Sunday, August 30, 2020

Our 2020 Curriculum Picks Adventures


I spent hours and hours and hours and....yeah, a lot of time...trying to decide what to go with.  I figured that I'd share my brain dump on my choices and my why's and others that I didn't go with but almost did.  I also plan to give some reviews on many of these.  Please comment if there is an interest in a deeper dive on any of these!



Cricket is 5 months old
Blueberry is almost 4 years old. We are doing Pre-K for him but he won't start kindergartener next year.
Tomato is in 1st grade.

I'm really focused on math and language arts. We do that daily. We try to do something from history, science, art or geography most days but I'm not stressed if we don't.


1st Grade Picks

Math:

Given my degree is in math, I was a little picky. I wanted something rigorous but that really focused on number sense. I also don't have a ton of time to deal with manipulatives, which was a bit at odds 1with my number sense goal. I ended up going with Singapore Math Dimensions as our spine plus activities from Wild Math and topic books from Math Mammoth. Tomato also plays Prodigy and we'll use Kahn Academy online as well.

I'll give Right Start an honorable mention. I liked them a lot. But ultimately we went with Singapore.

Language Arts:

Since Tomato is reading at a 3rd grade level for enjoyment (and 4th grade for instructional) I did not want to go with a whole language arts program. Over the summer we did  All About Reading level 3. I will sing the praises of this program to whomever will listen. But all we have left is level 4 so I wanted to wait until later to do it and instead focus on just reading.

Spelling: 

All About Spelling Level 1.  We went through the first few levels pretty quickly so I hope to do level 1 and 2 this school year. But we'll see how far we go. Mastery is better than speeding though!

Grammar: 

Many people will say to wait to do Grammar until later elementary.  But since I need to leave the option open to go back to public school next year so I wanted to make sure this was covered. We went with Galaxy Grammar. Tomato loves it and says that it's his favorite subject.  I think it's a little weird.
I liked the sound of Beowulf Grammar.  It's for 2nd grade and older.  I almost just went with it, but I didn't want to push him too much.  Galaxy Grammar is just a little more gentle.

Literature: 

Blossom and Root 2nd Grade. It's not really graded and I wanted to do a unit on tall tales and this open with that so it seemed perfect. I'm not committed to doing the whole year, though we'll do at least some other parts.

Handwriting:

The Good and the beautiful. I also have handwriting without tears that we'll do once we finish the good and the beautiful. Tomato struggles with handwriting so we practice this everyday 

Other ELA:

Teachers pay Teachers Units on books


Preschool subjects:

Blueberry is doing eLearning with the developmental preschool. I have very little hope that he'll get much out of it but we will try it. He's also still connected with his private preschool who is going to do something but I'm not quite sure what that will look like. And he does speech, occupational, and physical therapy each week so I try to keep his time short.

Math:

Singapore Math has a Pre-K curriculum. I went ahead and grabbed it. We have 2 years until kindergarten but we can take it slow.  We'll wait to start this after Christmas.

Language Arts:

See and Learn is as a special program developed for preschoolers with Down. It starts with sounds production and eventually leads to sight words. It feeds into a phonics based program for school aged kids with Down syndrome.

Shared Subjects:

History:

Pandia Press has a History Oddessy program about ancient history. I'm not sure how shared this will end up being as it's really more for Tomato, but I hope that Blueberry will enjoy listening to the stories.

Bookshark sells a really neat craft kit called  Hands on History that's a bunch of crafts individually wrapped and ready to go. I'll try to tie them into either stuff from the literature unit, the History Oddessy or just make up a little unit to go with them.

Science:

McRuffy Press sells science kits to go with their science units. I went with kindergarten to hopefully get something for both boys. They are very high level and not deep. I've read some evidence that it's better for kids to go deep vs wide, but I think this is fine/fun for the moment.

We did the meteorology course from The Good and the Beautiful over the summer which we are still wrapping up.

I also got the Blossom and Root plant oriented (2nd grade) science that we'll start here soon.

Art:

Artistic Pursuits preschool. Rainbow Resources sells a kit to go with the program so that seemed best. I went with preschool because I figure that Tomato can still get something out of it but it would be simple enough for Blueberry to do too.

Bible:

Tiny Truths is a great little children's Bible that has downloadable coloring pages that go with it.















Friday, July 31, 2020

Garden Envy Adventures

We've been really enjoying our little garden.  It's not much and I'm still learning lessons...and battling deer and rabbit. I'd love to have the time to make it super special.  Maybe this Fall we can make it part of the children's lessons.  I know Zander and Drew would both love that.

I really like Potager style gardens that combine edibles with beautiful flowers so the whole garden looks beautiful.  The slightly more British take is the "Cottage Garden" another philosophy of making sure the place that you grow your veggies looks pretty.  Though it is a bit less manicured looking that I'd like (and the HOA would be cool with, hah).

1) Bayless Gardens

From https://shawnacoronado.com/

My biggest source of garden envy is the Bayless Gardens in Chicago.   I would not call myself the biggest tracker of Michelin stars, but back in my wilder days as a Chicago-ite, I did indulge a bit in such things.  Rick Bayless has not only name recognition but also, he does a good job of presenting a down to earth image.

He lives in a very trendy neighborhood of Chicago called Bucktown and owns three houses.  He lives in one, rents out the other two and churns out veggies for his garden in the 3 city lots.  A standard Chicago lot is  25x125ft.  But that includes the buildings.  I've heard that the whole backyard area is only 1000 square feet, but he pumps out $200,000 worth of organic produce for his restaurants!  Interestingly, he does not practice crop rotation.  He just liberally adds compost and employs the use of beneficial flowers.  He succession sows to keep greens coming for his restaurant.  Okay HE doesn't succession sow personally so much.  He employs a team of gardeners to help tend it since a garden this size is a full time job and he's got a restaurant empire to run!  It's not just one gardener either...but a whole team so I guess I can forgive myself for not having a garden like this!

He also keeps chickens in his backyard, which is not as unusual as you might think in Chicago.  I have several friends who have them.  And he as a roof top garden at one of his other restaurants that make peppers, tomatoes and onions.


2) The Nitty Gritty Potager Blog



From The Nitty Gritty Potager
This blogger has a beautiful blog and garden!  She actually has moved over to Olde Thyme Food Garden, which also has drool worthy pictures.  I love her mixture of ornamentals along with the edibles.  She's created a great environment for all the best bugs and animals and it looks amazing.

She has great advice for every season and so many different veggies and flowers.

And, she has a wonderful Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/tanja_pickrell/

3) The Gardens at Otahuna Lodge


From https://www.otahuna.co.nz/
Otahuna Lodge is a beautiful Victorian mansion in New Zealand.  They host events in their beautiful gardens and have multiple suites for guests to stay overnight.  The potager garden grows many vegetables that the chef uses for the meals.  Guests can even help pick their own vegetables for dinner!  So cool!  I have officially added this place to my wistful bucket list of places I'd love to go.  I already wanted to see New Zealand, but this garden is just an even bigger carrot to go (pun intended).

4) Mark's Veg Plot

From https://marksvegplot.blogspot.com
I like that this garden has an eating space in it.  Although in this picture you can't see so many of his beautiful plants.  I just really love the idea of a little eating nook nestled amongst the lush greenery.  If you click here you can see some more pictures.  I'm so impressed with all the produce he can create in his lot.  He also has a great collection of good advice.




5) The Garden Roof Coop

From http://www.thegardenroofcoop.com

Here is another blogger who has a wonderfully amazing garden. The marigolds as edging are so pretty.  And functional as they attract all the right kinds of bugs and discourage several bad ones.  Plus the friendly bright colors are so inviting.  In addition to her kitchen garden, she also has some great resources on making a buttery garden!
















6) Grow Veg

From Grow Veg

Grow Veg encourages planting edibles with ornamentals, but this particular post has some great ideas.  This is actually a company that makes a garden planning software.  Interesting concept.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Vinegar Adventures

Vinegar. Amazing stuff. It's been around for thousands of years, and even in today's post-modern world, we still have few products that can compare. Don't believe me? Read on.

Vinegar was discovered by accidentally leaving wine in the barrel too long. As far back as 5000 BC the Babylonians discovered its uses as a preservative and condiment. They were the first to flavor it with herbs and spices. Cleopatra once bet that she could drink a fortune in a single night. She won it by dissolving pearls in vinegar and then drinking it. (For some reason when I have been sharing that fun-fact with my friends, they have not been as impressed as I have been....lol.) As recently as WW1 vinegar was used to disinfect wounds.

I wouldn't recommend the pearl dissolving use and modern-day disinfectants are much better, however there are many other uses which you might not be aware of. Not only do these work as well or often better than the chemicals on the market, but it is cheaper and better for the environment and non-toxic, which is key for me with my little guys.

I always keep a spray bottle of 50/50 vinegar with water around to spray on various tricky spots. For the super severe I will sprinkle baking soda over the vinegar spray and let sit for a few minutes while it bubbles. Works miracles!

I will say that a FAVORITE activity in our house is the typical vinegar/baking soda.  We posted about using it for color theory and a Halloween take on the classic kid volcano.

Vinegar reduces soap build up. The acidic component of vinegar, acetic acid, is a powerful yet safe disinfectant. It has so many uses. Below are just a few ideas. If I say "vinegar" but do not say which type, assume distilled white vinegar.


Bugs: You actually do not catch more flies with honey than vinegar. If you have a bunch of fruit flies, remove the source of the bugs and then put a cup of vinegar on your ledge.

Carpet Stains (non-oily): As soon as you discover the stain, mix 1 teaspoon liquid detergent, 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar and a pint of lukewarm water. Apply to stain with a soft brush or towel and rub gently (I prefer an old toothbrush). Rinse by blotting with a clean wet towel. Dry with a blowdryer.

Coffeepot: To disinfect a coffee pot that hasn't been used in a while or to remove hard water buildup inside it, pour 1 cup vinegar in your coffeepot, fill the rest of the way with water. Run it through a cycle as usual (sans coffee grounds). Rinse the pot out. Fill it with fresh water and run another cycle without coffee to rinse the inside of the coffee maker (as you probably don't want vinegar coffee). I try to do this about twice a year to keep my beloved coffee pot running well.

Clogged Drains: When baking soda mixes with vinegar, it foams and expands. You can use this fact to unclog your drain. Dump 1 cup of baking soda down your drain and follow it with 1 cup of vinegar. Allow a few minutes for the mixture to work, then flush with hot water for several minutes.

Dishwasher: Throw a cup of vinegar in your dishwasher and let it run a full (empty) cycle once a month or so to reduce soap build up and keep your dishwasher safe. (a good thing to add to your monthly cards.)

Icy Car Windows: Spray a mixture of three parts vinegar to one part water on your clean car windows in the winter. It will save you hours of scraping. Reapply every 2-3 weeks (best if right after going to car wash, but not required). Be careful to wipe away any of the mixture that gets in your car or on your paint as it will eat away at the paint or interior.

Fridge Smells: Pour 1 cup of apple cider vinegar into a glass and leave in fridge for 2-3 days.

Frugal Pedicure: All us ladies need one from time to time, but getting one done professionally can be very expensive. Soak two towels in a mixture of 50/50 vinegar to warm water. Wrap the towels around your feet for twenty minutes. When you remove them, wipe your feet and you will notice all the dead skin is gone, leaving you with smooth feet. Paint your toenails and you are good to go!

Mirrors: Mix equal parts vinegar with warm water. Spray onto windows and wipe. If you use a newspaper to wipe the vinegar away, a chemical reaction will occur that will get your mirrors extra shiny.

Shower head: Remove the gross soapscum and corrosion from your showerhead or facuet by wrapping a terry cloth soaked in distilled white vinegar around the showerhead or faucet overnight. Other lime-scaly bathroom products could be removed and then placed in a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water heated in the microwave. Plop the piece into the warmed mixture and remove a half hour later.

Stove-top: Spray full strength vinegar onto the baked on grit on your stove-top (or your 50/50 mixture if you have a container of it laying around, but you will need to use more). Let it set about three minutes and then go back to scrub your gunk away.

Tile Floors: Mix one part vinegar to five parts water and scrub away at your tile floors. If you dislike the smell, add a few drops of essential oils to the mixture.

Water marks on wood: If you forgot to use a coaster and have that icky water mark you can remove it by rubbing it with a mixture of equal parts of white distilled vinegar and olive oil. Rub with the grain and, for best results, polish with wood oil.


There are so many uses of vinegar. Below are a few other conglomerates of vinegar uses. What is your favorite use for vinegar?

http://www.versatilevinegar.org/usesandtips.html
http://dontdatethatdude.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/vinegar-who-knew/
http://frugaldad.com/2008/12/12/household-uses-for-vinegar-the-ultimate-frugal-solution/
http://www.vinegarbook.net/vinegar_book_household_uses.shtml
http://www.vinegartips.com/

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Homesteading Goals Adventures



As I have been researching for building out this next phase of our garden, I have stumbled across a homesteading movement on social media.  There are a bunch of different things that "homesteaders" do, but basically they try to be as sustainable and self-sufficient as possible.  Growing their own foods.  Making their own items.  Often this includes chickens or other farm animals...but that's not really in the cards for us.

Some of the things "homesteaders" do are things that I already know how to do...but maybe don't do them very often.  For example, I'm great at making homemade breads and pastas and cooking from scratch.  There's nothing like that yeasty smell of freshly baked bread.  I used to know how to sew and knit.  I could probably revive that knowledge with a bit of practice.

The aspect of homesteading that really calls to me is relying on less.  In wanting less, I'd like to rely on eating more from our garden...eventually extending the growing seasons.  Some of the volumes of stuff people grow on lots the size of ours is pretty impressive!  Also, another part of the homesteading movement that I want to aspire to is needing less and living more simply.  I want to try to not buy all the crazy toys for my kids so that they learn that they don't needs tons of stuff to be happy.

The philosopher Epictetus once said:  "Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants."  I want to raise my kids in a way that they have few wants not because they have tons of stuff, but because they realize that they don't need that stuff.

I don't plan to quit my day job.  I just plan to save more and use that extra towards building a special needs trust for little Blueberry.  And this also will reduce our carbon footprint which is also important to me.

  

I have a tendency to want to do everything at once so I am trying to break down my goals to monthly projects.

In addition to these monthly goals, my overall goal this year is to spend 15 minutes in the garden everyday.

April - Create new beds (adding about 180 square feet). Plant seedlings.  Start planting early season crops.  Finish my project calendar for expected planting and harvesting dates.


May - Lots more planting this month!  Make a compost pile.

June - Collect rain water to use in the garden. Month one of processed food detox.

July - Learn how to can.  Month two of processed food detox.

August - Learn how to ferment food and make homemade soda.

September - prepare beds for next year and make a cold frame


October - no spend month (only spend on absolute necessities)

November - knit something

December - enjoy the holidays...trying to not go all crazy on buying all sorts of stuff we don't need.  scaling down Christmas and focusing on what really matters...celebrating Jesus's birthday with those we love.

What homesteading or gardening goals do you have this year?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Newspaper Seedling Pots Adventures

I was hoping to get my first spinach, carrots, beets and chard in the garden today, but it SNOWed!!!!  What?!  That's Indiana for you.

So, instead, I decided to plant some seedlings that I was actually a bit behind on.  And I decided to try something new!  I made little seedling pots out of newspapers! 

Apparently, most newspapers are printed with soy based ink these days so are fine for composting and in this case, using as fun little free planting pots.  Masking tape is also compostable.

I plan to just plant this whole thing in the garden and let the newspaper decompose.  I'll probably open the bottom.  Also, as a side note...if you do this, make sure to put the whole newspaper under the ground, otherwise it'll just capillarity up the water to the top of the paper and let it evaporate.  If you aren't sure, that's a bad thing.  We want water in the ground, not evaporated.  So, if you plant it with the newspaper pots, just burry the newspaper and you'll be fine.

I took a piece of news paper, folded it in half, rolled it around the can such that enough was left on the bottom to fold under. 



I taped the side and then I folded it and taped it like I was wrapping a little Christmas present for myself.  If there is a little gap, that's totally fine because that just means extra drainage. 


I used a can of green beans, but you can use any jar, cup, etc that is the size you want it.  You can also make the pot any size tall.  I went with about 5 to 6 inches.  But if you are planting smaller things, you can make smaller pots.



My litte Blueberry wanted to help make little pots!





I made about 16 of them.


Then it was time to plant!  I used seed starting mix and got it wet until it reminded my little Tomato of Brownie batter.




I had this neat Hefty deep rimmed box that is a perfect little greenhouse.  I'm putting it on a sunny window sill to help with heat to germinate.  As soon as my baby plants pop out, I have a grow light for them.



Super easy...and even better, I didn't have to waste money on those peat pots!  I was a bit skeptical of the newspaper holding up to the moisture.  I even had some draining water and they seem fine.  I guess we'll see how they are in a few weeks!  I will keep you updated.

Has anyone else tried this fun little trick?

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Designer Genes Adventures

March is International Disability Awareness month and I would be remiss if I didn't bring a bit of awareness to our littlest guy, who I have been referring to as Blueberry on this blog.  To be honest, it's been hard to write this post calling him Blueberry.  I keep putting in his real name.  But hopefully I'm catching them all! 

Most people have 2 copies of each of their 23 chromosomes for a total of 46.  Our little guy has an extra copy of his 21st chromosome.  This is called Trisomy 21 or more commonly, Down syndrome.

My little Blueberry is a little sweetheart. He has the BEST laugh.  It's infectious and genuine. He gives the sweetest hugs, complete with a back pat!  But he also is going through the terrible twos and the associated tantrums.  He can throw himself on the floor with the best of them (that "always happy" stereotype is not true... he has a very rich emotional life in the best and worst ways possible).  He is master of the eye roll (adolescence hitting early, I guess). 

He loves animals, toy cars, camping, Batman and bowling. His favorite color is yellow and his favorite word is no.  His favorite hobbies include putting stickers on my walls, sneaking tastes of his play-dough and coloring on his hands. He goes to a (typical) Mom's Day Out program once a week and loves to play with his friends and do all the crafts and songs.  He especially loves the songs!  Everyday when he comes home he wants me to get his craft out of the bag so he can point to it and loves it when I hang it on our fridge or wall. So saying that he's just like any other young child is very true.


My little man loves food...he gets it from me.  His favorites are: yogurt, graham crackers and any type of noodle.  Doesn't matter the nationality.  It can be USA Mac & Cheese, Italian Ravioli or Japanese Yakisoba.  When he sees a morsel of food that he is delighted to eat, he gives an evil sounding little laugh and shoves it in his face.

He has a curious and adventurous soul.  He is always excited to visit a new spot, to experience a new activity, and to meet new people.  My Blueberry is super friendly.  He gets disappointed when strangers at the store do not wave back at him.  Our family loves to camp, hike, travel and visit new places.  He is always up for anything. Though he is a bit passive in certain ways and really enjoys sitting back and watching all the people going about their activities.  He's a people watcher.  He gets that from me, too. 

Of course, Down syndrome does come with challenges.  It takes my Blueberry longer to learn how to do certain tasks than it might take a "typical" child.  Each person with Down syndrome has different strengths and challenges.  He walks with the aid of a pediatric walker...gross motor is his biggest challenge. But, there is a lot that he can do and he is learning new things every day. 





Blueberry really just wants to participate in whatever everyone else is doing. Sometimes this requires scaffolding.  For example, since he walks with a walker, his hands aren't free to hold things. After dinner his brother is required to take his plate to the sink. So he wants to do this too. I hold him and he holds his plate. A child has never been so proud on a daily basis to help clean up the table.  He just wants to be like everyone else because he is like everyone else. 

I believe that inclusion at a young age is why so many people with differences are excelling in society today and why it's so important to continue to figure out how we make sure every has the opportunity to participate in schools, clubs, activities and work.   This is not only good for the individual but is good for everyone.  When Blueberry is included he teaches his typical peers about differences in abilities and how to be more accepting of all types of differences.  Children learn from each other and helping their peers learn a skill, re-enforces and solidifies the information for the typical child.

Whenever little Blueberry accomplishes something that is hard for him to do, a huge smile breaks across his face and his eyes beam with pride.  He claps his hands and looks around to make sure we are clapping too...and will stare/glare at us until we do.  He is inviting us to join him in his joy in that moment.  And in this way, he is teaching me to appreciate and understand the happiness and pride that comes with accomplishments big and small.

I think that Blueberry is a homesteader at heart.  He always wants to try to do everything by/for himself, he loves to take care of animals and he wants to be outside all the time no matter what the weather is!



My Blueberry is a silly, giggly, determined, inquisitive, spunky, driven, able, loving smile bucket and unique individual. He just wants what everyone wants: acceptance, love, the opportunity to reach his potential, and the ability to impact his community and his world in a positive and powerful way.

He is living a great life...a life worth living.  My Blueberry and all other people with different abilities or other differences are all created in the image of God the Father and are perfect in the way that He has designed.  At the end of the day, the most important thing is for my children to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ and make it to Heaven.  I know that I will help my boys and that they will help me.  And that is really the only thing that matters in the eternal sense.







Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Companion Planting Adventures

My goal is have about 10% of my garden full of flowers.  There are a couple reasons for this.  First, I live in a community with an HOA with rules on landscaping.  So I'll make sure there are plenty of flowers to keep my garden looking pretty!

But another major reason is that the right flowers can attract beneficial insects that eat the "bad bugs", pollinators (like bees, butterflies, moths and maybe even humming birds), or detract "bad bugs".

All of these images are from Burpee.com and clicking on the links will take you to Burpee's site where you could purchase them.



Marigolds - These cheery little blooms are power houses of benefits.  Beetles that might attack beans, melons, potatoes, cucumbers and squash hate them as do the nematodes that attack tomatoes and eggplants.  They are mostly yellows and oranges, but as you can see from the images above, come in a few different "styles".


Nasturtiums - I'm super excited about planting Nasturtiums this year.  These little guys are edible...okay, lots of stuff are edible, but these taste great in salads or candied.  You'll for sure see a few posts on my culinary adventures with Nasturtiums in a few months.  But, even better, aphids hate them.  This helps so many plants like cabbages, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers and celery.  They also help the cucumbers and celery from beetles.



Borage - Borage is another edible flower.  Some say that the flowers have a cucumber flavor and is a yummy addition to lemonade.  Actually, it's classified as an herb and the leaves have various usages as well.  It helps strawberries and tomatoes resist various pests.  It also attracts lacewings which eat lots of bugs like aphids, mealybugs, spider mites and pretty much any slow moving insect.



Zinnias - These flowers are so pretty and come in a range of colors.  They are great in a cut arrangement.  Pollinators love them, including monarch butterflies!  Also, various insects that eat "bad bugs" love them too.  But, cucumber beetles and tomato worms do not love zinnias and stay away.  Awesome!



Alyssum - These attract various insects that eat aphids.  I hate aphids because they attack cabbages, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers and celery.  They are a low growing plant that can form a nice garden cover that acts like a living mulch to prevent weeds.  They come in a few colors, mostly white and purple.


Bachelor's Buttons (Cornflower) - This one attracts flower flies, ladybugs, lacewings, and helpful wasps.  These insects eat aphids among other things.


References:
* https://www.gardenguides.com/92101-beneficial-vegetable-garden-flowers.html
* https://gardenerdy.com/good-plants-to-attract-beneficial-insects-to-your-garden


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Packing for a Sleep Study Adventure


Between my two boys, we've had 3 sleeps studies and have another one scheduled.  We divided and conqured.  I've done two of them and my husband has done one.  He'll get the next one too (mwah-haha).

Realize that you, the adult, are not going to get much sleep.  People will possibly be coming into the room at various times throughout the night.  Also, you'll be woken up to go home around 5 or 6am, depending on the hospital.

You should arrive to the sleep center with the child already in his or her pajamas.  Follow whatever instructions your doctor gave you, but typically you should avoid sugar/chocolate/caffeine and possibly keep them from napping.


For a baby:
  • Diapers/wipes
  • Snacks
  • Water/Juice/Milk (keep in mind that there might not be a fridge for you, but you can always ask to see if there is)
  • Pacifier
  • Favorite toy(s)
  • A change or two of clothes...in case of a diaper blowout, spillage, etc

For a toddler or young child:
  • Prepare by showing them several videos of other children having sleep studies.  I told Z about his sleep study 2 days before.  This was enough time for him to get used to the idea, but not so much time as to stress about it.
  • Everything from the baby list that your child might want
  • Their pillow if it is important to them (with a not-white pillow case so that it doesn't get mixed up with the other pillows.
  • The blanket from their room or bed (so that it smells and looks more like home).
  • Items to re-create any bedtime routine that is important to them.  For example, we read 3 books each night, so we brought 3 books to read before lights out.
  • You will not be able to dress them before going home, but I always bring extra clothes just in case.

For the parent:
  • Ask what sort of place they have for you.  Some sleep centers give you a small sofa, others a hospital bed and other just a chair.
  • I can't sleep without my pillow so I bring it with a differently colored pillow case.
  • A blanket.  While they will probably have something for you, it's likely to be thin.
  • A sweater
  • Comfortable clothes that you can sleep in but don't mind people seeing :)
  • Something to entertain you from lights out until you are ready to fall asleep.  I brought my kindle.  My husband brought his work laptop.  You just want it to not distract your child who will need to sleep.
  • Snacks and/or water.  There will be nothing for you to eat or drink.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Pop Up Camper Remodel - Meet Cassie the Camper!

My Mother's Day present was this new-to-us cute little pop up made the same year as my high school diploma!  That's right...it's a 2001 Jayco Qwest.  And we've named her Casita or Cassie for short.




We've been tent camping for a few years.  This is our third season. Setting up our tent was easy for a tent, but it was still about an hour counting getting the tarp under it, putting the beds in, etc.  This little lady should take about 15 minutes.  When you have two active little guys, shaving off 75% of the time is huge!  Also, while our tent was water proof, it would collapse in a strong gust so we could really only go out if the weather was near perfect.

She's not quite old enough to call "vintage".  It's just old.  But she has good bones.  And she's ours.

 There's a table and a sofa.  Our bunk is a king size and the kids is a full.  The guy said it was a queen so I'm a little bit annoyed that it's smaller, but our kids are small so I think that it'll be okay.  Both the sofa and the table could be another bed so it's not like we are hurting for sleeping places...and they usually end up in our bed by the end of the night anyways, so having a king on our side was important.

But, other than the smaller bunk being a bit smaller than hoped for...overall I'm pretty happy and ready to get started renovating it.  Over the past 3 years I've been obsessively pouring over submissions on The Pop up Princess and following threads at The Pop Up Portal so I was already planning on making new cushions, curtains, flooring, painting the cabinets.

I've made a project plan, and my goal is to take her on her maiden voyage (with us anyways) in 5 weeks.  Unfortunately we've got 3 big projects going on right now...the spring garden planting.  It's almost time to get the veggies that are not cold hardy in the ground in our zone...Tomato's 5th birthday party prep and now this...that's not counting the work we need to do in the garage so that Cassie can fit and rig up our van so it can tow.  And my 4 day work trip to San Diego this week.

 The Good:

  • There is no substantial water damage.  Subfloor is solid.
  • I love the lay out of the huge wrap around sofa
  • Comes with an oven that can be used inside or moved outside.
  • It has heat and A/C.  It gets really hot in the summer and at the ends of the season it can get pretty cold.  And you never know what you are going to get.  We camped the last weekend of September two years in a row.  One year it had a high in the upper 90s with a "real feel" in the 100's.  The following year it was 45F at night with a high of 55F.  

The Stuff to Work on:

  • The smell.  It's like bug spray and must.  Not good.
  • Door is rotted on the bottom.
  • Canvas is a little gross looking, has a few small rips and while it doesn't leak, the canvas doesn't bead the water, so it needs to be water proofed.
  • There is carpet.  Ew.
  • Cabinet top is chipped and has weird divets built in (for the oven).  I was hoping to just cover the top with something nice, but I think we'll need to rebuild it.
  • Every moving part needs to be lubricated.
  • Did I mention the smell.  I have a very poor sense of smell so I know that if I can smell it, it's got to be AWFUL.

So, let's just say that Pete and I are going to be busy over the next few months and are excited to have it all ready for some new memories!  I'm ready to get out there and make some memories with my guys!