Project Simplify – Craft Room and Computer

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The final week on Simple Mom’s Project Simplify was a choose your own adventure.  I picked my sewing area in the basement.

I haven't done alot of sewing lately, probably because the sewing area has become a dumping ground for everything that doesn't have a home.  The majority of the stuff from Waverly's closet last week just got transferred here as well as some toys and books that I removed from the downstairs homeschool/play area.  That is on top of the regular junk that needed to be put away.

I managed to get all the surfaces cleaned off.  There is actually a space for me to sew if I feel so inclined.

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My fabric collection was out of control and although some was organized much of it was in random piles and puking out of boxes.  Curt laughed at me one night as I took it all out and refolded each piece telling me that it wasn't any less just because it was folded pretty.  I did manage to get rid of a bag of it as rags and another bag to the thrift store and some just went in the trash.  I can't believe that what used to take up the whole shelving unit now only takes up two shelves.  The other shelves were freed up for craft supplies.
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By no means am I done the basement sewing area yet I still have this pile...

 

and this pile.

 

 however progress was made.


My computer also got a clean out this week, although not planned.  I spent most of the week fighting a virus on our computer and in the end did a clean install of windows.  Thankfully we didn't lose anything in the process and it appears that we are virus free so far.   I'm still a little nervous about the virus since it is one that tries to access your passwords and secure information (ie. banking).  I had to change all my passwords and now keep an eye on all my accounts more closely than usual.

A clean instal is something we do about once a year anyway on our computer and it was due.

Would you look at that beautiful clean desktop.



So there is your reminder to back up all your computer files and pictures and make sure your antivirus software is up to date.  Do it!  Now!


Lorax Inspired Truffula Trees in Girls Room

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The girls room is not finished yet but I just had to share a photo of the Truffula Trees that Curt painted on their wall.

The day that we went to watch the Lorax in the theater the girls had a sleepover at their Auntie’s house.  While they were gone we got to work.  We chose the colours using their existing bedspreads as a guide.  The walls were are now a light pinky-purple colour (Luca needed to have a pink room) and the trees are bright pink, purple  and yellow.
Curt is still working on the trim in the room and I have a few ideas for book and art storage that I want to complete.  I’ll post an updated photo when the room is complete.















I'm linking up to  Skip To My Lou's Made by you Monday





Project Simplify–Closets

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This week on Simple Mom’s Project Simplify was closets.

First on my list was Waverly’s room closet.  It was formerly the craft closet but that just wasn’t working any more.  It was getting frustrating that we didn’t have access to the things in that closet while Waverly was napping.  The closet had also become a dumping ground for things that I didn’t want to deal with or had to be cleaned off the kitchen island fast. It was basically becoming a giant junk drawer. 

I have to admit I kind of cheated on this one because most of the stuff just got shuffled downstairs in laundry baskets and boxes to be dealt with next weeks when I tackle my craft room. 

Waverly does however have a closet now for her own toys and such.

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Next on the list was the laundry room cabinets or more importantly the clutter on top of the washer and dryer.  This one was basically a matter of just putting things back where they belong and getting rid of a few garbage items.

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Lastly the back door closet.  Mostly just picking up all the junk off the floor.   I organized all the bags and put away the winter mitts & toques.

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And for a final confessional.  I tend to hold onto things so that I can dispose of them properly later.  However I never remember to bring them with me when I go somewhere I can dispose of them.  Here are 3 boxes full of used CFL light bulbs, a huge bag of dead batteries and a bag of old ink cartridges.  I think I can take the ink cartridges somewhere in town, I’ll try to do that this week.  Looks like I need a trip to Ikea so I can drop off the other stuff.  I am NOT putting them back into the closet.

 


A Little Exercise and an Attitude Adjustment

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I woke up this morning to this:

Just a few days into spring, I was enjoying the warm weather, the snow was melting away to mud puddles and the kids were outside all the time enjoying the change of scenery.  Then mother nature decides to dump just one more snow on us. Agrr, springtime in Alberta.

I shouldn’t really have been surprised, it happens every year.   Looking back at previous posts there was mention of snow last year on the first day of spring,  in March 2009 while working on siding, and April Snow in 2008.

The snowy weather today was really putting me in a bad mood.  It could have to do with 3rd trimester pregnancy grouchies and likely compounding on unfortunate events of the previous week.  I was slumping around in a funk.

I should be ecstatic today, thoroughly enjoying myself.  After all all three girls were having a day at Grandma’s and I had the place to myself, but instead I was being Debbie Downer, whaa, whaa whaa.

Curt’s suggestion to me was to go out and get some exercise and then write a thankful post.

I went outside to get some fresh air and shovel off the decks and he was right, it felt good.

Now it’s time for a change in attitude. 

I am thankful for Nollie’s creativity and believing anything is possible.

I am thankful for Luca’s new found love of music and dancing, puts a smile on my face every time

I am thankful for Waverly’s cuddles, she gives the best hugs right now.

I am thankful for baby 4’s kicks and the amazing feeling of life inside my own body.

I am thankful for Curtis not accepting excuses and for telling me to exercise (even though at the time it makes me want to punch him in the face).


What are you thankful for?

Project Simplify - Kitchen

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This week on Simple Mom’s Project Simplify we moved onto the kitchen. 

I basically emptied out every cupboard and drawer in my kitchen, cleaning, decluttering and organizing.

I am in love with my newly organized pantry.  I put my label maker to good use and labeled all the containers.  I knew what was in each one but anyone else may not have, and the blue labels just look lovely.  I also took all the empty jars downstairs where they belong.

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My favorite part is the plastic bin you can see on the right of the picture below.  I used this to corral all the bags of beans & rice.  I also added a tray to the lower shelf below to hold all the oils & vinegars.  They are in the same place but it just looks tidier.

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The spice drawer, more labeling and putting bags of spice into jars.  So much nicer without bags.

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Cutlery, I removed half of the cutlery from the drawer and put it up for when we have a large number of guests over.  The drawer also looks nice because Waverly hasn’t had a chance to rearrange it yet, her favorite thing to do while we are baking at the island.

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I finally threw out the tea that I didn’t like but have been keeping in my cupboard forever.

I gave my fridge a deep cleaning. It was going to be just a quick wipe down but turned into a whole morning ordeal including ungluing the glass shelves that had been glued down by spilt milk, yuck.

Just a couple of weeks ago I defrosted and cleaned out my deepfreeze so that was one part I didn’t have to worry about, yay!

I didn’t get to my upstairs freezer but I did my duty eating the nearly freezer-burnt chocolate ice cream from in there, all in the name of decluttering.

 

Happy Pi Day

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I don’t know about you, but I totally get a kick out of the idea of Pi day.  You know March 14th… 3.14…. Pi…. Math, remember that.  Maybe it’s the nerd in me.

Anyway, Happy Pi Day!

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Go make a Pie.

Project Simplify–Kids’ Stuff

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I’ve decided to participate in Simple Mom’s Project Simplify to help assist me with some spring cleaning.
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Week one’s project was Kids’ stuff.  I thought this one would be  pretty easy for me since I seem to go through the kids items on a fairly regular basis but I’m at the difficult part now, I’ve gotten rid of the easiest stuff and I know I need to get rid of more but I just can’t bring myself to do it.  I spent a lot of time this week just wandering around staring at the kids things and doing nothing.
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Looking at the before and after photos didn’t show much of a difference so I started to list the things I did accomplish.
  1. We pulled out all the stuffed animals and got rid of two.
  2. We picked up all the  paper, tissue, styrofoam bits, and other garbage that found its way onto the floor of the girls areas.
  3. We tidied up the girls room putting everything back in the appropriate container and removing any items that didn’t have a proper home.
  4. I gave the girls room a good dust & vacuum.
  5. I culled the girls magazines getting rid of any damaged ones and putting them all back in one place, a basket in their room.
  6. I re-shelved books, moving them to the appropriate areas and got rid of a dozen.
  7. I picked through the Barbie items as the girls played with them and got rid of a few broken dolls & items.
  8. I moved the majority of Waverley’s cloth diapers downstairs since we are now in the potty training phase.
  9. The basement play/homeschool area got a basic clean up. Mostly it was just a matter of throwing away trash and putting toys away.
  10. I hung up some hooks for dress-up and costumes
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I’m trying to remove items from each area that don’t have a place and I know that many of these items are the ones I need to get rid of. I guess that is my next step, getting the stuff out of the house before the girls drag it back into the play areas.
Maybe that’s ok for me. I don’t need to do a huge purge all in one go and get rid of a ton of stuff. Baby steps work too, just a little every day and I’ll get there.
 

Then on Saturday morning the opportunity arose for us to redo the girls room so we completely cleared it out
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Pictures of the finished room to come when I get it all put back together.

Update:  Here's a link to the painted girls room

Penny Cleaning Experiment–Remembering to Let Learning Happen

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We took advantage of the beautiful weather outside last week to do a science experiment on the deck.  I had chosen the penny experiment from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas that I found on Pinterest.

I sent the girls to hunt around the house for pennies while I gathered our other supplies.  We met up on the deck.

I first had the girls count their pennies in to piles of ten, having them choose their dirtiest ones.  We had a two year old with us so the piles of pennies soon got demolished.  It wasn’t really a big deal how many pennies were in each pile anyway, I was just giving them something to do while I got set up.

We added our ingredients to each bowl. The first with water only, the second with soap and water  and the third with vinegar and salt. 

We made predictions about what would happen in each bowl and which would clean the pennies best. 

We dumped our pennies in and since they needed to do SOMETHING each girl got spoon and were in charge of stirring one bowl.

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Luca immediately wanted to add more things to her bowl, more salt, some vinegar, water, anything.  I held her off explaining that we wouldn’t know which worked best if we added more or different ingredients. 

Nollie understood this concept but wanted to see what would happen with all things together, water, vinegar, salt, and soap, so we got a new container to try that out too.

Soon Luca could no longer contain herself and was switching bowls with the other girls and then dumping hers and Waverly’s together, added more dish soap and was trying to get ahold of the salt and vinegar.

Luckily we could see pretty quickly what was happening, the pennies in the  salt/vinegar and even Nollie’s everything mix were getting cleaner than just water or water and soap.

We had a quick chat about the experiment and which solution worked best and then I took the materials inside, before the whole box of salt was dumped or any more soap was squirted.  I told the girls they were free to muck around and play with what was left while I got lunch ready.  They were so excited, “We can mess around!”

Isn’t that what science is  all about, testing their own hypothesis.  Trying things out themselves, answering their own questions about how the world around them works?  Not just following an experiment exactly out of a book. Sometimes its easy to get caught up in doing what was planned for the day and forget that one of the reasons I chose homeschooling is to keep the love of learning alive.  Besides, if the whole box of salt did get dumped I’d only be down a couple bucks, not much compared to the joy in learning.  Thankfully, I was relaxed enough and didn’t get upset that it didn’t go exactly as planned.   In turn the girls stayed interested and had lots of fun. 


As we were cleaning up, we dumped all of the liquid into a large jug.  The girls thought it looked like bubble solution, they had to test it out… so I brought out the bubble blowers.

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Terwillegar Rec Centre Pool Review

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We recently visited the Terwillegar Rec Centre in Edmonton, one of the most recently built recreation facilities in the area.  I thought I would share a little about the aquatic part of the facility and what we thought of it.

The complex is really easy to get to off of 23Ave NW close to Terwillegar Drive.  There are a couple of different parking areas but we chose to park near entrance 2 (by the ice rinks).  We were visiting at 1:30pm on a Thursday afternoon so it was quiet and there were not many vehicles but we still had to park quite a distance away.  There were 15 accessible parking spots near the front that were all empty pushing the regular parking area further back.  I understand the need for accessible parking but I thought the number was a little excessive.

When we got into the building there was good signage and it was  fairly easily find the front desk to pay.

Expensive Admission

These types of large recreation centres are set up so that you pay a day rate and you can use all parts of the facility for the entire day.  There is no option to pay less to use just one part of the complex.  At the Terwillegar Rec Centre in addition to the aquatic facility that we were planning to use, there is a fitness centre and track, a child’s wing with an indoor playground and child minding, 3 full sized gymnasiums and 4 NHL sized hockey rinks.  At a price of  $30 for a family day pass the Terwillegar Rec Centre  is one of the more expensive rec centres in the area.  I will note that the family day pass is not limited to a certain number of children, which I know larger families will appreciate.  As a comparison the Tri Leisure Centre in Spruce Grove is $20 for a family of 5.

The boot racks are located in the hallway to the change rooms.  They were congested and it was inconvenient to keep kids out of the way of the people passing through.

Family Change Rooms OK 

The facility has a family change room which is appreciated if you are going as a whole family and want to tag team getting the kids ready.  The family change area is set up so that it is basically open to the public, you can see right through from one end to the other.  This is not really a big deal since you don’t normally change in the open areas of a family change room,  instead you use individual stalls, but I found it  a little weird.  

The individual family changing rooms with a door were a bit small for a family of 5.  They contained a shower and a change bench and did not contain a toilet, which was a pain since everyone in our group had to go pee and would get naked and then have to run out through the semi-public area to the one toilet that was in the family area.  Call me spoiled but I’ve really gotten to like the family change rooms in some of the other area facilities that have a toilet, shower and bench in each room, they make getting changed as a young family quick and easy.  Some kids can be using the toilet while others are getting undressed and others getting their suits on.

The showers were cold, which being a pool goer I know it could have been just at that moment but it makes it hard to convince kids to wash off their messy faces before getting in the pool when the water is ice cold.  Walking out into the pool area cold air fans were on causing us to get even more of a chill before we hit the water.

Wave Pool With a Lazy River

Our first stop was the large wave pool straight ahead.  The pool had stairs going down to it or a large ramp going off to the side.  The pool has a gradual decline making it nice for young children such as Wavy (2) to pick a depth that they are comfortable with to play in.  There were various spraying apparatuses in this pool which Wavy was not interested in but other kids were enjoying.  They were having trouble with the wave machine during our visit and so the waves only came on two times but we were happy to use this pool as a regular old swimming pool. 

Connected to the wave pool is a lazy river that has jets to push you around.  The girls all loved to cycle this area around and around, swimming and being pushed by the jets, they even had baby floaters available so you could put your little ones in and they could float with you through the lazy river.

Slide

Next we sessioned the slide, taking each of the older girls (4 and 5) up one at a time.  The girls were each able to go down the slide by themselves with no problems.  There was a light at the top to control the timing of sliders.  Curt and I both found the turns on the slide to be a little tight, they made me dizzy and Curt thought it was quite bumpy at the joins but the girls thoroughly enjoyed it and probably would have cycled it all day.

Not-so “Tot” Pool

Next we went to the warm tot pool where at the shallowest point it was over Wavy’s (2) shoulders and at the deepest place over her head.  Our older two girls (4 and 5) could touch everywhere.  There was a small bench at the deeper end where we could sit and Wavy was able to stand.  Nollie and Luca really enjoyed swimming around in this pool and being warmer than the other pools it was enjoyable to just sit in and let them play without having to worry that they would go somewhere too deep.  I find it funny that they call it a tot pool when the pool was much to deep for a “tot” to stand or sit and play.   I wish it had a shallower area for babies to sit and splash around.

Getting back to they wave pool or any of the the other pools was really inconvenient from the warm pool.  With wheelchair ramps going out of the tot pool and into the the wave pool you had to walk all the way around the tot pool to get to anything else.  With a slow walking toddler and the cold air still blowing, by the time you got to your next destination you were freezing cold.

Amazing Diving/Lane Swimming/Teaching Pool

The other end of the facility consisted of a large lane swimming / diving pool.  I thought this pool was really neat.  During our visit this pool was set up as a diving pool with 1 and 3 meter diving boards and a 5 meter platform.  The girls were able to go on the lower diving boards with a life jacket.  Connected to this and separated by a moving platform divider were 8 - 25meter lanes open for lane swimming.  This pool is a variable length pool and the divider could be moved to take over the diving area and set the lanes to 50meter lengths, great for swim meets.  At the other end of the lane pool but still connected by a platform/divider was a variable depth pool.  This section of the pool could be set to different depths depending on who was using it.  What an amazing tool for teaching swimming lessons, just set it for the ability level you are working with.

Hot Tub, Steam Room and Equipment

The hot tub was hot and deep and oh so great but being pregnant I can’t tolerate too much of it so we just had a quick visit there.  There was also a steam room, but we didn’t check it out.

All throughout the aquatic facility equipment was available to use at no extra cost.  Lifejackets, flutter boards, noodles, kiddy toys, flippers for lane swimming, etc. were all on display for you to take as you needed.  Coming from a local pool where you have to pay for lifejacket use and where pool noodles are reserved for classes only and not for public swimming I appreciated this.

Excellent Emergency Preparedness

As a side note, not something you will likely have to deal with when you visit the Terwillegar Recreation Centre, but its good to know their emergency preparedness is great.  As we were getting changed back into our clothes the fire alarm went off.  We quickly threw just enough clothing on everyone and went out.  We all gathered within aquatic facility near an emergency exit to await further instructions.  Although we saw the fire trucks arrive and go to check things out we got the OK to continue what we were doing shortly after.  I thought the lifeguards and staff did a great job of getting everyone out of the pools and change rooms and staying calm during the situation.

Photos and Scheduling

I didn’t bring my camera or take any pictures at the facility however the Edmonton Journal has a gallery of photos from the opening of the  rec centre that you can view here.

For further information and scheduling you can check out the Terwillegar Recreation Centre on the City of Edmonton Website.

Library Lego Fun

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The girls entered their first Lego competition this week at the local library.  They were both excited to bring in their pieces.

Luca’s Airplane

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Nollie’s Trike

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I absolutely adore our local libraries.  They definitely offer so much more than just books.

ps. If you are in town, go down to the main branch and vote on your favorite Lego creations.

Muffin Crumbs

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Ugh, muffins.  Every time we have muffins my floor looks like this…

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or worse, this…

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If there are berries or chocolate chips etc. in the muffins then my kids like to dig around mining them out and making a pile of crumbs on the table, chair and floor.  But even today with no treasures to mine out of the muffins we still ended up with crumbs everywhere.

Maybe someone should teach them to eat with their face over their plate, whose job is that?

The Silver Lining:  At least I know my floor will get swept after we eat muffins…. and they taste good too.

A Game With Stuffies

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When no one else will play with you why not have a game with your stuffies.

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Luca loves to play board games and being a board game lover myself I hate to say no to a game request, however there are times that I just can’t.  In the past couple months there have been a few occasions where Luca has set up her stuffies to play a board game with her.

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Each time it has been her idea and afterword's she will tell me intricate stories about who won or how the game played out.

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Isn’t the imagination of a 4 year old amazing?

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