A peak inside our homeschool and a really great podcast

Some people don’t really count preschool at home as homeschooling but in my world it totally counts. I’ve been calling our family a homeschool family since my children were born. Homeschooling is so much more than the time spent on book work. If you’re a homeschooler you’ll understand that homeschooling is both a mind set and a way of life.

Yesterday was the first day of school in our area. Over the summer I never really stopped doing preschool activities with E, I just kind of worked them around other summer fun and family time.

I recently was super excited to be able to purchase quite a bit of Mother Goose Time curriculum from a friend who was selling several months worth at a tiny fraction of the cost. Instead of telling you all about it I’ll invite you into our day through pictures and let you see for yourself.

This month’s theme is Alphabet Island. It was actually the Mother Goose time June theme but since I bought it from someone who didn’t use it, we’re using it in August. It doesn’t matter at all what order the months are used. Today we are focusing on the letter’s R and Q and the theme of the day was all about crabs.

 

After dancing around to our circle time song (which I don’t use every day or else I would go crazy from it being stuck in my head!), E put up the number 15 on our calendar and we reviewed the month and day of the week. We had a huge storm roll through this morning that left flooding in some areas so E appropriately moved the dark clouds and the rain to the empty spot on the board. Without being too lengthy I introduced her to the letter Q and the letter R discussing the sounds they make. E looked at the crab photo and noticed that the crab’s eyes are black.

Each month of the curriculum comes with a CD of music that matches the theme of the month. This month’s CD is Dancing on Alphabet Island. It’s reggae inspired music, a very danceable beat. The ribbons above come one for each month but since E already knows her colors I just gave them to her and T.J to dance with. 

 

 

Today’s craft was a crab made out of a soufflé cup filled with red sand so it makes noise when it’s shaken. It came with a sheet of different eyeball stickers and E decided to make a monster crab with using 3 sets of eyeballs. The little lego things came with the curriculum and they have all sorts of uses. Today’s suggested activity was to float them in water and let the kids pretend to be crabs and use salad tongs as their “claws”. We did that one outside!

The curriculum comes with a square that can be tossed and new photos can be put in the sleeves each day but I had gotten rid of the one I had before I was offered a good deal on more of the curriculum. Since I didn’t have the square to use for today’s game, T (my husband) made a cardboard one for the kids last night. For the game we used a towel to toss it into the air and every time it landed on the crab the kids would do the crab walk. If you haven’t done that in a while- it’s a good work out! The curriculum provided word cards as well for kids who are reading but we stuck with the photos.

While T.J napped E and I worked on her alphabet island workbook. I was explaining to her the difference between the words aquarium and aquatic and I used the example of an aquatic center. She asked, “Can we go to an aquatic center?” When I surprised her by saying yes she gave me the honor of being told that I was “sometimes nice.”

We really did pack up and leave! I had been wanting to check out the new aquatic center built here in town and it was raining so it seemed like a perfect time. We spent about 2 hours there and then got home right before their daddy did.

I think E’s favorite part of the day was when we watched youtube videos about crabs. There was one video where an octopus was eating crabs inside a crab trap and then escaped. It must have left an impression on her because she kept talking about it and she insisted daddy watch it when he got home.

On another note, this morning I listened to this podcast by Amy at Raising Arrows. It resonated so much with me that I really felt emotional while listening to it. Do you feel burdened by homeschooling? Listen to these words of grace and wisdom that are so freeing!

https://www.raisingarrows.net/2017/08/homeschooling-purpose-rap-podcast-019/

Here’s a hint… and “World Schooling”

This morning before the kids woke up while I got dressed and tidied up my bedroom and bathroom I listened to this power of moms podcast. I listened to it a long time ago and I’ve been thinking about it and wanting to listen to it again.

So here’s your hint… We’re going to be traveling internationally. That’s kind of an understatement about the situation but it’s your hint for now!

Like most areas of my life I’ve spent so much mental energy thinking about how to make this trip productive I’ve forgotten about the fact that this trip is going to be fun and adventurous and educational and an amazing bonding time for our family! We are going to a place in the world that will allow us to interact with people from all over the world all at once!

 

Anyways, this podcast is so inspiring and so much fun to listen to! Listen in on a conversation with a mom with 5 kids who took them on a trip around the world. It includes how they afforded it, comical stories from their trip, tips for traveling for young children and more. She also makes a case for why experiencing radically different things as a family is really positive for a family. I also really now love the word “Worldschooling”. Yeah, that’s my hint, we’re going to become a World school family!

https://powerofmoms.com/encore-make-family-travel-dream-reality-episode-177/

Family fun from this weekend and Monday goals

My husband has been on a different work assignment at work the last couple weeks and he’s been working 4 days a week (day shift) and has had 2, 3 day weekends in a row. It has been AWESOME! This past weekend we crammed so much fun stuff in.

Saturday morning was cooler than usual so T wanted to bring the kids to the zoo. Once we got to the city though it had already gotten above 90 degrees. I remembered someone telling me about this indoor kids place called the Wonder Place so we brought the kids there instead. They had an indoor climbing area and a dress up station and a pretend market and restaurant, lots of imaginative play stuff. They had a craft room and a water table and a sand area. The kids had a blast!

http://www.thewonderplace.com

We ate lunch at the Root Cafe which is a place that uses locally sourced ingredients. It was neat to show E the map on the wall that showed the location of the different farms that grew the food we were eating and also the scrapbook that had photos of the farms. http://www.therootcafe.com/menu/

That same day we went to their grandma and grandpa’s and visited with two of my husbands siblings and their kids. Doesn’t T.J look so cute on Grandpa’s tractor?!  I can’t remember but this may have been his first time on the tractor.

Today it’s Monday and I have goals for today! I’ll share my goals and then you drop your goals in the comments below! We’ll help each other get stuff done!

  1. do mother goose preschool time with the kids (which includes sand and tin foil boats today-they are going to have so much fun!)
  2. do my Monday chore- 1 hour of mopping and vacuuming and picking up the floor area
  3. remember to read the kids today’s chapter from the book of Proverbs
  4. get done my daily morning chores
  5. since T figured out how to get the jets to turn on in our jacuzzi tub, give the kids a super bubbly bath with the jets on!
  6. I realized that it’s been over month since I’ve painted my toenails and they look um, bad. lol! Give myself a pedicure!

What does your Monday look like? Enjoy your day!

So this happened today…

I don’t know if I’ve ever read the book of Obadiah or not but this morning it was part of my Bible reading plan. It’s just one chapter long and as I was reading about the Edomites towards the end of the chapter I start thinking, “wait, is he no longer talking about Edom? It sounds like he’s talking about the whole world now. Is this prophecy?” I looked up the Bible Project’s video on Obadiah and it’s really good. Watch it and read the book!


This morning I took the kids to story time at the library and theme of the day was shapes and colors. This afternoon we continued the color and shape theme by getting out the new play dough set I picked up off the clearance shelf yesterday at Wal-Mart.  After we cleaned up dad helped E with some handwriting practice while I snuck outside to set up this surprise!

It’s bubble bath in the kiddie pool and ice on top the tarp and in the bowl. I came in the house after setting it up and looked out the window squinting at the pool saying, “Hey, E! Something strange is happening to the pool, we better go check it out.” I guess my tone of voice was a little too serious because she got scared and didn’t want to look! We had to convince her it was going to be something she would like and to go look. She tip toed until she got close enough to see what it was and then got really excited! T.J liked the ice and entertained himself by putting it in a little beach toy and carrying it around the yard a few pieces at a time until it all melted.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer and finding ways to stay cool!

Helping my 4 year old be more independent..

I’m wanting my daughter to learn to be more independent and do things for herself. I realize though that in our home there are some obstacles to her being independent because she is so tiny! I was looking at her closet and drawer and decided to make a few changes to simplify things for her and help her to be able to reach her clothes.

I lowered the bar that the clothes hang from to her height on one side of the closet. On the right side I left the bar up high and put all her winter clothes and clothes that are too big that I am saving for next year. Now, I can tell her to go put a shirt on and it’s a job she can do!

I also marked each of the drawers with a little drawing. Under wear, socks and shorts. When I’m folding laundry I can pass her her things and say, “put theses in the drawers they belong in,” and she can open the drawers and see my drawing and know what goes where.

I did take photos to share with you. I first walked around the house repeatedly for two days with the laptop and my cell phone in hand trying to get decent enough 4G to create a hot spot with my phone. I even took the laptop and cell phone outside to try and get some coverage. I’m currently at Chick Fil A with the kids while some one looks at our house. I’m connected to the wi-fi but the photos still won’t load. Oh well, I give up! I’m sure you’ve seen a closet before 🙂

Yep, we live too far out in the country to have decent wi-fi at the house. We tried a couple different providers but I would guess 80% of the time it didn’t work so it just wasn’t worth paying for.

Anyways! Share with me little ways you help your little kids feel like big kids around the house.

 

A morning routine and real life with kids

The other day I gave you a peak into using the checklist on the Flylady app for the evening, today I thought I’d give you a peak into our morning. As you’ll see we are not highly scheduled people at all. I like the app because there is no time frame on it. I just check off the next item as time comes up during my morning.

This morning we are getting a bit of a late start. We went out to visit my in laws and for me to do some cleaning for my mother in law and we were surprised by some family that we didn’t know was going to be there. It needed up being after 10:00 before we got home. I usually get up at 5:00 but I slept an hour later and got up as my husband was going to sleep for the day. (Night shift life)

I enjoyed the serenity of the quiet house as I sipped my coffee and read the Bible and spent time in prayer. It’s my favorite part of every day and always worth getting up for. In the list below you can see I added this to my Flylady app to do for each morning.

Morning Routine
Make bed
Get dressed to shoes
swish and swipe
eat breakfast
empty dishwasher
start a load of laundry
check you calendar
read Bible and pray (my addition)

Before the kids woke up I was able to get dressed, set up a couple activities from E’s homeschool curriculum, start a load of laundry, and I’m so glad it’s nice and cool this morning and that I can open the windows because I didn’t take out the trash yesterday and my house smells like a poopy diaper!

The kids woke up and I made them breakfast while dealing with their morning time fussiness and pulling clothes on them. (Is the first 30 minutes your kids are awake this crazy for everyone else?!)

Since I did not clean the kitchen last night instead of unloading the dishwasher I had to first load it. That’s the real life part of keeping a routine- it doesn’t always happen! About half way through cleaning the kitchen I had to give up and stop because T.J still had not stopped crying. I sat down and read the kids several books to try and calm him. As soon as I started into the kitchen again he started crying so I tried to get him down for a nap (that failed to result in a nap.) Meanwhile, E was looking for seeds inside some cantaloupe I had just cut up and got cantaloupe all over the floor and herself and she had to be washed and redressed. Some how through all this I did manage to load and start the dish washer!

I instructed E to turn over the laundry and for a good 10 minutes she dug in her heels and would not do it. I didn’t let her off the hook though and I calmly worked through it until she obeyed. After she finished and started the dryer her face lit up and she said, “I did it!” It reminded me that children do want help doing the right thing.
We did her preschool activities and cleaned up. T.J was acting really fussy (he’s teething) and I was getting really stressed so I packed up the jogging stroller, drove to a park and did a mile or so on a trail with the kids. We saw a rabbit and mushrooms and went to go check out a crane that was doing some work.

On the way home T.J finally fell asleep. I put him in his crib when we got home and then made lunch for E and I. Even though my baby is a year and a half I still need to rest when the baby does so I put on a movie for E and laid down on the couch.

I got up a little before T.J and managed to get the dishwasher unloaded before having to feed him lunch. I quickly made the bed since my husband woke up earlier than usual because he needed to run an errand before work.

I rocked E in the rocking chair and laid her down. I’m sitting on the porch supervising T.J play in the kiddie pool we have on the porch. I can’t bring him in the house right now to clean the bathrooms or E will not fall asleep for sure. I’m wanting her to nap so we can go to VBS tonight. If she doesn’t sleep I know she will be in meltdown mode instead of having fun and it won’t be worth going. Since starting this paragraph I have already had to put her back in her bed so we’ll see.

Anyways, today is a good example to share of having a routine but knowing that kids don’t always get on board with our plans. It’s after 2:00 in the afternoon and I still have not completed what should be about 30 or 40 minutes worth of things to do. Will I finish? Eh..  What about my afternoon routine? I think that’s going out the window along with the rest of the weekly chores I was supposed to have done over the last 5 days… keeping’ it real folks!

How do you balance house work and the needs of your children? What kind of morning routine are you able to stick with while meeting the ever-changing needs of your children?

An evening with the Fly lady app

If you’re into reading homemaking blogs I’m sure you’ve heard of flylady.net. A few weeks back I downloaded the Flylady app on my phone. In reality it’s nothing but some to do lists but if you are a to do list junkie like I am then you’ll like it. You get a star next to and a line through each job completed. There is a morning list, an afternoon list, an evening list and a weekly home blessing list. Each job completed earns you points and your points earn you “jewels”. They mean nothing in real life, it’s kind of like a video game. You get so many points and then a new jewel. Sounds really dumb and it kind of is but for some reason it’s so rewarding to see the word “congratulations” and to get to another “level”. It kind of becomes a game.

Tonight I’ll show you what it looks like for me to follow the routine while also caring for two children.

Flylady has her list set up like this:

check your calendar and forecast
lay out tomorrows clothes
put things needed for tomorrow at the launch pad
spend two minutes clearing off a hot spot
shine your sink
wash face, brush teeth, bathe
go to bed at a decent hour

here’s a link although I just went to the app store on my phone and downloaded the free version which is not as detailed.

http://www.flylady.net/d/flyladt-messenger-app/

I do my routine in a bit of a different order to make it work as I ready the kids for bed.

After an impromptu Sunday after noon trip to the park where we played in the light rain, we came home and enjoyed hot bowls of leftover jumbalaya before getting to work.

It makes more sense to me to clean the kitchen right after dinner so I start there. I put on a Max Lucado movie for the kids since dad is working. I think I’m finally at the point in motherhood where I’m starting to accept my limitations and realize I do sometimes need to use the T.V and not feel guilty about it. (not that I don’t feel guilty about it! )anyways.. that’s a different topic!

After I cleaned the kitchen I worked on our “hot spot” which is a constant explosion of kids stuff everywhere. I used the two minutes to throw stuff in a laundry bucket to put away later.

The thing I lay out for the morning is my coffee stuff. I measure out the water and the coffee into the coffee maker and it’s ready to go!

I got the kids in the tub and while I supervised them I brushed my teeth and laid out my clothes for tomorrow since my closet is connected to the bathroom.

While they are playing in the tub is also a good time for me to check tomorrow’s weather on my phone and also the calendar and send off any text messages I need to. I added to my evening routine list that I want to send to my mother in law a text of what I ate that day to help me stay on my low carb diet. I sent off that text while watching them in the tub.

I brushed T.J’s teeth first, put his pj’s on, read him a board book and them rocked him for a little bit before tucking him in.

E claimed she was “so hungry” so I gave her some dry cereal before she brushed her teeth and then we got in my bed and read a few books. I don’t try and read the kids books at the same time any more because T.J ends up wanting to rough house and kind of ruins it for E who wants to pay attention to the books. I kind of like the one on one time it gives me with them as well. When my husband is on day shift usual I put one child to bed and he puts the other to bed. It also helps to speed stuff up that I can wash dishes while he supervises the kids in the tub.

After I got E to bed then I was able to do my nighttime stuff and take a shower. That’s it! It’s not a lot but when I am consistent it keeps things from getting too crazy around here and it is so much nicer to wake up to a clean kitchen, my clothes ready to put on and my coffee stuff ready to go.

Do you have any apps that you use to aid you in your homemaking? Tell me in the comments!

What do I want out of today?

What do I want out of today?

love. I want to give it and receive it. I want to feel it, to engage all my senses in receiving any bit of it my children or husband offer me. I want to be willing to receive it their way. My 1 year old gives love by feeding me pretend food and curling my hair and lately, giving me way too sloppy open mouth kisses. I want to not be too busy or too distracted to receive that love.

I want to give love how they receive it. My 4 year old wants me to engage in elaborate games of make believe. I will make what is important to her important to me because I love her.

I want to believe. I want to believe God loves me. I don’t want to just hope that God loves me or know intellectually that God loves me I want to experience and taste of the love of God.

I want to hope. I scan the sky for Christ’s return. I want more than that though, I want hope in God for today. If He does not return today I want hope in Him, trust in Him, experiencing Him to be what fills and delights this moment. I want this moment and this day to be wonderful because I am savoring the presence of a loving God who extends friendship.

I am not alone. I want to believe that today and I want it to put a smile on my face, a joy in my step and happiness in my heart. Loneliness is crushing to me. When I could find no one available or around to be with me yesterday I felt so alone. I am never alone though, Christ is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. He lives within me, is all around me. He offers to me fullness of joy in His presence. Did you read that!? Fullness of joy- as in it can’t get any better than this- He offers me all the joy in the universe and tells me it will be enough, it will fill me. Fullness of joy, my cup overflowing with happiness because I am in the presence of the living God.

I don’t want to complain today. I read a Psalm of Asaph this morning and he said that he complained and his soul was overwhelmed. My complaining is what is making me overwhelmed. God, give me Your grace and strength not to complain with my heart or lips but instead offer thanksgiving to You and those around me. With the help of God, I will not complain about child rearing, about messes, about those who have hurt me, about the sufferings in my life.

Instead today I say, thank You God. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You that I am forgiven today. Thank You that You do not hold the sins of yesterday over my head in condemnation but instead You say that the righteous falls seven times yet gets up and keeps going every time. (Proverbs). Thank You that I’m not relying on my own righteousness because I am an ugly sinner. Thank You for blotting out the hand writing of ordinances which was against me and nailing it to Your cross. Thank You for wanting me to have life and have it more abundantly. I receive Your life today.

 

How I meal plan

Tuesday’s are generally when I do the meal planning for our family for the next week. I’m sure not an expert but this is what has been working for a while now.

This week I listened to Amy from raising arrows.net on her new podcast series talk about meal planning. It’s called large family mealtime but most her tips are applicable to any size family.  My main take away for my family was to work on simplifying things and work some “no brainer meals” into our week. Although I’m having trouble making a link right now I recommend looking it up!

Here’s a little sneak peak into how I do meal planning- I keep it simple!

First I take a moment to see what we have in the house already;

  1. steak and hamburger in the freezer (we buy beef 1/2 a cow at a time)
  2. 2 blocks mozzarella cheese
  3. onions
  4. flour
  5. sugar
  6. almond flour

Then I decide on meals starting on Thursday night since I grocery shop typically on Thursday. I also take a moment to claim coupons on the kroger app. I try to plan what meals on can based on what we have left in the house.

Since I’m tired after going grocery shopping I want something easy for Thursday night. I have a $1.00 off coupon for rotisserie chicken so I’m going to get one of those and pair it with frozen vegetables and bread and butter for the kids.

Seeing I have mozzarella and almond flour on hand I’m going to make homemade low carb pizzas on Friday. All I have to buy for that is tomato sauce and cream cheese (which I have a coupon for both! Score!) I’ll also buy some mushrooms and maybe some other vegetable if I see anything on sale to jazz it up some. I can’t see yet what’s going to be on sale at Kroger on Thursday because I think it’s either Wednesday or Thursday that they put out a new flyer. I really like having 2 days between my meal planning and my shopping trip because then I have some time to add anything to my list that I may have forgotten.

Saturday I’ll use a package of hamburger from the freezer and make tacos. I think from now on I’m going to dub Saturday or just one night per week, “mexican night” so I can have a “no brainer meal” planned each week. Every one likes Mexican in our family and it’s easy. Saturday afternoon we are going to a birthday party and I’m bringing toppings for burgers so I made sure and wrote that down.

Sunday I need a potluck meal for our church group. If I have time Saturday I’ll make cookies with E since we have everything on hand and I’ll also make some baked chicken since I have a coupon for chicken thighs. Sunday night we can eat on leftovers.

Monday- soup (I’m going to try and find a canned low carb one to make it easy), salad and homemade biscuits.

Tuesday- Fish and vegetables, rice for the family, cauliflower rice for me

Wednesday- BLT wraps

Then I list the staples I keep on hand for breakfast and lunch and take an inventory of cleaning supplies, diapers, laundry detergent etc and add what we’ll need to the list. Some people don’t count paper towels and such as ‘grocery’ but since I buy every thing in the same store it makes sense for me to do it that way.

This week we are also going to a birthday party so I added “birthday boy present” and gift wrap to the list.

I get our toiletries at the grocery store so I take inventory of shampoo and soap and stuff.

I also take an inventory of my diabetes supplies and see if I need to go by the pharmacy and refill anything.

If I do need some items from another store I’ll write at the top of my list what stores I’m going to and in what order I need to go.

As you can see in the photo, I get out a notebook and one page is labeled, “meal menu” and the other is “shopping list”. I group my shopping list by where in the store the items are located. Remember, I have two little one’s with me- I need to get out ASAP!

So, that’s it. I may not cook the meals on the exact day I had planned on, sometimes I’ll decide that soup sounds better than fish tonight or whatever and make that instead. As you can see since I only shop once a week I use a lot of frozen meat and produce. In the beginning of the week we eat up the fresh stuff and by the end of the week we are eating the frozen and canned stuff. I keep bananas and other fruit to snack on and I’ll also usually by some canned and dried fruit for the kids to eat once the fresh is gone.

 

Lots of changes around here!

Around our household that is!

We’re selling our house! We meet with a realtor and signed the paper work. We had our house re stained this week and we are getting granite counter tops put in before she comes back in a couple weeks to take photos. We’ve been working hard getting things looking good and fixed up. We’ve been talking about selling for several years now. A few years back we tried to sell it but it sat on the market for a year with no offers. The realtor kept telling us we needed to put some money into the house for it to sell but we didn’t. This time we are so maybe things will move a little quicker.

This week a water pipe that we didn’t know existed at the front of our property got ran over and burst so a lot of this week was dedicated to unexpected water issues. My husband has been working to make things right for the next owner instead of the crazy maze of pipes that he was finding. Our house was someone’s DIY project and every time we work on it we say we will never in the future buy a house that someone says they built themselves. There has been endless stuff wrong with it because it was built by someone who obviously trying to figure it out as they went along. We’ve put almost 10 years of work into it though so it’s sellable at this point.

After our house sells we plan to rent for a while until we figure out exactly what we want to do. We want to take our time looking for a new place and there is the possibility we would want to save up money and build a house. My husband is also trying to make some decisions job wise so we’re kind of at a point in our lives where we are trying to decide what comes next.

On a different note, I bought some curriculum for E’s preschool. It’s called Mother Goose Time. I bought just a month’s worth so I could check it out over the summer and see if I like it. At the moment I’m totally overwhelmed by it and it’s taking way more time to get started than I expected. I’m not saying I don’t like it, it’s just taking time to learn something new. (I only got it in the mail 2 days ago.) I’ll probably post about it more later as I get more involved with it.

Anyways! If you’re wondering where I disappeared to that is what we have been up to! Not to mention that the plant my husband works at is in a very long outage and he has been working 72 hours a week for a long time now and still has a long way to go. Life is kind of crazy here at home with a 4 year old and a 1 year old. Sibling fighting has settled in and it has been a tough parenting situation that I am facing for really the first time. Most my days are spent trying to keep these kids from hurting each other! I’ve been reading books and blogs and trying to work through this- if you have any resources to help me help my kids get along then tell me!