Mitten Tamer!

When 7:30am rolls around I’m really only semi-conscious. While I need to make sure all four kids get their breakfast, medicine, coats, mittens, hats, homework, lunch, and backpacks before the bus comes at 8:08, I still find myself hitting that snooze button, repeatedly. So I am perpetually trying to get the house organized ahead of time…

I would have loved some built in cubbies in the entry-hall, but space by the door is scarce. Instead I mounted hooks in a piece of square trim and anchored it to the wall. It’s great because I can easily walk by and SEE which kid hasn’t put their stuff away- you know, if I haven’t already tripped over it.

While that handled the backpacks & coats, it still left hats & mittens to deal with. The hallway is too narrow for a shelf, and besides- shelves just tend to collect more stuff than needed. I had tried using an attractive little basket, but hats & mittens would get all jumbled. I’ve lost several nice pairs of gloves after handing them off in the mad rush because we were missing one half of a pair.

Tame the hat & mitten pile in less than 2 minutes!

And then today, I had an epiphany: warm and fuzzy hats & mittens + adhesive velcro = no more mitten pile of doom!!

Admittedly it took a little longer than two minutes, because I had to run to the fabric store. But once I got home- I just had to trim it to the length of the board and press it on. POOF! Hats & mittens are now right where they’ve left them- and you can barely see the velcro when there’s nothing attached- so it keeps the hallway looking neat & tidy.

If any of the polar fleece/nylon gloves don’t want to stick well, I’ll just sew a little inconspicuous circle of fuzzy velcro on them.

Let me know if you try it out! Can you improve on it?

I’m back!

Not like I was doing much while I was gone- let’s see- I moved, spent the fourth of July on the White House Lawn, and just got back from a balloon fashion show in Las Vegas, you know- the usual!  I’ll fill in the details shortly- but in honor of taking out my Singer for the first time in about 6 months, I felt inspired to blog!

Chloe wanted some snuggly dollys for her bed (it’s been awhile since she’s slept the whole night through, and yes, I will stoop to bribery) So I promised her we’d make some dolls for her bed. Now it’s turned into making mermaids for her and her little friend Morgan. I’ve spent most of the late spring/summer in perpetual motion- maybe this is a sign that I’m actually settled in a bit!

I promise I’ll write more about what I’ve been up to and blog more often again, but if you truly can’t wait for some of the recent details- go check out Larry Moss’s blog, over at While you’re there you can read about what we’ll be up to in September for Artprize in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I think diagrams are cool.

I can’t help it, there’s nothing like instantly understandable information. BAM! You learned something and didn’t even mean to, it’s like guerrilla education. Anyhoo- the kids and I made time lines this morning FOR FUN.

So here’s the long story of how we hopped aboard this train of thought. We were doing a giant 50 state floor puzzle, and Wyatt was putting in the Kentucky piece and he says “Hey! That’s where Abe Lincoln was born!?!” I wasn’t so sure, I’d always remembered Lincoln and Illinois ( or at least remembered that was the state he represented in congress.) My trusty iphone made short work of  googling the answer, and Wy got a high-five for showing up his mom.

Then Aves busted out our copy of  Scholastic Encyclopedia Of The Presidents And Their Times. We started looking through the profiles of the different presidents, and since they’re early/emerging readers we spent alot of time looking at the pictures. We saw the changing flags, President’s birthdays/dates of death (god that sounds macabre lol) and used our GIANT CALCULATOR to figure out about how many years old they lived to be.

Source: Library of Congress (cph 3a44236)We  also saw this image of how slaves were packed into the cargo holds of ships which led to a discussion of how sometimes it takes alot of  hard work to change things that are wrong, because they might have been wrong for a long time. We ventured into civil rights, and women’s rights…It was just the sort of discussion I wish I could have more often with the kiddos, the kind where they take the lead.  This lets me be the mommy version of google, getting them the answers they’re looking for, which then lead to more questions and connections… I love that. That’s the mom I want to be.

So Avery was very excited to point out that Susan B. Anthony was one of those people who worked hard for change, and remembered we had just gotten an Easy Reader about her and ran over to the bookshelf to get it. It’s from a great little series of books on different historic American icons. It manages to paint a pretty good picture of her and her times though it didn’t mention anything about her work in the abolitionist movement. But hey it was 10 pages long and meant for first graders… I did like enjoy the list entitled “These were some of the ways life was unfair for women in those days.” The thought that women had to give their money to their husbands blew their minds, which was adorable to watch.

The last page of the book had a time line  about Susan B’s lifetime. She was born in 1820, died in 1906 and women didn’t earn the right to vote until 1920 (which, according to our giant calculator meant that she was 86 when she died, and women were able to vote 100 years after she was born). And then I got the brilliant idea that we could make time lines for things in our lives, so we found a ruler, some paper and a pencil or two and headed to the little table. Chloë’s time line was a span of years, Wyatt chose months- and Avery chose to go play legos. Birthdays seemed to be the most memorable date-related item, so they logged them on their charts.

It was really quite easy, I just showed them how to draw a line and mark off each inch for a unit of time. I think I’ll create and instruction sheet and a new section for projects on here. If I have the section maybe I’ll feel obligated to do fun stuff like that again more often and post more of them. <When it’s done I’ll insert the link here>