Browsing Category


Family, Projects

picture day planner

I’m posting here a home video. It’s a home video in every possible way, shaky, moves around too much, my horrible voice in the background, long, containing too many pointless, non-memorable moments… and yet… I still love it enough to share it here. I love my little girl’s voice, her love of reptiles and sharks, her crazy hair, her chubby thighs, her impatient whines… lol. You really don’t have to watch it all, but I thoughts perhaps the grandparents might enjoy it, if no one else does.

Jon has always told stories while drawing pictures of things and Juno has always been his most captive audience. His stories are occasionally kind of…well…awful. But our kids have never seemed to mind. I don’t think Juno is traumatized by a story about Dad throwing her away outside of Chapters… but I suppose there really isn’t any way to know for certain. If nothing else this video could be a wonderful prompt to pray for the Sodeman children. 🙂


So anyway, I’ll try to tie the video in later… 🙂


We have determined that greater consistency in our days would help avoid some battles with Juno (she doesn’t manage change or options well). The trouble is that the only consistent thing about me is my inconsistency. And one of the things I love about staying home and homeschooling is that we can add lots of extras to our days and we can be available to do things at ANY time. We don’t have to be owned by the school schedule, etc. We have more of a weekly routine than a daily one. So on Tuesday mornings we will go to Bible Study. And on thursday mornings we go skating. And while we can still get everything we need to done in a day without having every day scheduled the exact same way, it sort of leaves my little miss thinking some activities (like school) are optional every day. Plus she can easily get fixated on something she wants to do… “can I watch a movie?” “I want to watch a movie!” “When can I watch a movie?!” “I want to watch a movie!!!!!!!!!” and I can drive myself bonkers explaining on repeat what comes next and where the movie fits or doesn’t fit into our day.


I’m honestly so so so tired of the arguing and explaining over what the day holds each morning.


I wanted to create a daily planner that Juno can view the night before the day starts. She can hopefully mentally prepare herself for the activities she doesn’t like before the day gets started, have a hand in choosing some of her own activities (from a limited pool of options), and hopefully begin to gain the lacking “consistent routine” without me actually having to hold to a consistent routine.


So when our day starts she already knows what to expect. 2 days in I can tell you this is helping SO much. When she asks me when she can do a certain activity I direct her to check her calendar. She looks and sees that movie comes after room time today (which comes after skating, school, and lunch). Hopefully over time she will come to embrace the basic pattern of our days as well; tackle the hardest tasks first! 🙂 Work is so much easier to push through when fun is on the other side.


So here’s the video tie-in – when I decided to make Juno a picture day planner, I recruited her Daddy with his mad skills to help personalize it to our curly girl.


The idea is that each evening before bed we plan out the next day. Some cards mommy chooses, because many parts of the next day will not be optional (or necessarily her favourite). For example…
photo copy 6


If it’s a normal day at home I would then let her choose 1-3 activities to slot into the afternoon (post room time)…
photo copy 7


Some days she might not get to choose the extra activities because it’s a day when we have something fun already planned…


We line the cards up in order (of course they don’t include EVERY activity we will do during the day, but they cover the major time slots). Right now we are just using a page protector sleeve, to hold the day’s cards. At some point I will laminate the cards and attack small bits of velcro to the back of each one. I think I will attach the other side of the velcro to the top of our school whiteboard, but it could be laid out anywhere; on a card, on the fridge, across a yardstick, etc. I was waiting to see how it worked before I got too permanent with my placement. So far, so good! 🙂


I think in 2 days we have about covered just about all the calendar rules. “No you may not rearrange the activities so PS3 comes first.” “If you remove cards from the calendar there will be trouble.” “No we cannot work backwards from night to morning.” 🙂


Our daily activities were never up for debate, but this planner is helping HER understand that, and in the process making life just a little more peaceful!


Junie’s room

My current busy work (to quote my sister the day she made me feel like such an old lady: “it’s so nice you can have these little projects”) is Juno’s room. Speaking on that subject for one minute… I’m just going to throw this out there… any other stay at home moms find themselves a little at loose ends sometimes? Especially in the winter I can get kinda bored. I mean, we made choices that involve large amounts of time at home: me staying home to raise the kids, living in the country, homeschooling, husband in ministry with nights/weekends away sometimes. Because of those choices and Jon’s job I can’t pack a whole lot of extra commitments in for myself, my schedule has to stay flexible to accommodate for the family. But that leaves holes sometimes. In those holes I find myself looking around my house wishing I could pretty it up a bit.


But then I feel like that’s kind of frivolous, vain, maybe a tad materialistic, a waste of good time and energy.  Although, I remember some of the homey homes I’ve been in and how wonderful it is to spend time in a place that is warm and pleasing to the eyes. God created us with a need for beauty I think and with a desire to be creative.


So that’s sort of a ministry right? Homemaking? But how fine is that line… between homemaking as a ministry and materialism in home decor. I haven’t really found my comfort zone on the subject. When we first moved in I struggled with discontentment because I realized we wouldn’t be able to personalize/decorate the house as quickly as I wanted to. So then I took a few months off of home decor dreaming to practice contentment. But then I found myself filling my time holes with reading and tv watching, which left me feeling like my time was kind of wasted. I need a productive hobby that is in the home, that can be picked up and dropped depending on the busyness of that particular week, and that is not expensive.


So… I don’t know. Any thoughts on where the line is between homemaking and vanity?  There is a good chance I have over thought it.  lol




It’s been a year and 2 months since we moved out to this big white house in the country. It’s all white on the outside, and all cream on the inside. Every room is builder’s grade matte cream. It was freshly painted when we moved in and looked so bright and lovely, but 14 months + 2 grimy kids, 1 rammy wife, and 1 careful-wish-his-family-would-mind-the-walls-already husband has made this house all cream aaaaaand un-wipe-able scuff marks.


Here is the Bug’s room shortly after moving in her stuff from the old house:
(still working on refinishing her little Ikea lack table and chair)

And then a terrible (but all I’ve got) shot of her room when the kids were sharing it for a few months:

The real damage to the walls was done while Justus was in there. He would climb to the top of his headboard and jump off- leaving dirty hand and foot prints all over the wall. But the worst part was definitely the boogers.. all over the wall by the window. My kid is a pick and flick guy. I KNOW. I almost wish he’d eat them instead!  ewwwwww.  Needless to say, the walls were trashed and we didn’t have any of the cream paint left (or a paint chip to colour match). Time to paint. And time for a little colour! I went super duper bold and adventurous by choosing…


The same colour we used throughout the whole main floor of our old house. Smokey Green (CC-700) from Benjamin Moore.


I know! I’m so adventurous! 🙂 Truth is, I loved that colour and had been looking for the right chance to use it again, but in a different way. In Juno’s room I would get to girly it up a bit more. She asked for rainbow walls, then pink walls; I ignored her entirely and then thanked my lucky stars that she loved it anyway.

I had seen a few pics on pinterest of paint that didn’t quite go all the way up to the ceiling and thought it might be an easily changeable way of adding a bit of height and interest to the room. The plan is to add bunting, so there will be a bit more visual interest to break up that straight line eventually.

(eta: when I checked out this post on the blog I discovered that I decorated the room exactly like I decorated the blog- at least I’m consistent!)  lol


The matte paint combined with old painters tape left the line a tad less crisp than I had hoped for, there was minor bleed most of the way around the room, with the occasional lifting of the cream paint in other spots, Thankfully nothing too noticeable unless closely inspected. (this is the worst spot, but I was able to touch it up a little.)

Also, when I went to the Benjamin Moore store to purchase my paint the lady working said the cheapest can was 50.00. ahem. no. I couldn’t spend that much! So I went to Rona, where I paid almost that much and where they promised a colour match and then ruined 3 cans trying to get it right. I took the 4th can, and while a pretty colour, it’s still not exactly a match. Lesson learned. I did use a paint conditioner for the first time (thank you pinterest), and while not necessary by any means, I was really happy with how it went on. Not a single brush stroke or roller mark to be seen.


The curtain is 7.99 from Ikea (used in 3 different spots now in my house, so apparently I’m a fan). It’s amazing how much bigger the window feels now that it’s framed with even such a light curtain. We have great blinds and we are a windows open and uncovered kind of family anyway, so they aren’t necessary for function.


We also found the shelves at Ikea for very cheap. I painted them with leftover paint from her furniture (second hand from the Klassen clan- thanks again!). They are currently holding the letters that were on her wall in our old house because she loves them, but anything on this shelf may or may not disappear when the room is nearing completion. Although, I might need to surrender my desire for “styled” shelves to her love of collecting… I had to move a bunch of her treasures over to the dresser to take a picture I could stomach posting. lol Everyone remind me occasionally that it is HER room. 🙂
(The wardrobe is a necessary evil… house was built with no closets!)


The light fixture is my favorite one in the house. The previous owners put chandeliers in every room of the house, some I like, some not so much, this one I LOVE.


The baskets are my current stuffed animal storage. I’ve attempted purging and rotating the mass amounts of stuffed animals she has, but the girl adores them all. And knows them all. No sooner do I cart a whole bunch downstairs when she isn’t looking, than she manages to sneak them all back up when I’m not looking! So I gave in and found these laundry baskets on clearance at Superstore for 7.00 each and then bought them using PC points- yay for free stuff!


The bedding I bought when I was pregnant with Juno, and SO excited to be having a girl. But I have dreams of making a quilt for my darling. I made a coverlet for Justus’s room, and while simple, it has given me the bug for more advanced quilting.
He doesn’t like it by the way. 🙁

Also, his room is next! I just picked up a desk last night on kijiji for 10.00 for his room. Jon helped me carry it in the house this morning and gave me a look and said, “10 dollars”? It wasn’t love at first sight for him. Let’s all give him a frowny face- one, two, three- GO. Fellow collectors and painters of old furniture, we can see a nicely shaped and solidly built diamond in the rough here, right?


Anyway- the fabric I bought for Juno’s quilt and bunting and baby bed is this line…
More colours/patterns that just that, but it’s a sneak peek anyway!

Quilt pattern yet to be determined. Wish me luck!!


The heart (sorry for the weird angle, I kept getting glare from any other way) made from pictures was meant to go over Juno’s headboard, but she begged to have them lower where she could see them all from her bed. How could I say no? So they are right at her height and she spends so much time looking at them and remembering all those happy memories. I like giving her such a large visual, because the truth is our relationship is often cluttered with battles and tempers, and it helps both of us to remember those aren’t ALL the moments- we really are happy sometimes! lol (oh and… I hot glued them to the wall if you are interested in application. Not probably recommended. Good thing I like mudding walls for the day she tires of it!)


So… that’s the longest post ever, and my current progress on Junie’s room. Lots more to come, but it’s a start!


chalk board wall

I’m very very very slowly going to be decorating the house and decided that Justus’s big white box of a room would be a good place to start. He loves to draw so I thought this would be a good opportunity for him to be creative on a larger scale. And it’s just fun. 🙂 So we painted one of his walls with chalk board paint.

This was the paint we used:
And I discovered this wonderful tape that has a paper barrier attached to it. It covered my whole trim and I did it up both sides of the wall. I don’t have any of the cream paint currently on the walls, and I was afraid of an oops… big black smear somewhere if I accidentally got to close with the roller!

Now here are a few before and afters…
This room still needs lots of love, and perhaps a less girly light fixture! lol Every room in our house currently has a different crystal chandelier…

Family, Projects

sidewalk paint

Ahhh… Pinterest.

love… hate… love… hate…


Today at least. I was kind of at loose ends to find stuff to do with the kids today, so I dug into my ‘for the rascals’ board and found this gem:

Source: via Christa on Pinterest

Justus and I mixed up as many colour combinations as we could with the limited food colouring I had on hand. For each colour we did 4tbsp cornstarch, 4 tbsp water and 5-10 drops of food colouring. If we did this again I would use a touch more food colouring. We used lots in trying to create purple, and it was the most vivid colour when it came time to paint.
I didn’t have any larger brushes (that weren’t REALLY large), so we stuck with regular little paint brushes from our watercolours. They worked, but a larger brush would have been better if we were painting on the sidewalk.
Instead we went out and painted rocks. It was really fun!
We also painted a little message for Dad:
And then we got sidetracked by the beautiful day and the new flowers…
the worms…
“wormy dearest”
the buds…
birds nests…
a weird Jesus hidden in the trees?
and the sweet little spot I want to spread a blanket under and read all the spring day…


value village dresser

A couple weeks ago my sister and I were wandering around Value Village. While we were in the mens section and I was laughing at her love of weird old man sweaters (she’s so drop dead gorgeous that even gross second hand old man clothing looks great on her), I happened to glance at the nearby furniture section. My eyes landed on this handsome not-quite-real-wood chest of drawers…
And on the price tag… $9.99. Sold.
A little paint (somewhat greener and more subdued than intended- though the true colour doesn’t translate at all in these photos) later, and voila!
Not sure if it’s going to stay put or be moved to the spare room to replace the ugly, broken, hand-me-down that is currently residing there. If it does stay I’m thinking it needs a nice light reflecting mirror (perhaps I’ll go with the overdone uber trendy sunburst) hanging above it, and some better accessories.
And my poor sad chair needs a new fluffy white blanket to cover it’s boo-boos (the blue one is just a stand in, it clashes with the green of the pillows and dresser really badly). And of course I need to straighten the pictures in those frames. Etc, etc etc.
Hanging tightly to the Nester’s “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful theory. 🙂
But loving the super cheap and airy Lill curtains from Ikea. At 5.99 a pair they suit my budget just fine!

All photos taken on my iPhone, cause I’m lazy like that.

Family, Life, Projects

homemade dry-erase workbook

My dear friend Jody gave me a great idea for Juno awhile back… see we have this problem that Juno flies through any kind of school book I give her. She could easily complete at least 3 books a day if I let her, which is quite expensive. She loves tracing letters and numbers and doing mazes, which is all a great start for JK next year, but I could never keep up with her demand for fresh paper. Until now…
Jody showed me a workbook that she had made for Kobe, printed off all the sheets online for free and then placed each page in a plastic page protector. Hand over some dry erase markers and you have a clean book to complete every day! And I can keep adding and changing sheets at a much much much lower cost.

She LOVES it!

(sorry for all the wonky angles and bad lighting… nobody ever called me a perfectionist) 🙂

Super easy and a little bit “now why didn’t I think of that?!” but I didn’t, Jody did, so thank you! 🙂

Today we were supposed to have a visit with friends but sadly had to cancel because Rusty was up half the night with ANOTHER bout of the flu. Poor kid. He seems much improved in the light of day though, so that’s a relief. We headed outside to freeze off the germs (as a side note… I really have no idea if I should keep my kids inside or send them outside when they are sick… anyone know what is healthier?!) and began to build an igloo.
That’s what we have so far. Well, what I have so far. Justus suggested it would be more fun if I do all the work. Nice.

And now just a couple shots from about the place lately…

Family, Projects

Sensory bins

Well, first off… I must report that this New Years Eve was one of my favourites on record. We got the kids tucked into bed, made a giant tray of delicious nachos with homemade pico de gallo on top, then settled in on the greatest couch in history, in front of a cozy fire, with my best friend in the whole world and watched back to back episodes of Jericho (our current date night tv series- thank you netflix). It was so peaceful, so cozy, so quiet… at one point I just kind of sat there soaking it all in, and I think that is when I finally fell in love with this house. I’m excited about a brand new year with my family and church, looking forward to seeing what God has planned for us in 2012.

Ok, now to the sensory bins… I’ve been ogling these on homeschool blogs for a long time now. This week I am prepping for the winter/spring season of homeschooling, and I knew I needed a few new and fresh activities for Juno because Justus’s school work load continues to slowly build. Finally decided to make a run for wal-mart and the dollar store and put a few fun bins together.

Here’s my haul of supplies…

The first order of business was to dye some rice. I tried to find unique fillers for the base of each bin, to give them a different and interesting feel for the Bug. In the dinosaur bin I chose a rice filler, and then dyed it all black to look like stones/gravel.
To dye the rice you fill a large ziplock bag with white rice and add lots of food colouring and a tsp of rubbing alcohol. Smoosh and shake the bag around until it’s all covered and then lay it out overnight on a cookie sheet to dry.
I chose to add some extra rice once mine was all coloured, just to give it a bit more variation, some are black, some grey, some still a bit white. I’ve also seen this done with green colouring to resemble grass.
The rice is still drying, so I will have to take a pic of the dino bin tomorrow.

Then I put together the horse/farm bin.
I used all natural hamster shavings for the base, cut a piece off a fake plant from the dollar store (I divided the one plant 3 ways for different bins), and just added the little horses and some plastic fencing and a tractor from toys the kids already had. Some of the horses are originally from the dollar store, you can get lots of different animal sets there. My kids love them!
(If anyone wants to do this kind of bin, let me know and you can have some hamster shavings. I bought the smallest bag I could find and it’s still HUGE.)

Next I started the aquarium bin…
I picked up a bag of aquarium stones and added a couple pieces of that fake plant. Then I just threw in some of the sea creatures we had, and added a new pack of rubbery frogs (Juno LOVES these silly frogs). I will probably add water to this bin most of the time when she is using it, but if I don’t want to use water I could also shred blue tissue paper for water and make construction paper lily pads for the frogs. Knowing Juno, her mermaid dolls will be joining in the fun also.

Lastly I made my favourite bin of all…
The princess sensory bin!
I saw many good ideas for sensory bins online, and the other bins use all the great suggestions from online sources. But this bin was fuelled totally by my daughter’s tastes. She likes all things sparkly and pretty, and the dollar store was an excellent source of girly things to add.
I found this mirror for the middle, can be a mirror, a lake, a skating rink, etc… fluffy fake snow in the Christmas clearance, giant gems, small gems, sparkly vase filler, and a pack of these tiny girls.
Then I was lucky enough to find a 6 pack of these sparkly purple trees in the clearance section of Superstore for 98 cents!

And in the future if I want to change this bin up, it can become a winter/Christmas scene, with the mirror as a skating rink, some cotton balls for snow balls/snowmen, and these extras to bring some Christmas cheer…

The best thing about these bins is that they can keep growing and changing. We can add new toys, combine bins, change themes… a small investment in some basic materials and the opportunities for imagination are huge. I’m already looking forward to adding to these and have a bunch of ideas for different themes using many of the same materials. I know they are nothing new or original, but I think they are wonderful and I am SO excited to pull them out one at a time over the next number of weeks to let Juno explore and play. Such a great winter (indoor) activity for little people!

Life, Projects

an evaluation

Last year I put together a pretty big list of resolutions for the year. I was hoping to check back and slowly tick things off as the year went on. It was my usual- best intentions- bad follow through! But here, you can see for yourself!

* Learn to use (and actually use!) a calendar/planner and address book
Yes and No… I got a planner and I have used it quite a bit, but judging by the 3 appointments I showed up for on the wrong day, I think I still have a bit of work in this department.

* Master a proper Thai red curry dish
I’d say no… I did find a package mix that we like, but I don’t think opening a package counts as mastery. 🙂

* Record one main thought or idea from each day in a moleskine notebook, could be a complete thought or even just one word! (so I can a.) have a good reason to buy a moleskine and b.) sound cool when I casually mention said moleskine, oh yeah and c.) record the lessons and challenges and victories of every day life. My memory fails me and often if I don’t have to verbalize a thought it passes right through without really registering.)
Nope. I bought the moleskin, but it only has about 10 days worth of “thoughts” in it.

* Watch at minimum 3 episodes of Gilmore Girls each week while walking or running on the treadmill

*Replace all juice and milk with water
I wish this said replace all juice and milk with coffee, that I could say yes to.

* Purchase and read 1 book of poetry

*Memorize at least 1 chapter of Psalms.
Yes if the 23rd Psalm counts. But I really had meant another one.

*Purchase and read 3 Christian biographies
I think I bought and read 2… so it was close.

*Sit outside to watch the stars come out
Yes. Lovely.

*Get a really beautiful picture of Sarah (my sister) and I
Not really. Would still love to make this happen at some point.

*Buy and remodel a round pedestal table for our kitchen (with 6 chairs)
YES!!!!! And I LOVE it!

*See the sunrise on the beach
When we spent a night at Inn on the Harbour last year I got up early to watch the sun rise over the water from the library window seat. It was such a peaceful hour.

*Write and MAIL 1 letter every week
Didn’t write or mail a single one.

*Replace all negative comments about my children with praise for them
ohhhhhh. I really wish I had come back more often to look at this list. This is one I still need to work on.

*Read Little Pilgrims Progress to my son (1 chapter at a time)
Yes! And he loved it! And actually got most of it. So cool to read one of my favourites to him!

*Take a photography class
I wish.

*Have 3 nature dates with Jesus
I wish.

*Do 1 adventurous thing.
I think this move to the country sort of counts…

*Write thank you letters to my mentors (mostly authors who have no idea who I am!!)
I wrote one to Donna Otto and gave it to her when she was here. But that was as far as I got.

*Give up something for Lent
blogs and Facebook

*Collect used classic literature. Used (previously loved) books give me the warm fuzzies and I want my kids to grow up with well loved books
Not a single one this year. 🙁

And now the tricker ones to measure… (I won’t bother trying to measure how I did… they are definitely still on my list of goals for this year!)

Be real and really honest. I found this old quote that I saved on my computer a million years ago (have no idea who wrote it, from a blog I think)… ”If you want to know yourself, let others know you, Let them know the good, the bad, the incredibly misshapen and ugly parts that embarrass you. Let them see your scars and wounds, and let them re-examine those wounds, which will be painful. Let them know your hopes and where your hopes have been killed. ALlow them to hear the dreams you had of saving the world when you were a child. Let them speak into your life, and find people that will value your voice and will let you speak into their lives as well.” I like this because it reminds me of this and this.
Remember that I am not in control.
Smile A LOT.
Work harder.
Play every single day.
Be immersed in Scripture (be it one verse or multiple books, just be soaking it in all the time).
Love more, the real self-denial kind of love.

Even though my list was a bit hit and miss, I still and probably always will love the idea of resolutions. Nothing quite like a fresh year stretching out before you and big dreams about what it could be full of!

I’ll be back with my 2012 list!

Family, Life, Projects

letters – day two

Dear Juno, your placement of the library computer ear phones made me laugh out loud.

Which made you frown…
…which made me laugh that much harder. Nice look for you, sweet cheeks.

Dear Blog Readers, My husband left me a love letter. And it’s reeeeeally good. It made me laugh, roll my eyes, quoted scripture and had me in tears by the end. Like I said, REALLY good.

Dear Husband, thank you.

Dear Kijiji, thanks for being my gateway to all kinds of used treasures. Just picked up a cedar chest tonight for 25 smackers. It’s going to be amazing once it gets a makeover!
Now to decide what lucky room wins some extra storage and style, and what colour to paint it! I’ve been dying to use a bold colour on some old furniture…
Dear Carpenters Christmas Album, you are the only Christmas music I will ever need. Perfect for an afternoon of Christmas crafting.
Dear Jon, hope Hong Kong treats you well and you don’t die of exhaustions before you get to sleep in a real bed again… tomorrow (friday) night…. first time since tuesday night. My friends Bert and Gert have a little reminder for you whilst travelling on so little rest…

Oh and darling… it’s chagrin not shagrim. Correcto strikes again.

Life, Projects

wah waaaaaaaah.

Last night I applied a thin coat of a water based poly to my kitchen table (finally) and when I woke up this morning I found a YELLOW table.

After I scraped my chin off the floor I got out the sand paper. I threw all my irritation and disappointment into sanding that table and now my hands are so rough I could finish it off without the paper!

So tonight… primer.

ASAP I will be using a higher gloss (like satin or semi-gloss) paint to refinish it… AGAIN.

will never ever ever ever ever ever ever touch poly again.


Not. Happy. Jan.