Notes from here…

Happy Feast of the Epiphany! It’s so cold here!! Our temperatures have not budged above the freezing mark for days and snow is expected soon! SNOW!!! What a special delight! We’re planning all kinds of snow fun for our lessons if we get to see a bit of snow. One of the treasures we’re most excited about is perhaps seeing a snowflake up close outside using the new Pocket Microscope from Lee Valley the children received as a Christmas gift from Uncle Chris! What fun that will be…IF the snow comes…and in Alabama, that’s a big IF! Still, we’re excited! And cold!

This week has been one of easing back into our rhythm and routine, and it has been challenging, but also enjoyable in returning to the pace, work and cheer of our normal days. I’m working very hard on staying faithful to the little things here, and I can tell you it’s a challenge for me after last week’s delightful leisure!

I’m sitting here during our afternoon break and in looking around I thought my desk looked so cheery after I BRUTALLY cleaned it of its many piles of lists and books and projects. Anyway, it was so bright and merry in here with all the sunshine even in spite of the frigid temps outside, I thought I’d take a few pictures to share with you!

I had to share this picture. This little calendar is so cheery in front of me, as are all of Alice’s creations. She shared this so generously and I immediately scooped it up. I cut a blue floral folder (this folder was in the shape of a plain manilla folder, but it was a pretty blue floral that I thought would make a good backing) slightly bigger than the calendar cards, hole punched all, placed 2 clips in the top and used the blue folder to hang my calendar on my file basket which sits on my desk. Perfect for keeping focused on the days at hand!

This little fella was wrapped up under the tree for me from Rob and the kids! Isn’t he adorable?

I tidied my essentials basket and I can tell you that it is infinitely more useful now! There is nothing quite like fresh note paper, sharpened pencils, clips at hand, and a favorite brass bell for ringing in the next half of the year! A collection of *favorite things* makes me smile!

Here is my pride and joy! Ok…not really…but, does it qualify for extremely useful and pretty? I have had, and used with great frequency, a cousin of this little jewel for several years now – the Dymo Letra Tag. When I purchased the Dymo, my first label maker, I really didn’t know what I wanted or what to look for, but the idea of a label maker appealed to me as I was tired of printing on my computer and affixing with packing tape. Anyway, it lasted several good years of use before it broke a couple of months ago. I’ve missed it. This time my search was different. This time I knew what I was looking for. I had preferences. My choice was the Brother P Touch 1290, a sleek little tabletop version with lots of options that meets my needs perfectly (side note – I purchased for half off the listed price from Amazon by purchasing NEW through an Amazon Marketplace vendor)! Things I love:

:: It prints laminated labels – very important for labeling in the kitchen and being able to wipe surfaces)
:: Different font options (oh, I just LOVE font options)
:: Decorative options – like a pretty scrolled ivy pattern that will border a label (my personal fav), and a lot of others
:: Plenty of tape choices and all available from Amazon – nothing like shopping from your laptop and never having to leave home!
:: I had a personal preference for a tabletop version, but you can also find other label makers like this in a hand held version.

Check out these delicious labels…

And, finally…I had to share with you a collection of ribbons and string which my daughter hung in a decidedly useful way behind my desk. We’ve found these to be so helpful in the everyday! We go to them frequently and I can’t believe I ever had some of these tucked away.

Isn’t it amazing how finding a creative way to make something accessible and pleasing to look at makes it a little more useful, or at least making it accessible and attractive invites more use, which is more likely the case. Either way, the little collection of ribbons and strings is pleasing to see, and simple to get to now. I thought it would be fun to share.

The ribbons on the wooden spools are a collection from the Sundance catalog – the velvet ribbons, the grosgrain ribbons, and perhaps one day I shall delight in the addition of the baker’s cord! (I came to possess these delightful ribbons because a dear friend shared her delight over finding them in the catalog – our Christmas crafting would not have been as beautiful or as decorative without the addition of these! Thanks very much, Lindsay!!) We added a few of our own treasures – some cotton cording, utility twine, and waxed linen, which is one of the most useful things! (I wish I could find a source for this. Ours is a hand-me-down treasure, which I confess to being very protective of and discriminating as to its use, from my mom’s days of homeschooling and her old craft box.)

I hope you are all enjoying these days of Christmas and that after a season of hope you are all experiencing great joy at HIS arrival!

I do hope you’ll forgive me for posting another picture of our cheery spot here, but I’m loathe to get outside and snap pictures in the bitter cold and I thought you’d enjoy at least gazing upon that label maker!! Now, back to lessons for me…and then some reading…and warm chili by the fire! Hope you’re all staying warm with hot cocoa and fireside reading!

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  1. I LOVE the ribbon! The catalog page is still on my refrigerator, and are, alas, not a part of the Christmas clearance as I'd hoped they would be. I may have to buy them for my husband for his birthday this month. (just kidding;)

  2. Ok, nothing to with do with label-making,etc., but are those red bins of machine parts Lego Dacta or…? I've been thinking about doing a sort of machinery project with the boys. Although it looks as if they want to make the characters from James and the Giant Peach right now.

    Enjoy your snow if you get any! We finally got a bigger snow and are familiarly encased in 3 ft. drifts again. I would send you some if I could get it there without melting! 😉 LOL

  3. I loved seeing your pictures! It has been fun to get back into the swing of things after the holidays. I see you have the Stepped Counting Blocks – I have almost purchased those several times – are they very useful? The girls have discovered “Pattern Play” wood blocks and we love those! Have some happy snow days!

  4. This is lovely! Your first photo with the bookshelf/shelves in the background caught my eye. I've been looking for ideas for our new schoolhouse – and everything I've found for homeschool rooms looks pretty bland – functional but not exciting. I love the look of your room for some reason… 🙂

  5. I hope you do get some snow. We've already gotten more here in NW Arkansas than we do all winter most years. Last year we had no snow at all! 🙂

  6. Hi gals!

    The counting block tower IS terribly inviting! The two littlest received it as a Christmas gift so I can't give you rave reviews yet. Peanut (my 5yo) has enjoyed using it this week, and it does seem to inspire the imagination. Right now, it is being used for basic counting and comparing sizes.

    The red bins labeled with *inclined planes, levers, pulleys, etc* are K'Nex kits I'm using for a simple machines course my 4th grader and I are enjoying. I've got a post in draft on it with links…I'll see if I can get it up here later today so you can see some links! The K'Nex kits are so useful. I thought we only really needed legos for building toys – I was wrong! These are great!

  7. Jen, I have to say first I love reading your blog. Your organizing skills are so inspiring. I was wondering if maybe you could give a young mother of two babies under 2yrs of age in a very small apartment some advice. I am in great need of a purging of childrens' toys after Christmas, but I am unsure how to decide what to keep and what to give away as I do anticipate there will be more children to come in the future. How do you go about such a task? Thanks again and keep up the wonderful blogging!

  8. Casey said:
    >>>>I was wondering if maybe you could give a young mother of two babies under 2yrs of age in a very small apartment some advice. I am in great need of a purging of childrens' toys after Christmas, but I am unsure how to decide what to keep and what to give away as I do anticipate there will be more children to come in the future. How do you go about such a task?<<<< I'd be happy to give it a shot, Casey! You're sweet to ask! I do have some…um….definite opinions about what lives here in our spaces in terms of toys. If they're helpful at all I'll share them! You're a good mama to start guarding and carefully tending this while your kids are still young…before the toys are in full blown take-over mode!!! I'll try to get something together soon. 🙂 Thank you all for your kind words…and Heather…go get that label maker out of storage and start labeling, girl!!!!! LOL!

  9. What a fun post! Thank you for once again giving us a peek of your inspirational learning room! 🙂
    I too have a Brother labeler and love it! This is what I use to label all of my liturgical year files!

    God Bless!

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