Mood Boards: Houses I Will Never Own

Friday, May 29, 2020

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Sometimes I see a listing for a house and I can't help but dream of how I would decorate it if I were given the opportunity. These are houses that I could maybe afford if I really wanted to, so I try to be semi-realistic with my daydreams. I have a Pinterest board full of sections for each different house I fall in love with, and there are many different sections with many different vibes. I thought it could be fun to share a few of my favorites here!

First up is the luxe lakehouse. I don't think I could actually live in this one, but I think it could make a fantastic AirBnB. Who wouldn't want to take in breathtaking sunset views in a house full of chic soft fabrics and moody, cozy decor? And then to just leave when you were done and not have to clean it? That's what dreams are truly made of, haha.

Image Sources: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

The next house getting a daydream renovation is a little victorian a block away from the library where I work. I've always wanted to take a classic home and make it into something a little more ... rebellious. I am a sucker for bright, eclectic interiors. And this particular house had some white molding details that were just begging for some bright watercolor inspired wallpaper.

Image Sources: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

The last house I'm dreaming about today was a country house in the middle of nowhere with a huge porch and spacious living room. The dream for this was a straight modern farmhouse renovation. I grew up in an old house surrounded by cornfields and having a homestead full of wooden details, handmade quilts, and room to breathe just feels like home to me. 

Image Sources: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6

I love all of these styles, but I don't know which I will actually choose to go with whenever we do move. Probably a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Maybe more farmhouse than luxe punk, but who knows? We will have to see how the house inspires me.
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Squish Painting Beetles

Thursday, May 21, 2020

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I've been doing art time with Ro while we've been in isolation, and when I posted this project on Instagram everyone loved it so I thought I'd put together a little how-to and share it here!

Paint (Acrylic or Tempra)
Construction Paper

Step 1: Make your squish paintings.
First I tore a few letter-sized pieces of paper in half, then I folded those halves again long ways (hot dog style) and then opened it back up. You need to put drips and drops of paint on one side of the paper for the effect to work best. When you are satisfied with the color combination you have created, fold the paper in half again and apply pressure, then open it back up. As you make more you'll be able to adjust the amount of paint and where you place the paint to make the beetle shells look the way you want. Drying time depends on what type of paint you use. Our paint was pretty glossy, so I let ours dry overnight.

Step 2: Cut out your legs and antennae.
Beetle legs can be as simple as little sticks sticking out, or as complicated as having three joints. I tended to stick with an L shape that bent in on the long part. You can look up beetles for inspiration. To make the symmetry easier, I folded my paper in half and cut out both legs at the same time.

Step 3: Cut out your beetles and attach the legs.
To cut out the beetles, I folded the squish paintings in half again and then cut along the edges. I found that the shapes made by the painting process were very organic and looked like shells with just a little editing. I cut off bits that were poking out, for example, to make the shell smooth. When that is done, flip over your beetle and tape the legs to the back, lining them up as well as you can.

Now you have the most adorable bug infestation ever. If you are interested in more bug activities, you can check out my posts about our "Bug Book Basket" or our "Bug Hunt."

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Rocks Book Basket

Friday, May 15, 2020

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This is the last book basket in our Spring series! This basket was all about rocks, and was chosen specifically with Ro's interests in mind. He loves rocks! He loves to pick them up, bring them home, and arrange them neatly. They don't have to be incredibly unique rocks, his favorite is our driveway gravel. We even have a special box we keep them in.

I wanted to teach Ro more about rocks, that they could be different colors and sizes and shapes. Obviously, I turned to books. I tried to get a few non-fiction books with clear pictures that showed a variety of rock types, the DK books are always a favorite for that. I was also looking for stories that could explain where rocks come from in an interesting way, and "How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World" was definitely entertaining. And finally, I was looking for a story that Ronan could identify with. "Rhoda's Rocks" was a sweet story that was simply about collecting rocks, which was exactly what I was looking for. 

For this basket, I included a rock cleaning kit, that just consisted of a brush, a notebook, and a measuring tape. We spent some time down at the river looking for rocks. We had read the "Baby Explorer: Rocks" book so I tried to link up some of the features of the different rocks with the names in the book. It was a bit too big of a concept for a 2-year-old, but I was able to get him to pay attention to whether it was porous or had stripes, or if it was a certain color. After we had selected a good collection we headed home and I added a bowl of soapy water, plain water, brushes, and a dropper to a tray. He had a blast cleaning his newest additions.

Finding a board book about rocks was a bit difficult, I ended up buying that baby explorer book. It was a good investment, though. Ro asks us to read it all the time. The rest of the books I was able to find or Inter-Library Loan from our local library.

Rocks Book List:

Other Spring Book Baskets:

All of these posts can be found under the tag "Book Baskets".
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Bugs Book Basket

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

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We are back with another Spring themed book basket! This is one you know I love because today's basket is all about bugs! For each book basket, I like to pull together five or more books on a theme and an activity. You can read more about the hows and whys of my book baskets in my first post in the series here.

 I don't know who enjoyed this basket more, me or Ro. (Honestly, it was probably me.)  The Bug Hotel book was so inspiring, we bought our very own bug hotel to keep in our back yard. I would love to build one, and that book would be the perfect resource.

The activity for this basket was a felt matching game. I cut a leaf out of green felt and attached it to sticky back green foam to give it some rigidity. Then I cut two of every bug out of this adorable felt from Hobby Lobby. I found the bug examination chamber at a dollar store and knew would be a fantastic addition to my basket. 

If you are looking for another bug activity, you can check out my Bug Hunt post

I am very into illustration, so I always try to pick books that are equal parts beautiful and informative. This basket is a great example of that.

Bugs Book List:

Check out the other posts in this series!

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In the Garden Book Basket

Monday, May 11, 2020

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About once a month I put together a themed book basket for Ro and I to explore. The themes vary based on what I'm into, what he's into, or current events. I've been doing this for about two years, and I have a ton of themes that I've already fully thought out, so I thought I would share! Every book basket has at least five books in it (most of the time many more) and includes a simple activity.

Themed baskets are great ideas for passive learning. First I introduce him to the basket and the activities, then I set it out in his room to let him play with it as he wishes. Usually, we steal books from the baskets for bedtime stories. You can use these lists as homeschool subject aids, or as ideas for a gift basket! The first three themes I'm going to be sharing are gardens, bugs, and rocks. Perfect reads for the month of May! I will be posting all three baskets this week.

I want to note that I make heavy use of the library and our Inter-Library Loan system when I'm putting together these baskets. Most libraries have a similar system for borrowing books from other libraries available, and some even will let you place holds online. I know currently getting to a library is difficult, but hopefully one day soon we will be able to check out books again!

And now I present: our garden basket! This basket was put together last summer, so you will notice that I used as many board books as possible. 

I had two activities for this basket. For the first activity, I made three discovery bottles that help explain the process of growing. I usually use VOSS  plastic water bottles for these, because they have a nice shape and a solid lid. The first bottle has sunflower seeds that I got at the gas station, the second has potting soil, and the third has grass and leaves that I stole from our yard. To keep the leaves green longer, I added some water to the plant's bottle. This kept them fresh looking for at least a week.

I also added a "Lego garden" activity to the basket, which included green plates and bricks with extra flower pieces. The idea was that Ro could build a garden when we couldn't get outside.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of garden books available. These are just the ones I could get my hands on and enjoyed. If you have a favorite garden book, please add it to the comments! 

Garden Book List:

Other Book Baskets in this series:
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Ten [Bug] Things...

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

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Bonkers about Beetles by Owen Davey is one of my absolute favorite bug books. Not only is it incredibly informative, but it's also designed beautifully. The illustrations are simple, clear, and engaging. I interlibrary loaned it and as soon as I saw how great it was I immediately bought it for myself.

I would love to get Ro some bug wings to wear during playtime. These Rainbow Wings from Sarah's Silks look so soft and lovely, I really think that they would be well-loved. I also can't get over how adorable this Pinafore from Girl Like the Sea is. Those embroidered wings are so creative.

These Pollinator Houses from Garden Outside the Box on Etsy are so cute! The color choices are so fun, and they look very well made. I would love to hang a few on my fence this summer!

Handmade Charlotte has a ton of bug DIYs, but my favorites are these Wooden Bugs, and these DIY Jumping Jack Bugs. Colorful, fun projects that you could do with stuff around your house!

The bathroom of Maude Smith (as shared at House and Garden) has hand-painted ceramic tiles that feature colorful and whimsical bugs. If this isn't bathroom goals for me, I don't know what is.

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