Fun Friday: Back to “School”

Kids are now starting back to school…I always dreaded it, but I’m sure my mom secretly looked forward to it. I understand it now! Not that I don’t want my little man in the house with me. I LOVE spending time with him, but a break every now and then would be nice. He’s literally with me 24 hours a day.

I’m always looking for little activities to do with him that will keep in learning mode. He’s a smart fella and loves to learn, so I like to keep educational things at his disposal and within his reach. So when I came across some fun (and cheap) educational tools at the Dollar Tree, I couldn’t pass them up. Little man has a pretty large playroom (we turned a sunroom into his playroom at our new house), so I was able to dedicate a whole side of it to his “learning area”!

I got these teacher charts that feature the alphabet and numbers 1-10. They came in a pack together so they were just $.50 each! The numbers border came with 14 strips for $1 (I only needed 3 for the windows) and I cut up a cars/trucks border to place on either side to fill up the window.

He has a box full of books…that even overflowed to the top of the box! He also has a big 3 shelf bookshelf in his bedroom…full of mainly Usborne books (we highly recommend them!). Of course, we couldn’t forget his reading pillow! I have a CD player placed behind it and he already knows how to use it and find his favorite songs. 😉

In the blue bucket (also from Dollar Tree), I put learning flash cards for the alphabet, numbers, animals and sight words…each $1. I also got him a 3 pack of cards that has 2 Bible oriented card games and a heroes of the Bible deck! The foam blocks are great for counting and sorting!

On another wall, I put 2 more posters…one for animals and the other for insects. Since his playroom is the old sunroom and looks out into the backyard, he sees insects all the time out his giant windows. Now he can see them up close on his posters and learn a little more about them!

He absolutely loves his little learning area and I can hear him saying his bugs, animals, alphabet and numbers even when he plays in there by himself! Some days he doesn’t even pull his toys out to play, but has books scattered everywhere and will even “read” out loud!

I caught him like this the other day…going over his letters and pictures associated with each one!

Total cost of charts, borders, card, blocks, bucket? $12…2 sets of poster, 2 borders, 4 decks of cards, 1 3-pack of cards, 2 bags of blocks, 1 bucket. (I also got a vowels/sight words chart combo and a chores/rewards chart combo for later down the road.)

While he’s still a couple of years away from going to school, I like to keep him surrounded with learning materials…and it’s easy to when you can find good deals like these!


Fun Friday! Treasure Hunting

I’ve always had a thing for hanging onto items that have a history or have sentimental value. You could almost say I’m a memory hoarder…I have about 5-6 storage bins full of “memories” from my childhood up to now…old drawings/paintings, birthday cards from family members, old t-shirts, old toys, etc. I even have a lot of my mamaw’s old stuff…some of which I may never put on display (b/c they’re honestly quite ugly), but they stood out in so many of my childhood memories, I just couldn’t part with it.

This is how funny my mamaw was…she was diagnosed with Leukemia in the late fall of 1999 and having decided that she was ready to go “home” to be with my gran, so she could finally have a cup of coffee with him ;), she told my mom and aunt and us grandkids to go through her house and lay claim to whatever we wanted, b/c she didn’t want anybody fighting over stuff once she was gone. So, what did I pick out?

1. A lovely lamp that had multi-colored glass panels in it…very similar to this one. It was in her living room on a side table for years and then was rehomed to a desk when they moved into town many years later.

2. A writing desk that had a compartment with a curved lift door on it…this is where she kept candy! The drawer is also where she kept wind-up toys that we used to race!

3. A VERY 70’s orange curved back chair, that I always sat in when in her bedroom, visiting while she would get ready. I always swore it was the most comfortable chair I had ever sat it. It went with me to college, was in my first house and has made it every move since. It currently sits in our living room…coordinating quite well with the dark wood paneled wall I whole-heartedly LOATHE. Haha!

4. Being an artist myself, I couldn’t stand by and let them sell off her paintings. She picked oil painting up later in life, but there’s just something about owning your grandmother’s own artwork. She liked to paint them HUGE too, so I have 3 giant framed paintings of hers!

I have a tendency to keep an eye out for “old stuff”! I love items with character! I’ve noticed that I’ve begun to move away from buying new items because I’m more drawn to the things of the olden days. They have more of a story and quite honestly were made back when craftsmanship and quality were far better than today.

I’ve bought quite a few things from antique stores, online market pages and even scoured relatives houses! So, when our friend, Brandon, told us about his auction house opening, I knew I wanted to go. Since it’s FUN FRIDAY, I thought I’d share with you what all I got last Saturday at DuBois Auction Co.!

1. Piano Bench – It’s not that old, but I plan to make it look that way. It will be painted and distressed and go in the guest bedroom!

2. Ball Jars – I have a thing for Ball jars…especially the color. I’ll use these for decor in the guest bedroom and my office! These are dated 1933 and older!

3. Bowling Set and Croquet Balls – I got in a bidding war with someone over these…I wasn’t about to lose. 😛 The bowling set is not complete, but I didn’t care…it was too cool! Once I got home and did research, I found that this particular set could possibly date back to the very early 1900s! It’s even in it’s original Milton Bradley wooden box. The croquet balls was one of those sentimental buys. My grandmother had a croquet set with this exact type of ball. I LOVED it! The bowling set will go in our entry way and the croquet balls will be displayed in my office!

4. Antique Wooden Ironing Board – There were a few of these at the auction and I just couldn’t resist. It was a STEAL at just $6!!! I want to somehow mount it to the wall and use it as a shelf, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that’s feasible. 😛

5. Vintage Coke Crate with Bottles – I know all the bottles don’t match and they aren’t all old, but I just love this! He had a few CocaCola crates, but this was the only yellow one he had. I paid a good bit less than what just the crates sell for in most antique stores and flea markets, so I was excited!

 Brandon is having another auction this Saturday, Aug 4th at 4:00. Check out his Facebook page for all the details and to see pics of some of the items he will be auctioning off.

Whether you bought it an auction, antique store, or it was just passed down from a family member, what are some of your favorite “old” items that you treasure?