Thursday, January 28, 2016

{p,h,f,r} The Bookshelf Edition

I was planning on putting up cute snow pictures today but Auntie Leila asked for bookshelves, so bookshelves it is.

I shared pictures of our library/playroom/homeschool room last year but I've done some rearranging since then.  I reoriented our bank of IKEA shelves so that it enclosed the play area in the hopes that it would be less distracting to those actually attempting to be homeschooled.  I had Chris make a back to the exposed shelf to give us a bit of wall space to hang maps on on the other side and also to stop children from shoving all the books out and tunneling through to the other side.  It's been wholly effective at deterring tunneling but only mildly effective at reducing distractions.  Mostly due to the fact that those banished to the playroom side have taken to playing/frolicking on top of the shelves in order to stay out of the baby's range and also drive their mother crazy.  

When I did the rearranging I also sorted out the books and labeled the sections for ease of re-shelving.  I wasn't sure if it would help or not but it has gone surprisingly well--especially considering only one of my children can actually read the labels.  There were so many books before that the boys were having a hard time finding what they were looking for and a lot of the books were living lonely and forgotten lives.

I pulled out all the books we had and sorted them into piles to get a feel for what categories we needed.  I ended up with:

  • Goose, Seuss, Scarry and Spy (John's favorite section by far, which is why there are hardly any actually on the shelf)
  • Picture Books--two shelves of favorite stories
  • Fairy Tales and Fables
  • History and Geography
  • Science & Nature
  • Insects & Ocean Life
  • Animals & Dinosaurs
We also have a section of poetry books on the bottom of our homeschool shelves that I couldn't fit in here.  And then of course there are even more books stashed in the bedrooms upstairs. 

As you can see my labels are very fancy--index cards cut down to size and stuck down with packing tape.

Opposite the children's books are our main bookshelves, also from IKEA and hard to photograph due to the skinniness of the room.  I like these shelves because they are sturdy (made from actual wood, not press-board), they have a built in feel and with all our military moves I know I can always go pick up some more if I need to reconfigure them.  I could actually use a couple more right now but I have no idea where I would stick them.....

These shelves were organized by subject and alphabetized by author but unfortunately our sweet little Margaret is a bookshelf dumper.  And also a bookshelf climber.  I think it's the red hair.

I did recently gather up all of my book piles from around the living room and stick them on this one, 'you need to finish reading these before you buy any more books' shelf of shame.  I only let myself keep out four that I'm currently reading and I'm not going to grab any more until I've actually finished those.  Well except those two from the library that I need to pick up tomorrow. But after that I promise.

And lastly, my favorite shelf.  I'm not a collector of things in general but I started picking up these Agatha Christie books our local used book store in Florida and now I'm hooked on them.  Apparently they are from a collection that you could buy and then you would have one new book sent to you by mail each month.  How fun would that have been?  I wish there was something similar now.  I suppose I could just go on Amazon and pick one out for myself each month but that just doesn't really have the same feel............

Make sure you click on over to Like Mother, Like Daughter for even more captured contentment and bookshelves :)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Margaret's Tiny, Perfect Nursery

With Margaret turning fifteen months, this room finally being painted after an unfortunate humidifier incident that left streaks all down the walls, and the fact that Christmas is over and I needed to clean all the things I thought it was the perfect time to finally take some pictures to document her nursery/soon to be big girl room.

The two things to know beforehand are, one, my house is not nearly as yellow as it appears in photographs and two, this room is tiny.  Like, the previous renters were using it as a walk-in closet tiny.   After much deliberation, we decided we would go ahead and sacrifice the extra closet space in favor of having sleeping quarters for all the children :)

I just love this room.  It's tiny but it's wonderful.  I know The Nester says that it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful, but I'll add that it doesn't have to be spacious, or expensive, to be adorable.

Margaret's room is full of special things--the sampler my grandmother made, the cross stitched pieces that were once pillows on my girlhood bed that I salvaged and framed, my old ballerina teddy bear, the "R" that hung over Chris' crib, the other teddy bears from his grandmother, the frames I found on the side of the road--okay I guess not everything is special.

Even if it isn't all special, everything in the room did come together very serendipitously.  Having a tiny nursery is kind of wonderful in the sense that it's easy to pull together.  It can really only hold the crib, dresser and rocker.  We already had the crib and the dresser, and the rocker was a gift from Grandma and Grandpa Reintjes.  It began its life wearing a shade of green that wasn't particularly the look I was going for so Chris, dutiful husband that he is, stripped, sanded and stained it for me.

Almost everything else was gathered from around the house.  I suppose the one perk of moving with a two week old is that you can shuffle things to new rooms with ease.  The only new things in her room were the crib sheet and rug which were gifted to us as well and the new wet bags that we clearly needed since the old ones clashed horrifically.  Chris didn't understand, but I'm sure you do--the effect of the sad old navy blue ones hanging on the closet door wasn't what you'd call pleasing to the eye.

I made the rest of the textiles myself; the curtainsthe crib skirt and of course the quilt and pillow that took forever but were very cathartic when waiting out the second half of my pregnancy.  I had kind of a specific look I was going for--I'm not sure what you would call my decorating style, vintage? cottage? farmhouse? artistically hodgepodged from things we get for free?  (when I'm "decorating" I'm mostly just rearranging things we already have, although we have acquired some really nice freebies over the years which certainly helps)--anyway, I couldn't afford/find exactly what I wanted anyway, even if I did want to pay for it--which I didn't.

I had a lot of years to think about how I would decorate a little girl's nursery if I ever had one, but I didn't realize until I actually did have one what my thoughts on little girl nurseries were.  It turns out that I think they should be very similar to my childhood rooms.  That is, very Laura Ashley circa 1983 or so.  Sweet colors, vintage florals, lots of cross-stitch, ruffles, dolls and teddy bears.  I've tried to restrain myself--and the size of the room, my dislike of clutter and also my budget have certainly helped.  But if anyone catches me attempting to start a collection of Madame Alexander dolls you have my permission to stage an immediate intervention.


All the glorious details:

crib:  Amazon
crib skirt:  handmade by me
crib sheet:  Pottery Barn Kids, a gift from Aunt Courtney
curtains:  handmade by me
pillow:  handmade by me
quilt:  me again :)
dresser: second hand
rocking chair:  second hand, a gift from Grandma and Grandpa Reintjes
blue throw blanket:  vintage, from Grandma Reintjes
shelves:  Lowe's
rug:  Wayfair, a gift from Grandma Kazleman
ledge shelves:  Ana White plans built by Chris

~Amazon links are affiliate links~

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

On the Rest of the Days of Christmas

otherwise known as, Better Late Than Never, or alternately, The Christmas Poem that Made Mom Cry While Attempting to Homeschool the Children......

I'm aware that it's mid-January but what are you going to do?  If you wanted to read a professional blogger who writes seasonally appropriate posts then you've clearly come to the wrong place :)  

This year I baked what I thought was a reasonable amount of cookies over Advent and kept them frozen in the basement and it was pretty much the best holiday decision I've ever made.  Anytime someone stopped by the house I had cookie trays ready to go--and there's nothing I like more than artistically arranging food on a tray.  No really.  I still have about half of the cookies in the freezer though so clearly I overestimated normal levels of cookie consumption, that or we weren't eating near enough cookies.

Chris was able to be home for a lot of the Christmas season this year too.  He was also spending a good portion of that time camped out in the basement still working.  "Go home and be with your family" they said, "but you also still need to get all of this work done."   I suppose having a basement dwelling husband is better than having no husband home at all.

We pretty much followed my Twelve Days of Christmas plan--eating gingerbread houses, going to see Star Wars, sightseeing in DC, having a cookie playdate and going on lots of walks.  I lost steam during the last couple days due to a migraine and we never did get around to making Christmas for the animals.  I did buy the birdseed though so maybe we'll have Valentine's Day for the animals?  Ash Wednesday?  Nothing says Lent like mom letting the kids roll pinecones in peanut butter and birdseed.

By the day after Epiphany I was ready for some deep cleaning and I took down all the decorations and hauled the tree out the backyard by myself during naptime, setting a Reintjes house record for quickest holiday pack up of all time.  The pine needle vacuuming on the other hand is an ongoing process.  I just tell Chris that every bit of evergreen we find hiding in the house is a reminder to keep Christmas in our hearts all the year long.

Although this was one of my hardest Christmases, this year also, surprisingly, ended up being one of my favorites.  Maybe because I didn't have very high expectations, or maybe just because I didn't get swept up in all the hustle and bustle of the season since I wasn't trying to do all the things--or many of the things at all.  It was difficult, but somehow I found my peace in the sadness.  Hopefully next year will be just as good, but maybe with more to celebrate and less to mourn.


The Peace of Christmas-Time

Dearest, how hard it is to say---
   That all is for the best,
Since, sometimes, in a grievous way
   God's will is manifest.

See with what hearty, noisy glee
   Our little ones to-night
Dance round and round our Christmas tree
   With pretty toys bedight.

Dearest, one voice they may not hear,
   One face they may not see---
Ah, what of all this Christmas cheer
   Cometh to you and me?

Cometh before our misty eyes
   That other little face,
And we clasp, in tender, reverent wise,
   That love in the old embrace.

Dearest, the Christ-child walks to-night,
   Bringing his peace to men,
And he bringeth to you and to me the light
   Of the old, old years again.

Bringeth the peace of long ago,
   When a wee one clasped your knee
And lisped of the morrow---dear one, you know---
   And here come back is he!

Dearest, 'tis sometimes hard to say
   That all is for the best,
For, often, in a grievous way
   God's will is manifest.

But in the grace of this holy night
   That bringeth us back our child,
Let us see that the ways of God are right,
   And so be reconciled.

~Eugene Field

Saturday, January 2, 2016

What I Read in 2015



  1. The Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeannette Walls
  2. Sparkling Cyanide, by Agatha Christie
  3. The Complete Tommy and Tuppence Collection, by Agatha Christie
  4. Thank You, Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse
  5. Hannah Coulter, by Wendell Berry (audio book) 
  6. The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book, by Wendy Welch
  7. Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline
  8. Much Obliged, Jeeves, by P.G. Wodehouse
  9. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling (reread)
  11. The Birds Fall Down, by Rebecca West
  12. Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
  13. Hard Times, by Charles Dickens
  14. The Mysterious Mr. Quin: A Harley Quin Collection, by Agatha Christie
  15. Cards on the Table: A Hercule Poirot Mystery, by Agatha Christie
  16. After the Funeral: A Hercule Poirot Mystery , by Agatha Christie



  1. Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home, by Elizabeth Foss
  2. A Mother's Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul, by Holly Pierlot (reread)
  3. Your Six-Year-Old: Loving and Defiant, by Louise Bates Ames, Ph.D.
  4. Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence, by David Keirsey
  5. Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child's Personality Type - And Become a Better Parent, by Paul Tieger and Barbera Barron-Tieger
  6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain
  7. The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine Aron
  8. Taking Charge of ADHD, Third Edition: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents, by Russell A. Barkley, PhD.
  9. Your Defiant Child: Eight Steps to Better Behavior, by Russell A. Barkley, PhD. 
  10. The Hurried Child, by David Elkind, PhD.
  11. The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks with Charlotte Mason, by Laurie Bestvater
  12. Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child, by Anthony Esolen
  13. The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone)Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale

This year my reading has not been as prolific as it has been in years past, although I do have a pile (okay, several piles) of partially read books that would doubtless amount to a good bit more than my list of actually finished books suggests.  As I look back over the year and my reading habits I'm pretty sure the main culprit is all the handiwork projects I've had going on that have severely cut into my reading time.  I can't quilt/cross stitch/sew pretend food while reading.  I can tune out pretty much any distraction while engrossed in a good book but alas, I do need to be actually looking at the thing to read it. 

I'm not sure that I could pick an absolute favorite of the bunch--I liked them all, of course I don't generally finish books that I really dislike unless I'm reading them for a book club and I have to.  Who's got the time to read bad books?  

I did really enjoy Hard Times even though it will be forever linked in my memory with the loss of Frances.  Always have a book in your purse, that's my motto, and that happened to be the one I had on me when I went to my doctors appointment that day.  I made Chris read it to me as I labored and when he pulled it out of my bag his reaction was, "really?"  I suppose a book entitled Hard Times seemed more than appropriate for the occasion and really there's nothing like a little Dickens to put your problems in perspective.  Also there's nothing to lighten a mood like Chris attempting to read aloud with a cockney accent--he managed something along the lines of a developmentally delayed southerner that made Dick Van Dyke sound like an actual Englishman.  

Hopefully I can manage a bit more reading this year...and also think of a reason for Chris to read me more British books.  If he would just tackle reading my to-be-finished-pile(s) aloud to me I could really make more progress on my sewing projects......

What about you?  Did you read any good books last year?  

PS These are affiliate links, so if you click on them I might get lots and lots of cents.  
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