Welcome to Hogwarts Homeschool of Witchcraft & Wizardry

Today is Harry Potter’s birthday. In this family, we are all big Harry Potter fans. So, it stands to reason that we would celebrate the day. And celebrate we did! (Warning: Photo heavy post!)

First, the kids woke up to find their Hogwarts acceptance letters.
Messy desks and all, I’m surprised they could find the letters. Along with their letters that arrived via owl, they received a class schedule and all the materials they needed for the day:
Nimbus 2000’s for Quidditch
House shirts & ties (Florida Chapter – aka, lighter than the jackets and robes, because HELLO, it’s eleventy million degrees out there)
Feather dusters for cleaning the dormitories (yes, we still maintained our usual schedule of classwork and chores, but it was totally more fun)
Wands (they actually already had them, I had to search their dark rooms after they went to bed to find them)
Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, ya know, for sustenance.

First on the schedule was Breakfast in the Great Hall, aka our dining room. But hey, that table my husband made for in there is big enough to be a Harry Potter table – see Table of Love post. Then, they had to clean their dorms. On Fridays we dust our rooms, so in keeping with our regular routine, I bought them feather dusters to use because they are so much more fun than dust rags. After that, we had to take Fluffy (aka BannerBoyDog) to the vet for his bath. I had thought about having the girls at the vet attach two more heads to him so when we picked him up he’d really BE Fluffy. But I just couldn’t figure out the logistics of this. I know the girls there would have totally gone for it. They are really great over there.

THEN….The real fun began. The Sorcerer’s Stone has gone missing! It was up to the Hogwarts students to help find it. But where do they start?
Here is the first clue:

A pile of words
Jacket of hordes
Take a quick look
In the place of the book

(I found this rhyme online somewhere)

This led them to the bookshelf where the next clue and their ciphers were located within the Sorcerer’s Stone book. Which led to another clue and so on.

One clue that my bestie, Lala thought up for us was:

I might be big, I might be scary…
There’s no doubt I’m very hairy.
In the story, I have three heads, but in reality
I just like to get fed.
Your clues haven’t yet led you to the end.
First you must find man’s best friend.

I thought that was so cute. She’s a talented one! The next clue was hidden on the puppy’s collar. It was supposed to be on Fluffy’s (aka, Banner’s) collar, but he was at the spa and unavailable. Good thing we had a back up dog to continue the search.

If you are interested in all the clues that we had, comment below and I can share the google doc with you.
Figuring out the clues.


What was lost, is now found! Great detective work by both of them. Little K was the one who actually found the stone.

After finding the stone, it was time for Quidditch practice.
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The game was a 50/50 tie and they both got edible golden snitches as their prize.
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Bubble, Bubble toil and trouble! Time for Potions class! Today we learned how to make wizard slime. Perfect for healing those festering boils, or just keeping young wizards occupied for a while.

But then, those little wizards left me this….

So I sent them to Defense Against the Mathematical Arts class, so I could clean up.
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I found some Harry Potter themed word problems online and just printed them out. I have no idea how anyone planned a party, or basically did anything before Google and Pinterest.

After lunch of treacle tarts (really just inside out pizza), Wizard wands (hot dogs in a blanket), Butterbeer and a movie, it was time for a Wizard’s duel…

…and other such nonsense.


They said they enjoyed the day. I think I even heard Little K say at one point this was the “best day ever!”

No birthday celebration would be complete without cake. Just like Hagrid made:
Yes, I know Hagrid’s was round, but I didn’t have enough frosting for two layers, and I kinda wore myself out with all the other stuff.

Thanks for taking a look at our Harry Potter Birthday celebration! How did you celebrate this day?

Lego Room to Homeschool Room Makeover

It’s been a million years since I’ve blogged about anything. I’m hopping to change that, starting now! I’m going to put the cart before the horse here and spoil my announcement, by posting about our latest room makeover. The title says it all. We have decided to give homeschooling a try for this up-coming school year (2015-2016). That’s a whole different blog post. But for now, we needed a space to homeschool. We had to get a little creative since we didn’t have a spare room lying around, and we actually use our dining room six out of seven nights for dining.

Because I’ve been such a blog slacker, I don’t even have a post to refer to from our previous makeover of this room. It is supposed to be a breakfast room, to the best of my knowledge. It was really a selling point for the house (well, that and the workshop for Hubby). It’s located right off the kitchen and my studio. It was the perfect place for a playroom (read: LEGO room). I can keep an eye on those kids while I’m in the kitchen, or in my studio.

For Christmas break 2014, we painted and remodeled the playroom a bit. We like to work our arses off on breaks like that, because….Weekend Warriors, FTW! So needless to say Hubby was not too pleased when I said I was going to remodel it yet again a mere six months later. I needed to make it dual purpose for Lego/playing and homeschool. However, it did get that last bit of shelving we never completed last Christmas finished in the process. I’ll call that a win!

So a bit of back pictures, since I never did blog about it:
This was what it looked like when we moved in. Ugly paneling. Unfortunately the paneling was hiding some pretty awful walls, so we opted to keep it (for now) and paint the paneling.

And here is a “finished” shot of the room on Christmas eve. We still needed to hang shelves for the rest of the legos, but that needed to wait. I apologize for the crappy cell phone picture.

Fast forward to last week. Here is our new Lego-slash-Homeschool room:

Sorry about the pixelated puppies, lol. This was my first ever panaorama picture.

We moved the desks closer to the window for more natural light, plus added another table for more work space. The kids chose to paint one wall orange. We learned that the color orange stimulates the brain and stuff. They thought that was a great choice for their homeschool room. Plus, Middle K really likes orange. ;) I think it was just what the room needed. I didn’t liked the paint when we finished back in December, but really didn’t know why. The orange adds a little funk and also some warmth. Just what it needed.

We finally got those shelves up to house the rest of the Legos. And, as Hubby pointed out…there’s room for more. Oi vey. I really hope someday they’ll be organized better than just random Legos in every box. And bonus puppy photobomb. Oh Banner, you’re so pretty.

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Now the kids have a bigger table to work on Legos at, thanks to Hubby making me this table last January. They had really outgrown those smaller tables. It still baffles me the amount of time they actually do spend playing Legos. It’s been this way for YEARS. I could probably give away every other toy they own and they wouldn’t notice.

The Trofast (Ikea) shelves that will house our homeschool curriculum. I’ll have it better organized when our materials arrive. I’m not really sure how much space they’ll take.

I tidied up our “Command Center” on the back of the door. It will have our schedule, important things we need to see, a calendar, and the whole thing can be used as a dry erase board. Right now it has our Summer schedule and Chores list. Also, here is their little tv that they can stream Netflix on, or listen to Pandora. They really don’t need much more than that.
Here is another “Command Center” of sort made with Ikea Vaggis boards. This will be for the kids to display art and I think those bins I attached to the wall will be for finished school work, or something. We’ll see once we start. I’m sure there will be a little re-arranging until we find our groove. The kids came home from their last day of Master Builder Camp today and hung up their Camp pictures and lanyards.

Here is their work space. I love that it’s near the window so they can have natural light. I added some swag lights and task lights on each desk as well. Good lighting is important for little eyes.

Middle K’s area.
A Micke desk and drawer unit from Ikea and the Linnmon table top and Orange Adils legs, are (hopefully) enough work space for a ten year old.

Littlest K’s area.
She also has a Micke desk, but her drawers are Helmer. Both desk chairs are Snille Chairs, and the extra chair is just one that goes to the (now) Lego table.

We made these dry erase boards to keep near their desks to jot notes down. I left them each a little love note when I hung them up this after noon. It’s just a cheap Ikea frame and some scrapbook paper. I’ve seen it a million times on Pinterest.

Just about everything you see in this room that wasn’t built by Hubby, comes from Ikea, or handmedowns. It was not a really expensive transition. We’d been sort of collecting things for this room since we moved in. I’ll include an Ikea list at the end of the post.

I am very happy with all we have been able to do in this small space. We managed to keep the Legos together. We’ll have space for school materials, and even kept the love seat so they can watch tv in their down times. I love Ikea. Their modern color schemes makes it so easy to just throw a room together and have everything match. I’d like to claim I’m an amazing interior designer, but really, I just picked stuff that looked good together.

Ikea product list:
Trofast shelves (ours are the old style that they no longer make)
Trofast (TV unit)
Micke desk (ours are orange)
Micke drawers
Helmer drawers
Vaggis notice boards
Skojig (our is yellow, though. Maybe they don’t carry it anymore?)
Orange Joxtorp light shade
Green Joxtorp light shade
Navy Joxtorp light shade
Hemma light cords (swag lights)
Nyttja frames (little dry erase boards on their desks)
Tjena Magazine files

As far as Lego storage goes, we used one Trofast shelf, Hubby built the cabinet, and the hanging shelves are from Home Depot; Closet Maid Garage shelves with a sheet of plywood for the shelves. Most of the Lego bins are Really Useful Boxes from Office Depot. We collect a few whenever they go on BOGO. I’ll be happy when my eyes can only see the even shaped boxes.

I hoped you enjoyed our little show and tell. I’m going to make a point of posting more. We are very excited about our new endeavor. I think this is going to be a wonderful and organized homeschool year!

The Table of Love

It all started with a pile of wood and a picture:
Photo Credit

“Honey, you can do this. Right?” <-- famous last words in this house. I am very lucky to have such a handy guy around. Most of these picture have already been posted on Instagram, but I thought I'd make a post of the table's progress from a pile of construction lumber to a bonafide piece of heirloom furniture. 20150102_134226
He had a little help with the heavy lifting.

And here is a dining room, “before” picture:
Still an awesome table. I have loved every second of it being in our dining room for the last 15 years! It’s going to live in the playroom from now on. The kids were out growing their little tables in there. It was given to us from family friends of The Hubby’s family. It’s an original 1950’s table. The chairs were recovered when it was passed on to us. And are still in excellent condition. Once we get replacement chairs, they will join this table in the playroom.

Progress from wood pile to structure:

I decided to give the man a break and help with parts I could. This is the first time I’ve ever used stain. I’m not sure if I am a fan yet. I do however, like the end result, so the effort was worth it.
It gets better with the second coat

We added some personal touches:
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And the man helped with the staining when the last of the table was sanded smooth as a baby’s butt.
Then he waxed it with in an inch of it’s life. It was an important step considering this is going to be our every day table and is about to see many years of abuse.
Coming in just over budget with a $135 total (not including the new belt sander we had to buy, or the can of paint for the wall because I got a bug up my booty and decided the new table needed new walls to match). Certainly much less than the Anthropologie table. Or even the Pier One table I saw locally for $900.

Aaaaand….Drumroll Please:

The best part about this picture is the craftiness that went in to each component.
The Man built the table (obviously), and the side table and the cat food table. He also built the two shelves above the side table.
My oldest daughter painted the one picture. The photograph is a photo I took in college of a local business and landmark of many years until the building was torn down a few years ago. I also sewed the curtains and *just* finished painting that wall today. I am so proud of the creativity in this room. I am looking forward to posting even more “finished” pictures very soon.

In the mean time, I ask you, is a room ever really “finished” being decorated?

JellyBean – 2002 to 2015

The week before Easter, 2003. We went to PetSmart in Butler Plaza, on a Saturday, to buy cat food. Nine year old Kayleigh in tow. We walked up the center aisle toward the cat section. All the adoption agencies were there showing off their pets in need of homes.

Like a scene from a movie, the noise from the busy store was suddenly muted. Kayleigh looked up and across the aisle there was one puppy who had noticed her. They regarded each other for a second and then Kayleigh was at the pen where the puppy was housed. Puppy licks and tail wagging ensued. There was no denying the immediate attraction. The lady from the agency (Puppy Hill Farm), offered to let Kayleigh walk the puppy around the store. She did, but there was no need, that dog was already hers. She had a pink and black nose when she was little, and the most genuine smile.

A week later, our little Easter bunny puppy joined our family and found her furever home. It’s been nothing but warm laps (even when she grew too big) and tail wagging ever since.
That nine year old girl never once complained about the responsibility of a puppy. No matter what she was doing, she would stop to let her out, or feed and water her. I have never met a more loved or better cared for pet than JellyBean. During Puppy college, they would practice their homework every day. JellyBean learned how to sit and stay and “wait”.

I remember lifting that puppy up to the top bunk so she could sleep with Kayleigh. I remember she got too big to do that and then Kayleigh moved to the bottom bunk. I remember the trench she made in the backyard at our old house when it was doggie zoomies time. Man, how that dog could run, and fast. I remember teenager Kayleigh out with friends and a worried JellyBean sitting, starting at the door waiting patiently for her girl to return. And she always did.

I remember her “dance” for a treats, and later when her backside got too old to hop on two legs, she would “speak” for bacons or popcorns.

JellyBean is at peace, and no longer hurting. She went quickly and we were with her for her last breath. She gave us so much of her heart, it just gave out. JellyBean you will always be in our hearts. You have truly touched so many lives.