Children’s book organization

This week was Scholastic Book Fair Week at both my kids’ schools.

I like to take advantage of the 2 hours that my youngest is in preschool by helping at my oldest’s school when needed. So 2 mornings out of my week went something like this:

Drive to school A and drop off kid #1.

Drive across town to school B and drop off kid #2.

Drive BACK to school A and help with the book fair for 2 hours.

Drive BACK to school B to pick up kid #2 to go home for lunch and nap.

Whew! I wasn’t really stressed or rushed, I just felt like a cab driver or something. In addition, they started redoing the train tracks in town, which meant shutting down main roads that I use so I had to use detours, which was…ummm…not fun. I will have to get used to it though because the shutdowns will be here for awhile! And I will be doing the same running back and forth next week for mini-art and AR program things.

As I sat in my girls’ bedrooms looking at their new books with them, I realized their bookshelves were in desperate need of some organization. We had accumulated quite a collection which I had never cleaned out because the youngest would eventually be reading them in a few years. But I realized that there were many books that neither of them had any interest in. So I started digging through and making piles. I ended up with almost 80 books to give away, or sell in a yard sale!

Looking for a new home...

For the books we were keeping, I separated them into classics, early readers, and preschool. We have disney books from the 70s that belonged to my husband when he was little. I had bought shelving for them a couple years ago, but some of the books had wandered off to different shelves and different rooms so I got them all back together again. They didn’t quite fill the bottom shelf but some dominoes and flash cards filled the spot perfectly.

Classic 70s Disney titles!

I don’t have many early reader books, I guess because Kindergarten filled that need. But I do have a series of books from a company called Southwestern Advantage that I purchased from a young college student a few years ago. This company helps college students earn their own money and encourages them to be entrepreneurs by encouraging them to go door to door selling books. We have used the books quite a bit and they were well worth it. The set we bought has 26 books and covers everything from learning colors and shapes, to more advanced science subjects. This is great for us because with girls 4 years apart in age, this has topics for both of them. The names of the “Ask Me’ series are cute – Laila’s favorite is “Are My Bones Bendy?”

"Ask Me" Series

"Explore and Learn" Series

My preschool collection is still the largest! Taking 4 shelves plus a basket. But those are the books that us moms tend to tire of very quickly, so we need variety! I mean how many times can you read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom or The Very Hungry Caterpillar before you can recite it in your sleep?

Preschool age books

I also had a few random books that I wasn’t sure where to display. So I cleared off the top of one of the girls’ dressers. Then found a piece of shelving unit leftover from our entryway closet makeover. I laid it on its end so that the taller books could just stand up, since they didn’t fit anywhere else. And I used a piggy bank as a bookend. Works for me!

To Do:

There is one project that I’ve been wanting to do for over a year now! I first saw this idea in the Family Fun magazine a couple years ago. It is a book sling that allows your child to see the front covers of their books and allows for easy access for them. So as soon as I find some fabulous fabric for this project, I will start on it.

One of my favorite children’s stories is Max Lucado’s “You Are Special”. If you haven’t read it, you must! We got the book a few years ago and my oldest loves it. We can all relate to the Wemmicks in this story. It is such a great message for both children AND adults and reminds us that we are all special in God’ eyes.

Another book I have to share with you is “I Know A Librarian Who Swallowed Some Books.” It was written by my daughter’s 2nd grade class this year. All the kids contributed and they sent it off to a company to be bound. My favorite is that they had it published with the students’ own handwriting and illustrations!

I hope this encourages you to grab a book or head to the library and read with your kids!

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A Little “Pinspiration”

I don’t entirely agree with that quote but it is kinda funny! Us “pinterest lovers” do spend a lot of time on the computer, but I try to use my time creatively. I spend a lot of time discovering other blogs, looking for new ideas, looking for ways to embrace creativity.

Since I do spend a lot of time there, I thought it was time for some housekeeping/organizing on my Pinterest page. I “cleaned up” my boards, editted some, deleted some, move some to different boards, etc. I need it to be organized because I like to check my recent pins to decide on my next project(s), {because there is never just ONE}, and see what supplies I’ll need before I head out to the craft store.

As I was looking through all my pins, I could hardly believe I have over 600 pins!! How could I have that many?! I need to get busier! Ha!

Of those 600+ pins, some are just quotes that I love, some are seasonal ideas, and a few are part of My Wish List. So I had to know how many I’ve actually implemented. So I scrolled through and started counting…and I have given about 60 of them a try…that’s a whopping 10%! I feel like I’ve done more, but I guess I just spend a lot of time looking through blogs for inspiration and ideas.

My pinterest obsession began in the entryway of our home. Ok, it threw up in our entryway! In fact, the entire area is Pinterest Zone! It started with re-doing our coat closet by removing the ugly wooden sliding doors and closet-length coat rod and filling in with lots of cubbies for everyone. It then spread to the main wall. That wall is now sporting 3 pinterest projects!  My favorite is definitely the one in the middle – the Framed Dates , which I found via Andrea Steed. The one on the left, the monogram key chain holder, I found via It’s A Crafty Life. And the one on the right, the twine-wrapped monogram letter was inspired by browsing Etsy. I must say, the area is much more inviting (as it should be since it is the first thing our guests see) and organized now. So many shoes, coats, jackets, vests, hoodies, scarves, backpacks, etc! It is amazing how much of these things a family of 4 acquires! It is much more functional now and we are not tripping over things to get in/out of the house anymore. Well, as long as the shoes make it INTO the cubbies, and coats and bags ONTO the hooks. Here is my main inspiration piece…in fact I think this might have been my very first pin ever. It is from Better Homes and Gardens. So this is where I got my idea to have cubbies up each side with a bench in the middle and hooks in the center.

Better Homes and Gardens picture that I really like

Redoing the closet was not thrifty – we bought the wood/cubbies/trim at Lowe’s and it really added up! But, it was worth it because of all the time it will save us looking for things that seemed to get lost behind those dark wooden doors that only slid to one direction at a time.

EWWW!!!

On the main wall I probably spent a total of  $35. And I must thank my handy husband who hangs everything for me. I am not handy with the drill, so I leave that work to him. He spent a long weekend measuring, cutting, drilling, painting, etc and trying to duplicate the BHG picture above into our space. Just look at him hard at work! And notice Little Miss L watching from her step. 🙂   Awwww…

I have also started a few projects in my other rooms, and I will reveal those once they are finished,

but I must pace myself. 🙂

For now, welcome to my Entryway…

New Closet

Main Wall

Memo Board Organization

It is the start of a new year and everyone is talking about organization. From the kitchen to the laundry to the bathroom…just pick a room and get started…

Easier said than done, right?

I think the best place to start would be the area(s) that drive you the most crazy. For me, this was the kitchen counter! It is the dumping ground for receipts, coupons, schoolwork, mail, bills, etc. and it was driving me crazy. A woman needs her space in her kitchen. Having a nice open workspace makes you more motivated to use it for what it’s intended for…making meals for your growing family! When your kitchen space is dirty and messy, you don’t feel like starting dinner because the thought of cleaning before you can start makes you want to order in, which isn’t always an option if you’re on a budget.

So I have been seeing memo boards everywhere. They are priced around $25 each in stores. I decided to make one for much less. The best part about this is that you can pick out any fabric and ribbon you want and totally customize it!

You’ll need:

Wrapped canvas (mine is 16 x 20).

Batting (the $5 bag  will be enough for at least 6-8 boards).

FABRIC  I used 5/8 yard for a 16 x 20 canvas

Ribbon

Jewels/buttons to embellish the corners

Steps:

1. Cut batting to size of your canvas

2. Lay fabric face down

3. Center batting on fabric

4. Lay canvas face down on top of batting.

5. Wrap fabric around canvas, pulling tightly and stapling as you go. In my picture you’ll see a regular stapler, but a staple gun works much better.

Turn it over and admire yourcraftiness…

6. decide you how far apart you want to place your ribbon, lay it in place, then staple it onto the back to keep in place.

7. Hot glue your embellishments into the corners where the ribbon meets.

This one is hanging in my dining room where I usually sit down to plan my grocery shopping, clip my coupons, pay bills, help with homework, answer the phone, open mail, etc. so I think it’s perfect! I happened to have fabric on hand from a previous table runner I made last spring.

Here is my kitchen counter space that is thanking me right now! Lucky for me, I didn’t take a “before” pic, so you’ll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that I could hardly see the counter!

The other area that needed some organization is the girls’ hair accessories in the bathroom. I make flower bows so we have a small collection of those growing. We also have bottlecap bows, headbands, you name it!  I took my youngest to Hobby Lobby and helped her pick out a cute girls fabric since this is for her room. This one went much quicker since I’d already made one.

I filled it up very quickly…I think we might need a bigger one!

So now my oldest wants one for her room too to display her sports awards and pictures. So I’m thinking another trip to the craft store is in my near future!

My cost for these projects:

2 canvases ( they came in a 2-pack)…$8

Batting…$5

Fabric…5/8yard was $3.50. I already had fabric for one of the boards.

Ribbon…$4.00 for 2 spools..if you’re very crafty, you might have ribbon on hand, but I don’t have a huge ribbon supply.

My total for both of these memo boards was $20, so I was able to make 2 for less than the price of 1 in the stores! Not too shabby!