School At Home

November 10, 2020 at 8:07 am (Home Changes and Additions, Tid Bits) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This year has been a wild one, that’s for sure. It’s been so different from the norm for many of us. But, one things remains the same. We want our kids to learn, and we want them to have the best opportunities possible. So, no matter what type of schooling you are doing, these ideas can be for you!

We are doing online schooling this year. Classes are via computer, but mom facilitates. Optimal? No. But we are making the best of it. My best tip so far? Find a space and make it for learning. Boundaries and expectations help learning go well!

You don’t need a whole room, maybe a corner, or a table, or even a certain table cloth, and when it comes out, its time to learn. I had always worked from home a lot and happen to have space in my office that I was able to convert to a learning space. Don’t worry, even if your space is much smaller, these ideas can help you too!

I have several tips for routine, but this will just be about supplies for today.

My second?! Keep it fun!! Third tip?! Get a map!

Look at how we combined both with this animal map canvas from Photo Wall! How cute is this thing?!

Photo Wall is amazing for any Wall decor really. They make wall decals, framed prints, posters, and canvases. You choose the art, the size, the material, and can even customize it! These would be amazing in kids’ rooms and nurseries, or even as an awesome accent wall!

Its details like this that really make your learning space fun and keep kids engaged. We knew Brantley needed a map for a lot of his Social Studies work, and looking things up on the computer really wasn’t cutting it. This map not only shows what he needs, but keeps his interest with the animals and details. He’s taken such an interest now! I plan to add a few more maps like this now too! And of course, you can fit them to your space.

Human anatomy? Plants or leaves? Turn them into a fun canvas or poster to make the learning fun!

Tip 4 & 5- Have your supplies accessible, and keep them organized. Again, your space doesn’t need to be huge, but if you can find your supplies and access them easily, you will be more likely to do so. Hands on activities teach concepts so much better. Like using the scissors, ruler, markers, paints… engages and sinks in. It could even be a tote of supplies that comes out with the table cloth when learning time is happening!

I’m no pro yet, but I can tell you that I’m learning right along with the kids. You can do it, and even better with some simple tweaks!

And back to my gushing about this map canvas, because it really is my pride of decorating the classroom. πŸ˜‰ Here is my map link. And use code makemineeclectic25 on your purchase from Photo Wall too! Your walls will truly thank you, in a classroom or not!

What tips would you add for schooling at home?!

XX,

Jess

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Deck Reveal

August 31, 2020 at 6:22 pm (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Its been a two year wait since moving into this house and several weeks of work this summer… but she’s finally done! We have a deck!!

Now mom has a spot to relax and watch the family magic happen! πŸ˜‰

Yes, its huge! The land directly behind the house used to be another house attached. This left the ground hilly, dead, full of bricks and glass, and in general, useless. So, cover it up we did. We filled in two giant cisterns and started a deck slab. Next year we will add a pergola to the blank spot of house where the table is now. We will put a pool in down below and then the following year add another piece of deck to half wrap around the pool. It will be the ultimate dream area when we are finished.

We do still want to add trellis to the bottom to keep everything out, but that will happen this fall.

One thing that was super important to us when adding the deck was having some shade, as we have very little from the one small existing tree.

My favorite umbrellas?! From Abba Patio! (You can use code La10 on your order with them too!) The 11 foot red stripe is gorgeous! And so easy to use. We custom installed it with brackets we made, but it can go on a table or a base as well. This keep it so much cooler in the shaded areas!!

Next I need to find some outdoor rugs to tie in the different areas. Suggestions?? I’m being so indecisive!

Also, looking for an outdoor sectional. Maybe a hot tub?! 😜

The table and chairs are from Menards. The wood lantern is from Walmart, along with the orange striped pillow and turquoise planters. The beach bag below is from Amazon.

The kids table is Step 2 and an awesome thing to have if you have littles. We use it all the time!

Tip- use a beach bag or tote like the one below to hold your deck or patio essentials. We take it in at night and bring out each day. Super helpful to keep things corralled while not getting ruined being left outside. We keep sunscreen, bug spray, santizer, sunglasses, beach towels, a speaker, and anything we want for the day inside. So handy!!

XX,

Jess

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Muscatine Iowa Area Sightseeing

July 13, 2020 at 8:12 pm (travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Summer is here! We’ve been quarantined long enough, so we are off to see all the sights, but distantly! So, we thought we would round up some of the things to do and see outside and at a distance, here in Muscatine area, Iowa. Enjoy!

1. Wilcat Den and Saw Mill- this is one of my family’s favorites in the area. Its historic and beautiful and there is plenty to do here! You can camp or stop for the day, hike the many trails, and explore the historic buildings. There is a school and an old church and even a mill. The old bridge over the stream at the mill is a gorgeous sight to behold. PLUS… you can swim in the stream and go up to the waterfall! Its an amazing experience and the whole family loves doing it!

2. Weed Park- one of the best parks I’ve found, anywhere. Picnic areas, pavilions, historical plaques and sights, gorgeous views of the Mississippi, beautiful landscaping, and a pond with ducks, geese, and fishing for kids. Plus, they have two playgrounds that are awesome. And once back to normal they have a waterpark. Totally worth a visit for everyone in the family.

3. Discovery Park- during normal times, they have an indoor center to see interactive wildlife features and even take classes. Currently, you can still see all they have to offer outside. There are numerous trails to walk, most paved, through gorgeous views, wildflower patches and even see wild animals. They have a butterfly garden and owls outside to view too. They also have a pond where you can fish!

4. Muscatine River Front- plenty to do down here, even distantly! You may not be visiting the pearl button factory museum right now, and even the splash pad is not turned on yet, but it’s still a beautiful, relaxing, and even entertaining area of Muscatine. You can walk the gorgeous river front, even stopping to read the plaques about the city history. You can play at the play ground. You can even take photos with the clam digger statue. And there are a few downtown restaurants up the block that offer outside dining!

5. Swinging Bridge- you have to drive about 15 minutes out of town for this one, but worth the drive. The Swinging Bridge in Columbus Junction is a sight to not miss. We visit each year for the views and a photo. Read about the bridge’s history, walk across if you dare, snap some photos, and even hike the lower trails. You will love this one!!

While you are out in the Columbus Junction area, you can see the historical marker for Convict Highway! πŸ˜‰ Just a super old road, but you can read about how the convicts of the time built it!

Muscatine also offers several parks with awesome playgrounds, a skate park, and a disk golf course. Plus plenty of sites indoors once that is safe again!

We also love to camp and boat. I can recommend places for that too! Enjoy! πŸ˜‰

XX,

Jess

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The Landing Strip

April 20, 2020 at 1:29 pm (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A landing strip, a command center, the drop spot. No matter what you call it, every house should have one. It’s a place for all the family “stuff”.

I call it a landing strip. In this house we actually have it split up a little, but it’s whatever works for you! When you come in our backdoor, we have hooks for each family member. Bag and coat go there. There’s a little hook station for car keys. And we have a small rack holding bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, wireless speaker, etc. But there’s still other “stuff” that accumulates. What do you do with it?! Enter our landing strip.

He we have a stash spot for everything else so that we stay organized and don’t lose important things! We use the chalk board for calendar notes and grocery lists. And each of the boys and mom and dad have a basket. We put bills in ours. The boys put homework and such in theirs. I keep a pen jar on the shelf. Here is stash stamps, a candle lighter, a marker, and pens. If you need more than that they you have to go upstairs to the office. πŸ˜†

The antique mirror got a metal insert painted with chalk paint. The little chalk marker tray below it is an antique door stop out of an old barn. The baskets are from Hobby Lobby. The shelf is a custom design I requested from Jason. He added and welded the flourish at the top of the brackets.

Here’s my tid bit of advice. Have a place for the “stuff”, whatever you may call it. I truly believe in “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Even if you don’t organize that far, at least set up a zone with a calendar and pens and notepad. Have a spot where you put mail and homework. Always put your keys in the same location. I promise you that these tricks will prevent you from losing important things or searching frantically for the lost items!

And just for fun, here’s a shot of what it looks like more often than not. πŸ˜‰

Anything else you would add?

XX,

Jess

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Bathroom Update

March 25, 2020 at 6:47 am (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I thought we were going to live with the 85% bathroom update for a while. But we got a little shove to take it to 98% done now. 🀣 What this means is that we redid the flooring! Yay! And we added a mirror and a couple more custom shelves in the laundry room.

We used snap-in wood and vinyl flooring and it was super easy! Except for dealing with the uniqueness of an antique house with crooked walls and missing trim, etc, but we managed and it’s been amazing and seems super durable already. We ended up going with large quarter round as trim because we need to hide some of those flaws from a very old house. But I love the look here!

The ONLY thing left is to replace the faucet. Soon. We are going to live with the sink and counter top for a while, but I can deal with that.

How cute are the little shelves holding laundry items?! We made them the same way, with plumbing pipes and hand whitewashed boards.

Remember, this is a mini refresh, (see the before shots, yikes, 2 posts back!) not a total overhaul, so this girl will still have to dream of one day having a stacking washer and dryer and wall cabinetry. This is gorgeous to me for now! πŸ˜‰

Xx,

Jess

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Bath/Laundry Room Update

February 11, 2020 at 8:38 pm (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We knew we wanted a fixer-upper, and we sure got it with this one! But we are enjoying putting in the work and making it into what we want for a home. The bathroom was no exception. We can’t afford a complete gut and overhaul of every room (I wish!), so this is a little refresh.

Before:

After:

We will put a new faucet in soon and plan to redo the bath and laundry room floors in a few months. But for now, wow. Its clean. Its peaceful. I’m in love.

We made the bathroom hook boards because in old houses you are at the mercy of where the studs may or may not be when hanging things. Attach the hooks in the spacing you want and then attach the boards to the wall where the studs allow.

We also made the shelves ourselves and hand “grayed” the boards by smearing white paint with fingers. Tedious but so worth it. The brackets are plumbing hardware and can be found at Mendards. We painted the parts with a light oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

We made the jar light fixture by painting the old silver fixture with oil rubbed bronze paint and adding the jars. We took solid jar lids and made holes in them to fix the jars to the fixture. Once it’s all painted you can’t see what method you used to attach them.

All on a budget for a quick fix up. We did add a new shower, as ours was a walk in when we bought the house and we needed a tub for the kids. Paint and curtains, and especially shelving, make a huge, but affordable difference!

Here are some fun detail shots.

A few detail links:

Curtains

Towels

Light fixtures

Amber jars

Wood laundry sign

Laundry rack

What do you think? Any recommendations?

Xx,

Jess

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Boys’ Room Reveal

August 8, 2019 at 7:22 pm (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’ve worked on it for a year and I can finally say it’s as done as it’s getting right now. 🀣 When we moved to this house a year ago and I was pregnant, we decided the boys would share a room. This way I could have an office, and the office would double as a play room/workout room, so that kids could be in there while I worked if needed. I also knew that I wanted an outdoors-y theme that could work for both a baby and a young boy. Brantley already had a farm theme as a baby, with many pieces we wanted to incorporate, and he asked for camo bedding in his new room. If you’ve been here before, you also know that when we moved to this house it needed a lot of work. A lot. We ripped carpet out of this room, added electrical outlets and a light fixture, painted… and we still have more to do…eventually. But for now, here it is!

Each of the boys has a bit different theme on their side of the room, but with light gray walls, tree curtains, tree decals, and some animals throughout, it seems to flow for now.

Barrett’s baby shower theme was woodland animals, knowing that I would use the animal and nature idea for his room.

Brantley has kept some of his farm theme and added the camo to just be plain outdoorsy!

I made both of the boys’ mobiles, which Brantley has outgrown the need for, but are both too cute to get rid of for now.

What do you think? The way we organize clothes will change as the boys grow and we remodel some more. The room currently has no closet. Thanks, old 1862 house. It’s an evolving work in progress. But the boys love having their own space and even love sharing for now. πŸ˜†

XOXO,

Jess

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The Fake Chimney

December 9, 2018 at 11:12 am (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This ancient house once had a chimney, two actually. In fact, one is still partially there. In the living room, you can see the shape of the old chimney up one wall. Usually I love character and uniqueness from times past. In this case, though, they covered this chimney up since there was no longer a fireplace. Then, since you could still see the shape of it, they added faux brick to it. Horrible, ugly, pinkish faux brick. It didn’t stand out nearly so bad when the little old lady who lived here previously had the room dark, dingy, and covered in nude paint and odd decor. But once we painted the walls grey, lightened the room, and completed changed the style, the chimney stood out like a sad, sore thumb.0ec56792a3b0f484bcf03c32a4763bf50bca28e68adedf8191

You get the picture here, but unfortunately this is even a mid-project shot. I really wish I had a picture of the drab room when the previous owner lived here to show!

We debated for a while. Do we tear it out? Do we paint it? Do we just take the faux brick off and embrace the odd shape in the room?

One day I said I was painting the bricks white and because we owned the paint and this was “free”, it would at the very least be a temporary solution and that we could always do something different down the road when we had more time. (Ha!)

No one stopped me, so I went forward with a brush and some paint. My plan was to add a couple of coats and make them completely white. One coat in I found that it was actually a bit difficult to get the paint down in all the crevices. We left the one, imperfect coat to dry for a night. The next day we realized the this “whitewashed” look was it. I didn’t need a second coat at all.

Then I wanted a faux mantel to finish it off. Several weeks of debating with each other ensued. I had a very specific picture in my mind of color, shape and size.

We finally have that little mantel, made of 100-some year old barnwood, added to our chimney. And I LOVE it.

Sometimes tiny, simple, easy projects turn into more lengthy and complex ones. Ok, usually. But, when you are done and sit back and look at your work, that makes it all worth it

Don’t mind the empty wall next to it, at least the Christmas tree fills the space for now. I have plans for huge floating shelves all up and down there as “built-ins” for the room. Any guess how long that will take us? πŸ˜‚

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Teen Bedroom Redo

November 9, 2018 at 10:10 pm (Home Changes and Additions, Our New House) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

So, I’ve mentioned that this new-to-us old house is in pretty ugly shape and that we have been redoing all the rooms bit by bit. One of the rooms that hadn’t gotten any love since we moved in was Jordin’s room. Check out these dingy, bland, old lady looking photos:

We hadn’t even hung anything on the walls because we knew we wanted to paint. Poor girl! Plus, the rooms all need to have more outlets put in (how is one outlet nearly enough?!) and overhead lights with switches added (hello?!). Needless to say, she was not thrilled in her set up. But, enter her 16th birthday, and we had the perfect excuse to make ourselves get the room beautified and surprise her with completely glammed out digs. Annnd… after:

Ta da! Total teen girl. Her jaw dropped. Win!

This was the mint turquoise color she had picked for her bedroom at our previous house and she was really wanting it again. It is super pretty, and not quite as bright in person. She also loves pink and peach. I added some navy to calm and tie the colors in and some gold hints for glam factor. Sounds busy. Totally goes.

Some old, some new, plenty of Hobby Lobby help. She wanted a little girly and a little rustic. She also wanted “fairy lights” so fairy lights she got.

We can’t change the brown furniture (it was her grandmas), and new carpet isn’t going to happen just yet, so working with what you’ve got sometimes has to just work… but…

Truly I love how it turned out. Dont tell her but Santa is thinking about a rug and a chandelier, along with new knobs for the drawers. 😍

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