Friday, July 31, 2009

I Caught the Summer Bug...Where Will He Land Next?

Yes, after reading such glorious successes as Jessica's and seeing such beautiful rooms as Jen's and hearing about my dear friend MP moving her schoolroom...and listening to Professor Joseph Pearce eloquently urge us to teach our children the value of beauty at the Tampa IHM Homeschool Conference, I caught the summer reorganize-repurpose bug (even Elizabeth caught it)! Consequently, I spent last week, after recovering from being away, coming up with a master plan. My goal was to move my learning space downstairs while creating the least amount of work for my dear husband. I thought carefully how to approach the topic, prayed about my motivation, and cautiously approached him last Friday.

He grimaced. His forehead wrinkled in strange ways. He was silent, reflective, thoughtful. Then, choosing his words carefully, he says, "What do you think about...?" and gave me an alternate plan that, to my surprise, involved moving even more heavy furniture and changing more than just the two rooms I had planned. I admitted I had not considered such options, because my goal was to make as little work as possible for him. Now, I needed more time to ponder my options. He said, again to my surprise, that there were no limitations and encouraged me to think completely out of the box. Hmmm...

Saturday, we kept brainstorming together, bouncing ideas back and forth, while my husband added more cinder-block and 2x8 shelving to our garage for our book business. We would stand in a room together and stare for silent minutes and then share a new idea. By Sunday, we had a plan we both thought could work. I prayed about it, knowing it would accomplish some of my desires for our use of space - (1) I wanted the learning room downstairs near a couch. (2) I wanted all electronics out of our bedroom. (3) I wanted a designated playroom space. (4) I wanted a space where my husband could work on his laptop in the same room as my desk and computer.

We began moving furniture Sunday evening, because we were so excited to get started, and we moved things each evening while I cleared bookshelves and closets each day. By Wednesday, the furniture was all moved. I spent Thursday putting all our stuff back on shelves and organizing closets. Phew! (And, I must add, we both commented once the large furniture was all moved on how odd it was that we did not argue during the planning or moving stages - praise God!)

Here is how we originally used our spaces:

Kitchen - eating table and chairs, play kitchen, easel, butcher-block cart

Living room - two couches, recliner, TV armoire, bookcase, two end tables

Playroom - children's table and chairs, toy chest, two bookcases, dollhouse, rocking horse

Master bedroom - bed and sidetables, laundry bins, large desk with laptop, small bookcase

Spare bedroom - small desk with computer, filing cabinet, two bookcases, printer stand, learning table and chairs, wire shelf in closet

***The children's bedroom did not change at all; we seriously considered switching it with the spare bedroom, but I was reluctant to move happy children who hate change!

Here is what they became:

Kitchen - eating table and chairs, play kitchen, dollhouse, butcher block cart

Living room - one couch, two bookcases, learning table and chairs, easel, printer stand repurposed as art center, two end tables (we also repurposed a wire cart from my closet as a craft cart and hid it in the coat closet)

Playroom - children's table and chairs, toy chest, wire shelf (which I will be covering with a fabric curtain), rocking horse, small bookcase (which is actually between the playroom and living room and perfect to use as a mantel for our liturgical year celebrations)

Master bedroom - bed and sidetables, three bookcases, recliner (we hid the laundry bins in the bathroom & closet)

Spare bedroom - large desk with computer, small desk with printers (we have three), filing cabinet, one couch, TV armoire

I love my home!!! We had hoped to buy a house this year, but we need at least another year of renting before we can afford that. The disappointment in renewing the lease on our townhome definitely prompted some of these changes, but more than that, I did not enjoy certain spaces in my home. And, as you know, a happy mom makes a happy home!

Now that it is mostly organized (some books are still not on the right bookcases and one closet needs a bit of work), I cannot wait to enjoy it! We will gradually begin our new school year next week, so I will let you know how it goes! I am sure the little interior decorating touches will take some time, as I am worn out from all the rearranging, but I already enjoy every room in its repurposed form!

***Maybe I will get around to adding photos, but don't count on it soon. The furniture is in place and things are functional but not yet picture-ready!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Attention All Super-Busy Homeschooling Moms!

So much going on over here, little time to blog - caught the bug going around and rearranged the entire house, switching rooms to accommodate moving our lessons downstairs, still living in piles of stuff that needs to be organized! I had to take time to share, though...

I am SO excited that I have been asked to co-lead a new online interactive homeschool mom Bible study --- Moms' Connections! You know how hard it is to get out of the house for a moms' group, prayer group, parish class, or Bible study to feed your soul, right?! Well, this one is designed to meet the needs of super-busy homeschooling moms!

Read more below...sign up now...and please send the link to this blog post to EVERY homeschool mom/group you know! (and if you need more information before joining, attend our free informational webinar on August 13th)


Moms' Connections: Chosen and Cherished: Biblical Wisdom for Your Marriage by Kimberly Hahn (Proverbs 31: 10-12)

Is it a challenge for you to make it to your local Bible study or prayer group? Attend a mother’s study group in the comfort of your home! Join other homeschooling mothers for an online interactive webinar twice a month as we prayerfully reflect on and discuss a book selection designed to inspire us and challenge us in our vocations. Emily Crawford and Jenny Bales will be co-leading this exciting new group!

This fall’s selection is Chosen and Cherished: Biblical Wisdom for Your Marriage by Kimberly Hahn. This is the first in her series of Bible studies based on Proverbs 31. This particular book focuses specifically on verses 10-12. Her audio series on Proverbs 31, More Precious Than Jewels: How to Be a Godly Wife and Mother, has been extremely popular among Catholic and all Christian mothers for well over a decade! Our discussions on this book will be united by our common vocation as homeschooling mothers. In our busy days as mothers and teachers of our children, sometimes our husbands can be overlooked or unappreciated. It is our hope that this study group will inspire each of us to place a new priority on our marriage, giving our children one of the most valuable lessons we can, as we witness the beauty of a holy marriage.

Every other Thursday evening, September 3 through November 12, we will gather in prayer to discuss two chapters of the book, which mothers are asked to read before each meeting. The discussion questions at the back of the book will provide structure for our conversations. Mothers are asked to participate both in the online chat and audio components of the technology, so it is requested that each mother have a headset with microphone. A donation of $10.00 to a Scholarship Fund sponsored by Homeschool Connections will ensure committed participation by the mothers throughout the sessions. (This donation will be donated to a scholarship fund that will benefit Catholic homeschool students attending Catholic universities. Due to services rendered this is not tax deductible.)

You can sign up below for the study group now and/or sign up to attend a free informational Meet & Greet Webinar on Thursday, August 13 at 8:30PM ET to learn more about the technology and the group.

Register for Meet & Greet Webinar

Register for Bible Study for Homeschool Moms