Monday, May 4, 2015

Thank Your Teach!

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Teaching is a very demanding job no matter what day of the year you pick. At the beginning of the year, teachers are busy preparing the last minute details that have to be taken care of before students arrive. Of course, they are doing that all between professional development opportunities that have to be taken amidst the chaos. Putting names on everything to give kids a more personalized environment, sorting the millions of papers that have to go home at open house, and adding the final touches to those bulletin boards to make the classroom more inviting. Many times all of those “extras” come out of a teacher’s pocket to show the kids how much they look forward to them being in their classroom and to show parents how much they care about their kid that will be in their hands for the next 180 days.

Move to the middle of the year, and you will find a teacher grading papers, meeting with other grade level teachers to get recommendations on how to improve teaching techniques, having conferences with parents, and monitoring progress constantly to make sure your child will be reaching their year end goals.

And at the end of the year….the work is still not done. That same teacher is trying to keep your students engaged even though summer is so close, and they are ready to be outside playing than in the classroom. He or she is administering those year-end tests to see what a huge leap your child has made since the beginning of the year. She is preparing awards for the upcoming awards day and sorting the piles of paperwork that seem to accumulate at the end of the year. And you know what else? She’s preparing for next year. She’s going over in her mind what worked, didn’t work, and what she can’t wait to try next year.

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And those summers off? They don’t truly happen. Go to the school almost any day in the summer, and you will mostly likely find several teachers working on their classrooms, running copies, labeling books, etc. And when they’re at home….they’re still working. Preparing folders, buying resources from Teachers Pay Teachers {from their own pockets}, creating lessons, laminating , and that’s just scratching the surface.

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As a teacher, I cannot tell you how much time we spend to prepare to try to teach your kids to the best of our ability. I cannot tell you how much money we spend out of our own pockets to give your child the best learning experience and environment. It’s endless work. Even when we get home, we think about your kids. They become ours, too. We love them like our own and take lots of pride in our jobs.

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I say all this to remind you that this week is Teacher Appreciation Week. I’m not writing this to solicit gifts. I just want to remind the world that all it takes is a small thank you note. It sometimes makes the biggest difference in a teacher’s day. Teaching is a very stressful job, and kind words go a long way.

However, if you’re looking for some great gifts to show a small token of your appreciation for those guys and gals out there shaping your kids into successful citizens, here’s some that I found on Pinterest that I’m sure any teacher would enjoy. {Click on the pictures to find the original links}

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And if you need anymore ideas, just click on over to Pinterest and search “teacher appreciation gifts”. Tons of ideas come up {in all price ranges}!

Hope all of you teachers have a fantastic week and feel super appreciated!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Thrift Store Treasures

Every now and again I will spot something sitting outside of a thrift shop or see it in the window. If I didn’t have my partner in crime with me 95% of the time, I would stop by more often than not. Without being able to keep him contained in a shopping cart though, I just opt to not fight that battle with him.

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Probably a month ago I spotted some side tables that were in need of some TLC outside a thrift store in town. I loved them immediately because I knew I could revive them. I talked about calling them, finally tried calling them with no answer, and eventually just gave up. I didn’t see them for a while outside until the week after spring break. I was on my way home and saw them again. After soliciting for their number on dear old Facebook, I gave them a call.

I asked how much he wanted for them. The reply? $25. I was thinking $25 each, but NO! He wanted $25 for both. I asked if he could hold them until I got across town, and he told me that if I came and got them right now he would take $20.

$10 a table, folks! I’m on my way!

I get there to buy them {and make my own donations}, and I spotted another beauty. A wooden dresser with no knobs! It came with a mirror for $30 total. I didn’t want the mirror, so we bargained. I walked out with two side tables and a dress for $40.

I felt like I won the lottery! All everything needed was a little love, some paint, and knobs.

Jackpot!

Two trips to load it all up, and this is what I scored!

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When I bought the tables, I had some inspiration before I took the plunge.

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Over the weekend, I decided to tackle the side tables to clear out some room in the garage.

This is what I started with…

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This is four spray paint cans later {for both tables}…

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And a side by side…

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Now they are on my front porch waiting to be accessorized!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Property Vision

So, I have this little obsession with checking the realty websites every.single. day. to see if anything new has came on the market. I’m not even in the market for a new house. I love our house dearly, but I still check it every single day. Sometimes I wish I had become a realtor. I think it’s a passion of mine that I probably missed out on.

Anyhow….I track houses and their price changes like it was my job. Recently, a house that has been on the market since before Colby and I bought our house was taken off the market, but returned shortly after. I really had loved this house when we were house hunting, but it was a good $50K over our budget. Now, it’s listed for $185K.

It’s a steal if you ask me. I haven’t actually been in the house, but I’ve driven by it a million times and browsed the pictures relentlessly. It’s absolutely gorgeous in my opinion. The lot is even better. The true perk? It’s like a perfect clean slate.

Front

Perfectly manicured yard. Lovely front door with transom. Accessible balcony. Brick walkway. Classic.

Stairs

Hello grand staircase! Those hardwoods take my breath away.

Living Room 2

I don’t really know what this room is, but I’m assuming it’s a living room or something to that effect since it’s right off the entry. White walls. Untouched perfection.

Living Room

Wood burning fireplace. Plantation shutters. Gorgeous hardwoods. Sconces flanking the fireplace.

Room 2

I don’t know what this room is, but I’m pretty much sold on the white built-in bookcases.

Bathroom

It has at least one semi-updated bathroom. It’s not necessarily my taste in bathrooms, but it’s updated. It’s doable. The best could definitely be made out of the situation until a great reno could be done.

Backyard

And y’all….this picture does not even do the backyard justice. There are tall trees on the whole back lot, and I believe there is even a small stream that runs along the very back. It’s breathtaking in the fall.

Sun porch

And why not enjoy that gorgeous view while sitting on a glassed in porch? That pretty much seals the deal for me, but wait….there’s more.

Basement

When I see that basement, I think of all of the house stuff I could store down there and do projects in.

So, who wants to buy this house for me? Or, you can just buy the house and let me choose the paint colors and decorate it for you {wink, wink} My day would be made.

A girl can dream….

I might just have to do a post of what it could be like for some inspiration.

Oh, and if you really want to check it out, call Ms. Sandy at English Realty in Brewton. You can also check out the listing here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

One Person’s Trash

Is another person’s treasure!

In a dumpster diving adventure, Colby and I found a pretty great table. We brought it home with us even though I had no idea what I was going to do with it. It has sat in the garage for several months, and I finally had the time to think about how I could use it within our home.

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It was a decent table. It had some stickers stuck on it, so I sanded them off and gave the rest of the table a good sanding over, so the finish would be roughed up and easier to paint. It probably took about ten minutes to do all of that.

Then came the fun part! I chose to paint the top of the table with chalkboard paint. The top of the table is not wood and has lots of indentions in it. I figured this would make a great homework table one day. I can just see the kids {yes, we will have more one day} doing math homework and using the table to write on and solve problems.

At this point it was looking more like a science lab table than anything.

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Just a tip….I did several coats of the chalkboard paint on the top just to make sure it would be usable one day. While I haven’t done it yet, you are supposed to turn a chalk stick sideways and go over the entire surface to break it in so to speak.

For the bottom half, I just used some left over white paint that is a paint and primer combo. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough!

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I’m thinking of adding some stools like these {below} from Overstock to put beneath it since the table is too tall for regular chairs.

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I brought it on inside and made it a nice addition to our {my} office space. Obviously, I am always cramped for time and can never accessorize properly. Sorry folks! If I waited on things like that, there would never be any blog posts. You’ll always see the work in progress version.

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The man of the house {so he thinks} was a bit cranky and demanding it seems.

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And just for those who might think my house is always clean….

Here’s the proof it is not! This is the dropping ground!

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There you go, folks! Trash to treasure! I can’t wait to share with you what else I’ve found lately!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Like a Good Neighbor…

But it isn’t State Farm at the door. It’s the unofficial welcoming committee {aka The Langham Family}.

It seems that our neighborhood has been welcoming in families around every corner lately. As of now, there are three {possibly four} houses for sale in our little area, which I claim to be Briarcliff Road, Douglas Lane, and Terry Drive. I love that new families are moving in with little children running around. That means there are that many more children for Landry to grow up playing with. We have been so blessed that all of the families moving in are wonderful people with the same values we uphold and want our children to grow up around and be influenced by.

Most recently, a sweet family bought the house that I cheated on my house with that one time. They have two boys, and I couldn’t wait to get over there to introduce ourselves and welcome them to the neighborhood.

It made us feel great when our neighbors across the street brought us brownies when we first moved in. Since then, we have developed a terrific relationship with them and are so grateful for their kindness.

In an effort to extend the graciousness that was once extended to us, I created this little welcoming gift and brought it over to them yesterday. It turned out so cute that I couldn’t wait to share it!

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In the cute lemonade dispenser, I included some lemonade mix along with a few lemons and some flour sack dishtowels. It’s not much, but it’s enough to make a person feel welcome.

Hanging from the dispenser handle, I added a printable gift tag from ThirtyHandmadeDays.

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On the back of the tag, I added our names {including Landry’s} as well as our phone numbers in case they ever need to contact us for anything.

Let’s hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it for them! Three cheers to being the welcome wagon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Perks of White

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Many people see white couches and walls and anything else as trouble. If you come in my house though, you will see lots of white in various places. Some might call me crazy to have so many white things and surfaces.

I will tell you though that it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. The best thing about white is that you can just about do anything to it to keep it clean. Maybe white is not for you if you don’t like to keep things clean, but I can tell you that white is my best friend.

{One}

Got fingerprints on the white wall? Magic eraser! It doesn’t even mess the paint up {usually} like it would a colored wall. I personally don’t have white walls, but I do have white trim and wainscoting. It’s so easy to just take that magic eraser and wipe it write off. Plus, nothing looks fresher than the brightest, whitest white you can put on some trim. {Mine is White Diamond by Benjamin Moore.}

{Two}

Do you think white sheets are for crazy people? Why do you think hotels use them instead of colored sheets? They are WAY easier to keep clean. Throw them in the washer with some bleach, and you have yourself the cleanest, freshest smelling sheets you could ever ask for. I just traded in Landry’s cute crib sheets for some plain white ones. Want to guess which ones have been less of a headache?

{Three}

Did you see I got a white comforter for the big boy room? I got it for the same reason I use white sheets. I can almost get everything clean with some bleach, a bleach pen, etc. Can you honestly say it’s that easy to get stains out of colored or printed fabrics?

{Four}

And my goodness….people will really give you the look like you need to be institutionalized if you were to buy a white couch. Your guests will hardly sit on the couch because they are afraid of getting it dirty. What people don’t realize is that you can get stains out of your white couch just like you can your sheets. No worries about little toddler fingers putting chocolate fingerprints on your couch. All washable!

Now, I would recommend buying a slipcovered couch, so you can wash your covers. I wish every day that I had bought a white couch instead of what we have. Don’t get me wrong. I love our couch, but it can be such a pain to make sure I wash it and not discolor it. Throwing it in the wash with some bleach would be so much easier.

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Plus, let’s think about how much use a couch gets. If your couch can’t be washed, imagine how nasty it might be. I find such relief in knowing that my couch is clean {at least cleaner than most people’s}.

It took me a while to realize these facts, but my life is much easier since I learned to embrace and love the color white. There is nothing cleaner and lovelier than the freshness that all things white make me feel.

Now I can clean it all with a Magic Eraser or some bleach….my two new best friends.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Transformation Tuesday

Remember that big boy room that I blogged about a good bit in January? Well….we finally put the plans into place and have made good progress in that room. It’s still a good way from complete, but it is definitely getting to that point.

Right now it is to the point where I can walk by the room and not cringe when I get a glimpse of it.

This is where the room started. It’s really quite embarrassing. It was the room that caught all the junk that didn’t have a place or needed to be hid from the public when there wasn’t enough time to figure out a proper place for it. It had no style. It was simply the room that had parts of other rooms pieced together to get it out of the way.

A sad sight to see…

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And this is a long cry from where we began when we first bought the house…Hello blue carpet!!!

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I had put together this inspiration board to piece together some ideas of the direction I wanted the room to go in.

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So far, I have gotten everything in the inspiration board except for the headboard.

My original inspiration came from the blog Dixie Delights and her little boy’s big boy room.

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And for the reveal as it is now…

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The to-do list always continues, but here are the major things that definitely need to be done:

  • Get headboard
  • New light fixture
  • Have Euro pillows made
  • Move dresser to the room or get a different one
  • Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!!!

I think once Landry moves into this room the little signs of life will make this room look much more complete. Until then, I’m just looking for little treasures to accessorize it and for a few more things to hang on the wall. At least it is an improvement from where it first began.

Sources:

Duvet cover and shams- IKEA {I had the shams reduced to standard size instead of king size}

White quilt- Overstock

Bedskirt- Overstock

Down Comforter- Overstock

Baskets- World Market

Bookcases- Target

Curtains- Fabric from IKEA

Curtain rods and rings- Target

Crab art- Etsy by SheilaSmithDesigns

Lamps- T.J. Maxx

Throw pillows- Dirt Cheap {originally from Target}