 2013

Hazel and I delivered our annual NICU knit/crocheted hat stash today, only a month late. This year, NICU day was a comedy of errors.  Every other year, we've taken hats ON the anniversary of her discharge from NICU, which is June 22, but this year, we had the big flood on June 21, which made the 22nd about the craziest day this family had seen in a long time.

We postponed it for the next weekend, but ended up with sick kids.  Same story the week after that. Finally, today, we got a good opportunity, but I forgot to take pictures.  Oh well.  We did have fun, it just wasn't well documented.

We took hats to the NICU nurses at our local hospital.  We don't actually get to go into NICU, but we got to peek through the window of the regular newborn nursery at some cute little squishes.  Afterward we went to Starbucks for cake pops and then stopped in the library.  Good outing.  Hazel also drew a picture to deliver with the hats this year, which was fun.  I enjoy seeing her take some ownership of this annual celebration of her homecoming!

This year's stash:

My favorites were the rainbows. Hazel said hers was the pink butterfly (bottom row, 2nd from right).  

Not our largest gifting, but it still exceeded my basic goal, which is 10 hats for Hazel's 10 days in  NICU + 2 more for Jono's 2 days.  I ran out of time to do some football beanies this year.  We'll have to make sure we get some of those in next year.

Friday, July 19, 2013

summer 2013, so far

After a few moments with a genius at the Apple store tonight, iphoto is happy again and I was able to get pics off of my phone to blog! Here's a summer update, so far.

Three kids have been doing two evenings a week at swim school and are improving by leaps and bounds! 
Some kids turned FIVE! 
Someone else turned SIX!
We celebrated with a yummy daddy-made cake and a weekend at Jellystone.
Someone got her braces off. (Less than flattering photo taken by the six year old.)
The mud room and TV room got flooded by a hot water heater leak...
resulting in several very noisy days with industrial fans and dehumidifiers to dry everything out...
and the removal of all the laminate flooring and some small sections of sheet rock.  
Repairs to walls, painting, and new floors should go in next week.  I'll post a finished picture, I promise. 

Someone is thoroughly unable to eat corn-on-the-cob due to lack of teeth.
We had a super cute family photo taken at a rainy Zephyrs game.
On the other hand, things that have not been happening this summer include NICU day and crafting in general.  

Hazel's NICU day landed on the Saturday after the Friday flood of the front rooms.  Things were too insane for us to go.  Then we had a long spell of random tummy bugs that kept us from rescheduling it.  We're trying again tomorrow.  Hopefully I'll have an update about that soon.  Better late than never, right?  

My craft supply closet got wet in the flood, so sewing is impossible until things are put back in place and fabric and machines are out of boxes.  Knitting doesn't appeal as much when it's hot, either, so this summer has been craft-light.  I've got a little cross-stitch project going for when my fingers get itchy, but that's really it!  

I've been spending lots of time hashing out our school plans for kindergarten and first grade in the fall, so I'll update about that sometime soon, too.  

Thanks for catching up with us!