Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Dixie Belle Homeschool Room Makeover!

Welcome to my homeschool room...The room which has been a true labor of love, more than any other room I've ever "created."

Before you read any further, you must know that I'm a total newbie when it comes to chalk painting furniture. 

We bought our home in May, based on this one room. It has beautiful French doors which lead into the backyard. When I saw this "bonus room" I instantly envisioned teaching my own children and having them take turns playing outside as the other learns. And then my imagination took me to the years after our homeschooling journey ends, and how this would be a homework room and a room in which they could continue to learn and do art and lay on the couch and read. This would also be my office in which I help my hubby's insurance business or if I go back to teaching (my previous career) in some capacity (perhaps as a homeschool teacher of parents).

A room full of dreams carries such high expectations on my part, and it has taken four months thus far in its creation.

As I tell you the "homeschool room makeover story" you will see exactly why it was a labor of love.

This is how it started--with dirty dressers that I had bought used, and my grandmother's desk that was built by her father many, many years ago. (And with an adorably hammy standard poodle named Jack). 

I gathered my Dixie Belle products in great anticipation, hoping to create a sun and sand getaway. Dixie Belle had sent me the most beautiful colors based on this poster.

I was drawn to Dixie Belle products when I read that I didn't need to do much prep at all. The directions for using this chalk mineral paint product is to simply paint. In many cases, no primer is needed as well as no finishing product.

In this case, I did need to cover up the marker and pen which graced the dressers. This marker and pen was the reason why I got these dressers at such an incredible price!

I felt that I needed to sand it because there were indentations from the pen marks. The kids were thrilled to help!

Hubby was "thrilled" to help too. Well, maybe not as much as the kids, but he knew the dreams I had for this room and wanted to see them come true.

I then used Dixie Belle's White Lightening Cleaner because the dressers were incredibly dirty. Dixie Belle's new product, Boss (Blocks Odors, Stains, Stops Bleed Through) was the last step of our prep work, and this is what covered over the marker and pen and most importantly, the stain that was already on the dresser. (Remember this part, as it will come up later...)

The products are safe to use with children, so I let them have at it.

They painted for a few days alongside my hubby and I. And before I continue, I need to mention this utterly important part of the story. Please forgive the grossness factor. About a month prior, I had begun passing a very painful kidney stone. Well, technically it wasn't passing. I'm quite used to this happening, so I moved homes and then began this project and painted through the pain. Doesn't that sound like so much fun?? I mean, who wouldn't take on a makeover project with a kidney stone??

We used Dixie Belle's most popular color, which is Drop Cloth,  I believe. It is an off-white that is the perfect amount of white and not too bright.  

After we painted, (and I pained...eek!) I decided that I wanted to distress the dressers. I've always loved shabby chic...

Except that it turns out that apparently I don't always love shabby chic, therefore I repainted it. Oops.

But the (almost) end product was beautiful, without a doubt.

And then I had to have my kidney stone surgically removed, with a hospital stay and a contraption in my kidney for two weeks which I care to never speak of again, and then an ER visit due to a kidney infection from said contraption.

I then decided it was time to paint my grandmother's desk. I mean, who wouldn't want to do this during this craziness??

So I picked up some adorable knobs that I knew my grandmother would have loved. These knobs truly called to me. The paint was Dixie Belle's The Gulf. A perfect beachy color.

After having had painted the dressers using a sponge from Dixie Belle primarily, I decided to "dry brush" the desk, which really meant that I dipped the brush in a small amount of water and did very light layers of paint. I purposely left parts of the desk showing because I wanted to remember what the desk that my great-grandfather had painted for my grandmother looked like and I wanted to remember them whenever I looked at it.

Isn't it beautiful? I used Dixie Belle's wax to bring it a bit of shine and something happened...I noticed the beachy blue was turning yellow green immediately, and that is when I learned that stained pieces need to be primed ahead of time or else the stain will come through. (See, I told you I was a total newbie). Commence freak out. Surprisingly, all was not lost. It actually turned it patina-like in some parts which I just loved. I could have used Dixie Belle's Satin Coat or Gator Hide on it to start again...but I actually loved the look. I distressed the desk and it's stunning.

I was going to stop at that, but that would obviously be too easy, right?

The dressers needed to tie into the desk somehow and I wanted a pop of color...

Our round table was next up on the makeover block and this project was the easiest. This table was not stained so there was no priming that I had to do. I simply brushed on Dixie Belle's Sand Bar. I distressed it by sanding to let the old white show through and then I applied Gator Hide to the top because this is where my children do their school work and art projects, and it needed to be durable. I did the Satin Finish on the bottom. It is so beautiful. The Gator Hide finish is just so smooth and soft.

And now (drum roll please), I present you with my just about finished homeschool room. 

The before again: 

And the after:

Because I'm a perfectionist, I want to paint the bookshelves but I know that at this point, it's time to just enjoy the room. I want to rip out the carpet and put down tile and change out the rainbow drawers. But... We've had to switch the charter that we homeschool through and are trying to make friends in our new town and find where we belong in this new place with our new homeschool room. It's been a hard few months due to our move and getting situated and the kidney stone and said contraption which was never to be mentioned again. The room was a glimmer of hope. It was a true labor of love and I cannot wait to make memories this year and beyond, as my children grow up here.

Thank you, Dixie Belle, for providing me with the beautiful tools which turned my drab bonus room into a darling homeschool/homework/working/relaxation room for many years to come. 

Dixie Belle paint was extremely easy to work with, fun, and gives drab furniture new life! It glided on like smooth butter and I'm itching to makeover my large living room mirror. I will certainly continue to be a lover of their products.

Dixie Belle provided me with the paint and painting materials, but this review is my true and honest opinion of their wonderful products.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

It Makes Sense that Our Last Mother Goose Time Box is about Superheroes

We opened our last Mother Goose Time Box. I'm sad.

It's appropriate that the theme for this box is Superheroes. MGT has been my superhero for two years now. (Was that a bit cheesy?? It's true.) 

We jumped to the Reuse day because I saw wax sticks in the bag and saw that the art lesson was about upcycling and I had to do it.

*But first we took out the manipulatives for the month and explored. They are letter magnets and magnetic sticks.

And I looked at the CD for the month and felt sad.

We talked about recycling and upcycling and why it's so good and necessary to do those things. We connected it to their own real life experience when we discussed how I love to upcycle things such as my grandmother's desk. 

We talked about upcycled art and how beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I passed out the wax sticks and cups and glue and had them start their upcycled art.

Meanwhile, I looked down at the desk and thought about how I was going to miss THIS. All of this beautiful curriculum and art materials strewn across our table. What precious memories we've made like this. 

They began to create. 

The child who doesn't tend to do art for more than five minutes created for a long time (Strong B) and the child who is usually so even-keeled was tired and a little frustrated (Tiny B). It's good to be frustrated sometimes. 

Tiny B said, "But his art is going to be more beautiful than mine." So we talked about that and came up with examples of how I think some things are beautiful, such as the desert, and some people don't think the desert is beautiful. 

Strong B's wax sticks didn't hold as well as he'd like. So he went on to tracing shapes with the sticks. Tiny B used his leftover sticks to change her upcycled art. 

I asked them what they learned from this lesson. Tiny B learned that "all art is not perfect" and Strong B said that "people see art different." I love this.

And I give you "Glow in the Dark Lipstick Crab!"

I made sure to bring it to her attention that she was initially so frustrated with this project, but that she persevered and made a beautiful creation. And Strong B did too.

*I  receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.

Oh, How I'll Miss This...

I've prayed about this for a few months now, and even though I didn't get an immediate answer, God did answer my prayer. 

I have a homeschool mommy friend whom I admire very much. Every school year she prays about how to teach her children for that particular year, and she follows through with God's answer. It seems that some years she puts them in a two-day hybrid homeschool program, such as we did last year, and some years she takes a different homeschool path. I have made a promise to myself and to God, that I would do the same thing. I realize that what I've chosen at this point in our lives--homeschooling--is a bit radical and "weird" to some, but it's clearly what God has called me to do right now. 

I never would have guessed that I'd spend so many years in college and the teacher credentialing program, and having my own classrooms, and then choose to stay home and teach my own class of two, and not get paid one single cent. I can't explain it here in this blog, as my reasons are entirely too difficult to put into print. My longing to homeschool comes from the tender life of my seven year-old who just got her feeding tube removed a year ago, and the fact that I can't let her out of my grasp. And when I see my now five year-old son, I want to hold him tightly and protect him as only I can. It's hard to put into words. I can say this: This is what I'm meant to do at this point in time, and until God tells me to stop, I will continue.

I will always speak highly of the public school system and traditional classrooms to them, as that is my background and where my teaching beginnings were, and they might very well go back there someday, and they know this.

We moved and I've chosen to once again do a two day charter hybrid homeschool. They will attend two days in a classroom, where their work is highly individualized for them, and I'll teach them for three days at home. It's a mixture that I like. However, if God tells me to put them into a typical classroom I will, just like I'll fully homeschool them if that is for the best. 

Tiny B will be going into first grade (wowzers!) and Strong B will be in other TK or Kindergarten (I'll decide next week) and I will be given the curriculum that the school has decided upon. Mother Goose Time has brought me through the last two years of tube-weaning and homeschooling and will always hold a very special place in my heart, but it is time to move on. And I suppose that Mother Goose Time would want this, as they are a preschool curriculum company who wants children to learn and grow.

I'm not ready to completely say goodbye, as I might still order a box from time to time, and I've organized my boxes with the MGT that we haven't used yet. So, there's still time...

I will miss Strong B wanting to do an art project and already having the materials on hand. I am not the most creative teacher regarding art projects. It's been amazing to have all of the materials ready and put into a tidy bag!

Two days ago he wanted to build a boat.

So I took out the Alphabet Island box which we are still working on, and opened that bag full of magic, and they started creating. 

Tiny B, who is now a reader, read the nursery rhyme, and Strong B created. 

His little pictures make me want to squeeze him. They're that cute. 

Tiny B couldn't resist the Make and Play project, and soon she was putting the finishing touches on her boat. 

In my next two posts I'll be finishing up with Mother Goose Time and sharing just how much this beautiful curriculum has impacted our journey.

*I  receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for sharing of our experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.

Developmental Stages and Angry Game Playing

I am not a competitive person. At all. I compete against myself and am always trying to better myself but when it comes to competing against others, I shy away from it. This is probably why I'm so boring to play games with! My kids on the other hand...They got an incredible competitive spirit, which obviously comes from my dear hubby. 

A few weeks ago we took out our Build a Castle Game from Mother Goose Time with high hopes of learning, building, and sharing sibling love (ha ha!). Needless to say, two of the three expectations did come to fruition, but sibling love was nowhere to be found!

*On a side note, there was poodle love. There is always poodle love when Jack the Standard Poodle is involved.


We went over the goals and rules of the game. I wish I had laid out expectations for behavior. Thank goodness this isn't the last game we'll play!

They both built their castles differently. Different building techniques but equally intent on building the biggest castle. 



I did manage to get them to work together at times.

There are many pictures I could have taken of them crying or rolling on the floor in fetal position but I've made a promise to myself to only put pictures in this blog that would make them happy.

I know it's completely against an education-based blog to say where I went wrong, but here goes:

-I really should have laid out my expectations ahead of time!
-We truly need to work on building each other up and good sportsmanship. I need to show them good examples of this. They are such good kids and their behavior is truly so, so sweet, that I have full confidence that they can be good and fun game-players.
-I should have changed the game midway (as soon as I couldn't get the bickering under control)  to them going toward making a big castle together. 

Truly, this is just the age where they learn how to compete in a kind way. My boy just turned five, and that is just the beginning of being able to understand this. I'm so thankful for opportunities to practice our sportsmanship skills on all of these Mother Goose Time games. 


*I receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for sharing of our experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.