Feeling a bit like a hamster on a wheel lately

The beginning of 2018 has been kind of tough. After what turned out to be a 6 week foot surgery recovery my children got sick. My Grandma passed away and in my extended family there is some really hard suffering right now.

In 2017 I had come to a point in life where I was consistently able to have 5:00 a.m to 7:00 a.m to myself. I was moving forward with my personal goals during that time and getting stuff done before the kids woke up. The last 3 or 4 weeks or so my 2 year old has woken up between 5:00 a.m and 6:00 a.m almost every day. All my planning and routines have pretty much gone out the window. I’m waiting for “normal” to return again but realizing this may be normal for a while.

Today I really needed some sort of guidance to get me back on track so I turned to pinterest and printed off this checklist.

https://www.lifeonpaperco.com/lifeonpaper/Cleaning_File_It.html

I’m going to be spending the day working through this, while also doing my best to involve the kids and keep them busy. There are a lot of things I need to work on right now. I need to meal plan. I need to get organized again with my grocery shopping. I need to find a new time to read the Bible now that my early morning hours are not available.

I could list 100 other things that I feel I need right now but most of all I need Jesus. I need His grace, I need His help. I need to realize that whatever comes into my life and interrupts my plans are ultimately from His hand being used for my good.

I won’t be able to sit and read or close my eyes and pray today most likely. I can put on worship music though and sing as I work and listen to the scripture on audio. I can pray aloud as I work, doing my work for the LORD.

I encourage you to do the same busy homemaker! May the joy of the LORD be your strength today! (Neh. 8:10)

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt. 6:33

When I finish this check list I’m going to enjoy a hot cup of coffee in my new mug I painted on a mommy daughter date with E last week.

(The photo won’t load but I’ll show you later. It says, “Snow ‘n love”!)

 

 

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Unique indoor screen free kids activities

This past week my little guy came down with a stomach virus. As he recovered his sister got the virus and then he developed a cough. Except for when it got warm enough to take him to play in the yard the poor guy hasn’t been out of the house for 9 days! I’ve worked hard to keep the kids learning and playing. At the first sign of sickness I went to town and stocked up on new paint, play dough, markers and other craft stuff since I knew they’d have to stay home several days. Last night T.J’s cough was improving but he start showing signs of tummy troubles again so we stayed home today. E seems all the way better today and T.J’s cough isn’t getting any worse so he should be on the mend soon. His tummy has also been fine today.

Yesterday morning which was the third week of missing church because of traveling and sickness my church family did something really kind for me and set up a laptop with Skype so I could listen in on the service. That helped break up the day and was really encouraging to see their faces but the rest of the afternoon I gave up trying to keep the kids away from the T.V and let them watch it all day. They were bored of all the craft stuff and didn’t want to read books any more. I was fresh out of ideas for keeping them busy.

After they went to bed last night I brainstormed a list of things for them to do today and then got on Pinterest and starting pinning all kinds of cool ideas.

Here’s what we did today. If you’re quarantined at home with sick kids like so many people I know are right now I hope this post gives you some inspiration of how to fill those long hours!

Write on the floor and mop it up

Really! This is an activity I remember doing with my younger brother and sister when I was a teenager. I used a dry erase marker to write ABC’s on the tiles in the kitchen/dining room area. So the kids wouldn’t fight over who got to wash which tiles I drew shapes for T.J to mop up and the letters were for E. I gave each child a bowl with water, a rag and some all natural non toxic cleaner in it. I stood at the dry erase board in the dining room and said to E, “mop up all the A’s!” After all the A’s were erased we went on to letter B and so on. I was surprised at how well T.J could identify shapes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sensory Buckets (bring the sandbox inside!)

Sensory buckets are so easy! They can be made out of just about anything. I made ours “letter D” sensory buckets. It started with me putting dirt (actually sand because the ground was frozen solid!) and dinosaurs in the buckets which made me think to add more objects that start with the letter D. Both dimes and dominoes ended up in there. I wrote an uppercase and lowercase letter D on the white board to reinforce the lesson. T.J age 2 had the most fun when he realized he could bury the dinosaurs in the sand. E age 4 spent the time hoping she could find more dimes to put in her piggy bank. Prepare to do a lot of vacuuming after this activity!

Bath paints

My kids absolutely loved this activity! If you choose just one thing from this list I’d recommend this one! I loved the delight on their faces as I showed them how they could paint the tub, their tummies, their bath toys and then how they laughed when I put the blue paint on my nose! This is one I’ll make again. It was so easy and very cheap. I had leftover white colored conditioner from the dollar store because we had used it to make fake snow the other day. (2 1/2 cups baking soda, 1/2 cup white conditioner- it feels cold!)

https://kojo-designs.com/2013/05/hoomemade-bath-paint-recipe/

Make a blanket fort

Give your children a place of their own, flash lights, a lantern, a chance to use their imagination and a pile of books!

 

Science Experiments!

I found this one on parentingchaos.com. https://parentingchaos.com/crawling-colors-color-mixing-science-experiment/P

Once you set this up (which only takes a few minutes) it takes several hours for the colors to start mixing. I recommend putting it out of reach of little ones but somewhere where the kids can peek at it through out the day and see what it’s doing. I made the mistake of setting it up on the kitchen table and then had to work to keep their hands out of the very pretty water they wanted to touch so badly!

Make a special surprise meal

Okay, so I get made fun of for making food creations for my kids but I think it’s so much fun! And have you seen the crazy meals people make out of hotdogs on pinterest!? lol! I had to try these little octopus guys, they are so cute!

Build something with unusual materials

I gave the kids disposable cups and paper to build towers out of. They weren’t particularly interested in it but maybe an older child would be.

 

That was our day! Share any unique ways you have come up with to keep busy at home when you’re kids are sick.

New Gospel Tracts

I have just one gospel tract left from the ones I bought last year so I went ahead and ordered some more over the weekend. I bought a pack of a tract written by John Piper called For Your Joy. Tuesday I received the sad news that my Grandma passed away. I’ll be flying home over the weekend to attend her funeral and be with my family. I should get the gospel tracts before I go so I’ll have them on me while traveling and hopefully get opportunities to give them away.

https://www.amazon.com/Quest-Joy-Pack-Proclaiming-Gospel/dp/B008A7D4SA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516021741&sr=8-1&keywords=quest+for+joy

Today I’m home just me and the kids. My foot is starting to heal but I still can’t put my full weight on it. Today my goals include:

  1. do preschool with E and T.J. Today’s theme is the poem Hot Cross Buns. It includes teaching the poem and listening to it on a CD while passing a bean bag, baking buns together, doing a craft that includes using glue and shaving cream to decorate paper buns and playing a kind of “go Fish” game using cards that look like buns with different colors letters and numbers on them. We’ll see how far we get, sounds messy!
  2. This afternoon I want to attempt to clean the master bedroom. It hasn’t really been picked up much since my surgery almost 4 weeks ago so it’s a mess! I’m hoping wearing the boot and leaning on a crutch I’ll be able to get it done.
  3. I want to make sure and fill in my diabetes log. I didn’t write much down during the weekend.
  4. take inventory of what diabetes supplies I will need to pick up before traveling
  5. When my husband gets off work pick up a gift for a friend who’s baby shower I’ll be missing this weekend and drop it off.

Everything takes so much longer on one foot so this should keep me busy today!

What are your goals today? Do you have a favorite gospel tract?

Enjoy your Monday!

 

Things to do with your kids while you are sitting down

Now that I’m on week three of having to stay off my right foot I think I’ve come up with enough ideas to be able to share with you. A friend of mine was over last week and she went on google trying to find a list of things for a mom to do with her kids while her foot was broke but she said she could only find lists of things for a mom to do with her child who’s foot is broke. For one reason or another, illness, injury, complications during or after pregnancy, as a mom you may find yourself alone with children who have seemingly endless energy while you are stuck on the couch. Here’s my little gift to the internet- my list of things I’ve found I can do with my kid with minimum getting up.

  1. Freeze dance. I play music on my phone and then hit the pause button and dramatically say, “freeze!” they have to freeze in whatever position they were in when the music stopped
  2. “sitting down” hide and seek. My great Grandma used to play this with me and my cousins when we were little. I sit on the couch and count to 20 while the kids hide and then say, “ready or not, I’m going to guess!” I then guess from my spot on the couch, “Are you behind the bathroom door?” “Are you in your closet?” If I guess their hiding spot I “found” them and we start again.
  3. Create a “story time”. Since we weren’t able to go to story time at the library I told them we were having a story time at home. I used the same order of events the librarian uses at the library and sang the same songs she sings.
  4. Read a lot of books.
  5. Face time or Skype with family your kids don’t get to see often
  6. Make sock puppets. I had to collect a few supplies but after I had what I needed I sat on the recliner next to an outlet and glued button eyes and yarn hair on a few old socks. I then sat while we played with them and tried to get them to put on a puppet show. (they didn’t want to but maybe your kids will!)
  7. paint nails. My four year old never gets tired of me painting her nails.
  8. Play Simon says
  9. If you can’t get to other people have other people come to you. Never mind that the house is messy, people don’t care! Invite some one over for a playdate. You and your friend can visit and the kids will entertain themselves
  10. make cards. The last couple mornings we sat and made cards for residents at the nursing home for when we visit with our homeschool group next month. This one takes some clean up so it would depend how active you can be.
  11. take photos. You may have to delete several hundred photos of your phone but my daughter loves it when I let her take photos with my phone. She sat up her stuffed animal on the couch and did a photo shoot with it.
  12. Amazon Prime. I am so glad we got wi-fi right before my surgery. It has given us new stuff to watch which is much more entertaining for the kids than if they were watching the videos we have that they’ve watched a lot of times
  13. Go pretend grocery shopping. I used green construction paper and made the kids fake money and then gave them grocery lists and a plastic shopping bag each and sent them to their kitchen set to play grocery store. It made the toys they already have seem exciting.
  14. dress up and dance to music. I don’t know why but if music is turned on the kids like to get out their dress up clothes and dance around with crazy costumes on.
  15. Let them try on your clothes. E likes it when I let her get in my drawers and try on my clothes. My skirts are bigger than her whole body but she thinks it’s fun.
  16. listen to an audio book for kids. This would be a good one if you were sick because you don’t have to use your voice.
  17. play hot potato. The other day I had E get out a big teddy bear and I taught her the hot potato song as we threw it back and forth to each other.

That’s my list for now! Share in the comments, did you have a time when you had to keep little kids busy while you were down and what did you do?

2018 goals and plans

I usually wake up first day of the new year with goals in hand ready to get started. This year my only goal has been so far to get through one day at a time while my foot heals and wait for normal life to resume again. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have things I want to work on this year though! One more week and then I get the stitches out of my foot and then hopefully I’ll be cleared to walk on it.

A while back the children’s librarian asked me and another homeschool mom who brings her daughter to story time if we would be interested in a kids who code class for homeschoolers. We told her we would be but I hadn’t heard anything about it since. I opened up the newsletter from our homeschool co-op and there is a coding class for homeschoolers at the library now! I quickly signed up E and I’m looking forward to her getting to attend. I don’t know much at all about coding. The librarian said the kids will learn to program a toy mouse and even kids as young as my preschooler can learn to do it. It will be different than anything E has done before and I’m so excited about this free opportunity for her! That’s one thing I’m looking forward to this year.

I have a short list of goals this year. I usually (okay, always) go overboard on goal setting so I’m trying to keep this list short.

2018 Goals for my children

  1. potty train T.J
  2. I want E to recognize the letters of the alphabet and know the sounds the letters make before she finishes preschool (I know I can’t control if she’s ready to learn these things or not but I can work to expose her to this information and find fun ways for her to learn)
  3. Next school year, (this August) I want to join the weekly co-op classes for homeschoolers in our area
  4. Next school year (if she shows interest) I would like to sign up E for piano lessons
  5. now that we have wifi I want to introduce E to some preschool prodigy videos on youtube https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HdRkFFdkhm4
  6. decide on homeschool curriculum for kindergarten in the fall

2018 Goals to improve my health

  1. I want to print out a food, insulin and blood sugar log and start using it to help gain tighter diabetes control. Last year I aimed for a specific A1C. This year I’m going to focus on building this habit
  2. This winter while it is cold outside I want to at least twice a week use the elliptical trainer upstairs to get exercise while it is cold outside

2018 Miscellaneous goals and plans

  1. I want to attend a meeting to learn more about foster care in our area. My goal is just to gain more information on the needs of foster children and their families in our area
  2. At some point this year I would like to put on another “Grandma’s tea party” for my nieces and daughter like I did before

Mostly I want to go into the New Year remembering with excitement that this could be the year the Lord returns! 

Share with me in the comments, did you make any New Year resolutions? How do you plan to meet your goals?

I still have so much to learn!

Tonight my husband and I were discussing the Gospel of Luke. He said something about Luke being a Gentile. I said, “What? I thought the disciples were all jewish?- what? Luke wasn’t a disciple!?” And then while I sat and crocheted he looked up the names of the disciples. No Luke. I guess because the Gospel of Luke is sandwiched between Mark and John I just thought he was one of the 12 disciples. I also learned this Sunday that Luke wrote Acts and percentage wise wrote more of the New Testament than Paul. I’ve been reading God’s Word since I was 5 but I still have so much to learn!

Speaking of learning.. our “Schole sister” group meet up today to do watercolors. We had been meeting to discuss the book For The Children’s Sake By: Susan Schaeffer but after we finished the book we are now continuing to meet but to do fun stuff with our kids. Last month we baked and decorated cookies, today we played around with watercolors.

If you’re curious, the Greek word for leisure (schole) is the origin of Latin scola, English school. It means “leisure”. The idea is leisurely learning for both mom and kids. (I had to look that one up first time I heard it so I thought I may not be the only one who didn’t know what it meant!)

As you can see in the cover photo I didn’t let the kids have all the fun and spent some time trying to copy Beatrix Potter and make my own little Jemima Puddle Duck.

 Lauren taught us some different techniques using salt, rubbing alcohol and crayons.

Some of the finished creations. Share in the comments, anything new you’ve been learning lately?


15 ways to motivate yourself to clean the house when you don’t feel like it

We’ve all been here right? Ever wake up and not feel like Mary Poppins or is that just me? Here’s a few strategies of mine for getting the work done.

  1. set a timer. Pick 5, 10 or 15 minutes. Clean until the timer goes off and then be done.

2. get dressed. It won’t get anything picked up but it will improve your mood and give you energy

3. make the beds. There can be clutter all around in a room but if the bed is made it creates a clean surface that makes the rest of the room look tidier. It may also motivate you to make the rest of the room look just as inviting.

4. clean something that has been bugging you just to make you happy, not because it is a priority. Example, every time I’ve walked into my bedroom lately I’ve noticed all the dust built up on the dressers. I haven’t been dusting because there are so many more important things to do right now. But taking the 5 minutes to do it made me feel good.

5. clear off the kitchen table and counter tops. Clean surfaces make all the difference! You will have a spot to sit and eat or work and once you do get around to doing the dishes it will be much easier to have them all in the sink. The other day our water was turned off so I just gave up on cleaning the kitchen. It became overwhelmingly messy. When I decided to just clear off the surfaces even though there was a mountain of dishes the kitchen actually didn’t look that bad.

6. open the shades and let in the sunshine. Light is energizing.

7. Drink a glass of water and take your vitamins. If you want your body to work for you, you have to give it what it needs.

8. think about making your house smell amazing and how much you will enjoy it. Take out the trash and lights some candles.

9.view folding laundry as a chance to sit down and rest your feet

10. put on some upbeat worship music and sing while you do the dishes! Feel the warm water on your hands, enjoy the smell of the bubbles and then lotion your hands afterwards.

11. pick a job that needs done and then pick a way to reward yourself when it’s completed

12. Think about different activities you have coming up in the next week and what clothes you and your family will wear. Do laundry so that you will be ready to enjoy those times

13. listen to a podcast. Have a particularly boring job that needs done? Give your mind something interesting to think about while your hands are busy.

14. call someone you’ve been wanting to talk to and visit while you pick up

15. prepare dinner earlier in the day and then load up the dishes you used to prepare the food and wipe up and messes so you can get a head start on being done in the kitchen and enjoy eating dinner in a clean kitchen

 

You can do this! Let me know in the comments, how do you motivate yourself to get to work on days when you don’t feel motivated to clean up the same messes all over again?

Snow family winter fun bucket list 2017

This week is Thanksgiving but I’m already looking forward to the things I want to do with my family over the coming up cold winter days. Here’s my very random bucket list. Hopefully it inspires you to plan some fun and make some memories with your family.

  1. buy “winter” scented candles to put replace our fall ones that are mostly gone
  2. take down fall decorations and put up greenery and lights- specifically on stairway banister
  3. remove pumpkins and make a snowman snow family front porch decoration using wood and paint
  4. put up lights on porch
  5. if it snows go sledding (purchase a couple sleds ahead of time!)
  6. make scented play dough
  7. make new years resolutions
  8. buy me and the kids matching pajamas (I won’t be able to convince my husband to join in on this one ha ha!)
  9. have a dessert night- make a few special low carb desserts to enjoy
  10. go to Christmas parade downtown
  11. go to boat parade
  12. purchase a gift for a foster child
  13. build a fire in the wood stove and make some sugar free marshmallows to roast
  14. do a snowman or snowflake craft with the kids
  15. learn to sew- pick a project to complete over the winter
  16. learn to knit kids hats
  17. send out December birthday gifts and cards for relatives who have December birthdays
  18. go caroling
  19. have a pajama day and play board games
  20. buy new slippers
  21. try and make low carb cinnamon rolls
  22. write a Snow family year in review
  23. hang up a mistletoe to kiss under
  24. either host or attend a New Year’s prayer meeting
  25. drive somewhere to look at Christmas lights
  26. decorate cookies

 

 

One of my best parenting moves ever!

Last night while washing the dishes I listened to this inspiring podcast on powerofmoms.com

https://powerofmoms.com/cleaning-whole-family-episode-330/

This was a podcast I really wanted to listen to because it’s an area I struggle with. It is so much easier to not involve the kids when I clean and to just clean up after them rather than teaching them to clean up after themselves.

I want my kids to be responsible though and I want them to have a good work ethic and a right attitude towards work. I know that starts when they are really young.

One idea mentioned in this podcast was “Mr. Gunny Sack.” I named ours “Mr. Chompers.” Last night the kids watched as I transformed a towel into a hungry looking monster. I folded a towel in half, drew a hungry face on it, then sewed it up to make it into a bag. I introduced Mr. Chompers to the kids then explained that he was going to live in the hall closet. I told them when the house gets messy he can smell everything that’s not in it’s place and that makes him hungry! I told them with much drama in my voice how the only way to rescue our stuff was to put it where it belongs. Mr. Chompers can not eat anything that is in it’s place. If Mr. Chompers eats an item he won’t give it back until the next day! Dun dun dun duuun!

I couldn’t believe how much fun the kids had with this. They were laughing and squealing and picking up stuff as fast as they could. I would say in a funny voice, “Oh delicious! A stuffed teddy bear on the living room floor, my favorite!” I would make it like he was flying towards the teddy bear and E would scream and rush the bear to the bucket that stuffed animals go in. Mr. Chompers would then act sad before going onto the next thing. After everything was picked up I told the kids they had to say, “Go home Mr. Chompers!” three times to make him go back in the closet. At the end of picking up the only things that Mr. Chompers had been able to confiscate was a dirty sock and an ear plug. The kids had really gotten into it! When E needed help getting a coat hung up I told her, “You beat up Mr. Chompers while I hang it up- keep him back!” It was so silly and it turned picking up into a really fun time!

When everything was picked up E cried because she wanted to keep playing the game! When she woke up this morning the first thing she asked was, “Can we play Mr. Chompers?”

I figure I’ll leave him in the closet and only take him down once or twice a week so he doesn’t loose his appeal.

If you have young kids who need some pick up motivation I highly recommend your family adopts a Mr. Chompers!

 

 

 

 

A Morning Self Care Routine

The last meeting we had for our homeschool co-op a woman spoke who had homeschooled for over 30 years. One of the things that she pointed to as to her success as a long term homeschool mom was regular self care.

Early on in my parenting I realized that I had to do everything in my power to wake up before my children so I could meet my needs so that I would be ready to meet theirs.

Some seasons of life come with exceptions such as having a new born but once I was through that stage I had to get back to taking care of my needs first thing in the morning to maintain my health and be happy.

I chuckled to myself when the woman at our co-op shared what her morning routine looked like all those years because it was so similar to what I have been practicing and refining for the last few years in my career as a stay at home mom.

This is what mornings look like for me every day outside of being sick or a family vacation or something.

5:00 a.m wake up, make coffee, sit and slowly drink it while I read my Bible and pray. This takes around 40 minutes. I also check my blood sugar and take insulin first thing in the morning but I know that’s very specific to me. Other people take medication or vitamins though so working them into your morning routine may help you remember.

I then do a 15 minute stretching routine using a youtube video. Nothing intense, I’ve just learned that it is absolutely impossible to stretch and relax with a 2 and 4 year old crawling all over me. If I want to stretch I have to do it while they are asleep. Stretching also helps gets my blood circulating in the morning.

I make my bed. It may seem strange to include that in self care but I have a couple reasons for doing this before the kids wake up. One, if they are up they want to help which means they jump all over the bed and pull the blankets off faster than I can get them on! Also, if I don’t do it before they get up I may not get to it all day and a made bed makes me feel like something has been accomplished. It’s a mental boost!

I get dressed and do my hair and makeup. I timed myself this morning and I have my hair and makeup routine down in less than 5 minutes.

Before leaving the bathroom I tidy it up. This enables me to be able to shut the master bedroom door and keep the kids out. They are welcome in there when they take a bath or when we are having family cuddles but generally I keep them out so they don’t get their dirty selves all over my bed and get into stuff. I like walking into my bedroom after a long day and have it be a toy free zone.

I’ll usually have a few (as in 5-10) minutes to check email and FB and write any texts I need to send out later in the day. My goal is then to not be on the internet or having my phone in hand until they are asleep for the night. I’m not perfect about it but my general guideline for myself is no surfing the internet while on the job!

I need to work on teaching my kids to stay in bed until 7:00. That was a point that the woman who spoke at the homeschool meeting brought up. Pretty often they start yelling, “Mama!” around 6:30 and it makes our morning more stressful because they have not gotten enough sleep and are still tired. Also, I would really like to know I was going to get a solid two hours to myself every day. I have heard of clocks that light up at a set time to let a child know it’s okay to get up. That may work for my four year old but I really have no idea how to teach a 2 year old to stay in bed. He goes to bed around 8:00-8:30 and I run him good throughout the day. My four year old rarely naps. I just have two very energetic kids!  If you have successfully taught a toddler to stay in bed until 7:00 share in the comments!

Doing this list of things in the morning makes me feel ready to meet my children with a smile and say, “I’m so glad to see you!” If I don’t have my needs met I’m usually thinking about me instead of them.

I view motherhood as my job so I view 7:00 a.m as “clocking in” and my aim is to be ready to clock in just like I would be ready to clock into any other job.