daisymuse

My life's goal was to be a stay-at-home mommy. That dream was realized when my youngest was born, and I have been homeschooling my three girls 14 years since. With only one left now to graduate, I see light at the end of the tunnel, but I'd do it all over again! Check out thedaisymuse.com for more of my "Top Tens" and some yummy recipes.

A new little space

 Posted by on March 27, 2014  No Responses »
Mar 272014
 

This month I thought I’d share a simple project recently completed at our house.

Our house is a good size, and with only three children, there was enough room when we moved in for everyone to have their own room.  (Except me and hubby, we like to share, but when one of the kids moves out, I’m going to make her room into a pink, “Shabby Chic” reading and napping room just for me and any future granddaughters.  Shh!  Don’t tell!)

A New Little Space www.habitsforahappyhome.com

Anyway, the girls were 12, 10, and 6 when we moved in, and we let them choose their rooms. Each chose a different one based on her personality.  Youngest chose the largest room, which was good, because she had lots of toys.  Our middle girl chose the room with slanted ceilings that was the most old-fashioned looking, one that one of the heroines from her many books would live in.  Our eldest chose the sunny room at the top of the opposite side of the stairs…  the whole south side of the upstairs is her room.  It looks like a little attic and was technically called a “bonus room.” If you know real estate, you know that means it has no closet. For years, we dealt with this issue by having her share a closet with hubby and I (the other girls’ closets were too small to share) for her “hang ups” and shoving the rest of her clothing into her dresser, storing off-season clothes under the bed.

She also had two beds in her room, which was convenient for having friends or little sisters spend the night, but took up a lot more space in the tiny room, leaving her no room for bookshelves, which she desperately needed.  I don’t have many pictures of her room, and I forgot to take a before picture. I just wish you could see the books stacked on the floor!  We even painted it aqua and added those neat, peel and stick dots… but no closet rendered it just not “done.”

Our sweet eldest went off to college over two years ago.  Even though she spends more time away from home that at home now, we wanted her to feel like we cared about her personal space, and that she is special to us.  We finally found a way to fix it up that would work without calling in a contractor or spending a large amount of money.  (Pinterest helped.)

Here’s what we did:

new little space www.habitsforahappyhome.com

As you can see, we used one of the popular “expedit” bookshelves from IKEA.  (Hate to say it, but they were being discontinued. There are other, similar bookshelves in that line.)  Hubby anchored it to the wall and purchased a closet rod from Home Depot and a little hardware to go with that.  The whole project cost less than $75. (If you wanted to be even more frugal, you could find a bookshelf at a yard sale or thrift store.) Now her clothes AND books have a home, and I can’t wait for her to see it.  (The shoe rack on the bottom is also from IKEA.  I love the simplicity of their designs.)

I am keeping all the hangers the same color to add to the simplicity and for color continuity (can you tell I love to read Better Homes and Gardens?!).  Hubby thought of putting a curtain across the front, but I like the look of openness, and if you peruse any of IKEA’s catalogs, you can see many designers like it, also.  But the main point is that WE like it, and I think our daughter will, too.  Better late than never!

I’m so glad she chooses to come home for Spring Break, and that this little treat awaits our girl.  We love her so!

Feb 042014
 

Recently, my husband and I were having a date at a large bookstore, reading and drinking coffee together, and I came across this book.  I have not read the whole book, but skimmed through it and liked what I saw.  In it, author Michelle Singletary talks of taking a 21-day fast from spending any money unnecessarily.

Top Ten Fun Things to Do Without Spending Money www.habitsforahappyhome.com I shared the idea with my husband, and we decided to begin immediately (good thing we had already purchased a slice of cheesecake to split!).  Now we’re on day 9.  Here are a few things that have come up and had to be decided:  Food is necessary; eating out is not.  A new pair of jeans for a growing teenager is necessary; a new sweater for mom (who has several) is not.  A new sheet to replace our torn one is necessary; new lamps for our bedroom are not (phooey).  There are other facets to Michelle’s plan, but we’re just doing the Financial Fast for now.  It’s going to show us, supposedly, where we are unecessarily spending, and how much we can save if we stop for awhile.  I see it as a kind of challenge.

So here are my Top Ten Things to do for Fun Without Spending Money Unnecessarily:

1) Use those empty Starbucks coffee bags!  If you drink Starbucks coffee at home, save the bag!  Return it to Starbucks for a free tall hot or iced coffee.  No need to say “no” to a friend who wants to meet at Starbucks to chat!

2) Pop popcorn and play a game with your family.

3) Get movies from the library instead of renting them.

4) Do something creative with all those pictures that are hiding in a box in your closet, or on your computer desktop!  Use supplies you have on hand.

5) Have another family or two over for a potluck dinner.

6) Enjoy a cup of tea by the fireplace.  Invite your teenager to sit down with you, and really listen to her.

7) Rearrange the furniture in one of your rooms, or move decor objects around from room to room.  I even change my living room and dining room curtains around sometimes!

8) Do a household project you have been putting off… one you already have the supplies for.

9) Walk around your neighborhood, just a stroll to enjoy where you live.

10) One of our family’s favorites:  Set up your own bookstore in your living room.  Put out books and magazines from around your house for each age group in your family, some baked cookies or a simple sliced pound cake, a pot of coffee and tea, and some music.  A fire is nice, too.  Everyone helps themselves to the snacks and drinks, grabs a stack of books, and settles down for a good read.

~ by Kim, The Daisy Muse

Fresh Possibilities

 Posted by on January 9, 2014  1 Response »
Jan 092014
 

Don’t you love the new year? So fresh with possibilities! Do you make the same New Year’s Resolutions every year? I usually always vow to lose weight. Well, I haven’t ever stayed on a diet I started on Jan 1, and haven’t lost weight successfully for years now. But once again, I find myself starting a healthier eating and exercise plan. I’ve done it before and failed, so what will be different?

Kim2014 I’m going to blog about it! With my readers following my progress, I hope to stick to my plan and encourage others struggling with the same problem… excess weight. This is not a plan where I will end up looking like a movie star, just one to achieve and maintain a healthy weight for my height, be physically fit for my age, and most importantly, glorify God in my body (1 Cor. 16:20).

Will it be difficult? You bet! Please pray for me, follow along on my journey if you like, and, if this is an area you need help in, be encouraged.

Follow along with Kim on her health and fitness journey at thedaisymuse.com.

God is good

 Posted by on November 14, 2013  3 Responses »
Nov 142013
 

I can’t believe it’s been two years already.   Two years since the tragic accident, the phone call in the middle of the night; the long, 500 mile drive north; tears finally coming as I entered the hospital lobby.  Two years since I stepped into the ICU room where my critically–injured child was lying in a bed broken and bruised, undergoing one of nine blood transfusions, hooked up to an oxygen machine.  Two years since peace finally came the minute she looked up at me and said, “Hi, Mommy!”

My then eighteen-year-old’s accident and injury were by far the worst experience of my life so far.  Beyond the physical, just knowing that she and her friends had experienced such a horrific event, and that one had died, was an emotionally heavy load for them and for those who love them.  My heart was heavy for them, all of them, and most of all for the family of the girl now in heaven.

But God is good.  Period.  That’s what my  friend said to me the minute I arrived in the ICU waiting room.  “God is good,” she whispered in my ear over and over as she hugged me and let me cry.  That’s all she said and all she needed to say, for it is true.

God is good when everything is going well.  God is good when your child is in critical condition and you’re not sure what comes next.

God is good when my child is healed, healthy and whole and laughing and singing.  When just looking at her reminds me of His goodness.

God is good when I think of another mom, whose daughter did not survive.  Her daughter is also healthy and whole, laughing and singing, but oh! how she longs to be with her.  I can honestly tell you that this mom would say God is good.  Because  I’ve seen and heard her say it through her pain.  And because this wonderful woman has been an instrument in my daughter’s and her friends’ healing.  An instrument of encouragement, not condemnation.  Of peace, of joy, because she knows the truth—God is good.

God is good when, sometimes, some of us have some residual anxiety.  I’ve heard it called “post-traumatic stress syndrome.”  Whatever it is, it’s a consequence of what happened, and we deal with it by turning to the One Who is good, all-powerful, loving, and kind.  Who allows us to experience tragedy and trial, yet stays by our side the whole time, His arms wrapped around us, lovingly whispering “Child, I am with you.”

Swing

God is good.

 

 “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”– Psalm 107:8

~ By Kim, Daisy Muse

Home Economics, Updated

 Posted by on October 15, 2013  1 Response »
Oct 152013
 

This year, I’m down to one student in our family homeschool.  Along the way, I have made changes, tweaking each child’s education, finding improved curricula for math or science, adding special projects to English and history, and incorporating electives for each child’s interest.  With my youngest that meant adding a home economics class.

Home Economics, Updated www.habitsforahappyhome.com As I searched online, I could not find a satisfactory curriculum.  I wanted something that had the feel of a modern Proverbs 31 woman.  We would dismiss with extensive sewing (there’s nothing wrong with sewing; I’m just no good at it!), learn to prepare a variety of foods from scratch, and explore the fields of decorating and creating a cozy, family-centered atmosphere as well.  Lastly, we would learn to properly clean a house. All of these are things I’ve taught my girls simply by including them in our daily activities, but this would require my youngest to do further study, practicing and eventually mastering some or all of these concepts.  A friend who lives nearby joined our class, making it officially a “co-op.”  And double the fun!

We meet twice a week for an hour and a half, and have homework in between.  I divided the year into four quarters.  We are still in the first quarter and are focusing on two things:  food and ettiquette.  We will continue to focus on these lightly the entire year, but this first quarter, we are really digging in.  Here are the two books we use as references, and for reading assignments:

Home Economics:  Vintage Advice and Practical Science for the 21st Century Household is a modern compilation from decades-old textbooks.  The narration and some of the advice are a bit old-fashioned, but this only adds a bit of a history lesson along with our home economics study.  Fifty years ago, we learn, ironing was considered an art! Overall, this book is  delightful and helpful, giving homekeeping the respect it deserves.  I assign pages to be read according to what we’re doing in class rather than going through the book chronologically.

50 Things Every Young Lady Should Know:  What to Do, What to Say, and How to Behave actually sounds more old-fashioned that it is.  It covers everything from how to make introductions and apologies to what not to post on one’s Facebook wall.  Short, simple lessons with examples guide the up-and-coming young woman through many real-life situations, preparing her to deal with them smoothly and graciously.  The author does speak down a little (perhaps this book is meant for younger girls rather than highschoolers), but when she says words such as “grownups” we just change it to “adults.”  The adaptation is worth it as this book is rich with good advice.

And now, for a typical day’s Home Economics class:

I begin by checking homework.  Sometimes I ask the girls to print out and bring a recipe.  This is placed in a page protector in their notebooks.  Each notebook is divided into sections:  Cooking, Cleaning, Decorating, Budgeting, and Organizing.  Cooking is filling up right now; we’ll be adding to the other sections as we study them.  But today, homework was to “Pin” three recipes using pie crust to our community “Home Ec” board on Pinterest.  I’m teaching the girls to use technology in their homemaking, so we created our own board.

Next, I might give a quiz over the pages I assigned for homework last time.  I assign 2-6 pages from each book.  Since we only meet twice a week, this is a reasonable amount of reading.  The quizzes are usually written by me at the last minute (confession!) and are the most time-comsuming prep I do.  After this year, when I hand this homemade curriculum over to a friend to test for me, it will be easier.

Sometimes, instead of a quiz on our etiquette reading, I have the girls compose and act out a skit demonstrating the day’s lesson in a proper way, and another skit with the lesson done improperly.  Today, they performed for me the right and wrong way for teenagers to speak to adults.  The skit showed me they had learned the concept, and we all had a good laugh as well.

Now for the fun part:  cooking!  We might prepare a meal for a sick friend, or just practice making something yummy.  Our homemade bread turned out soft and chewy!

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We always try to make something that will actually benefit our families.  Most food does, as each girl has siblings and no food is ever left behind.  Everything does not always turn out well.  Below right, we learned what happens when you add honey to a muffin recipe and do not subtract any other liquid:

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The final exam for this quarter will be to prepare a dinner which will be eaten by both girls’ families.  The final exam for the entire school year will be to plan a dinner from start to finish, shop for the groceries within a budget, prepare the dinner, serve it and entertain guests with conversation, and clean the kitchen.  I keep the quiz grades, daily grades, and project grades in a gradebook to be averaged each quarter and at the end of the year.

In the second, third, and fourth quarters, we’ll be focusing on cleaning and laundry, decorating and creating a cozy atmosphere (with holiday planning included), and finally, basic sewing as well as bargain shopping for clothing and household linens.  Each project will be something realistic that the girls can take with them and do again later.  Nothing either complicated or useless.  Just practical, everyday home management.

Have you ever written your own curriculum for one of your child’s subjects?  I’d love to hear about it!

 ~by Kim, Daisy Muse