Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday's Tip - Sock Basket

Today's tip is - Don't ever start a sock basket. What is a sock basket you ask. A sock basket is where you throw all the socks when they come out of the dryer and then match them later. The problem with a sock basket is that it seems to multiply.

I heard about someone who had one years ago and thought "what a good idea," that way you could match them later, because they don't always come out of the dryer at the same time matching (I didn't note that at the time I heard about it the person was complaining that hers was overflowing and had many unmatched socks in it). I started one with the best intentions of just placing the socks in the basket and then getting to it right away, or having the kids get to it. That didn't happen. And as you can see from the picture below, I now have a large basket full of socks that need to be sorted and dispersed.

So my advice or tip for today would be, Don't start a sock basket. If you have a better way of washing and sorting socks, I'm all ears. I'll be glad to take any suggestions you may have. Thanks and have a blessed day.
Sock basket waiting to be emptied.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Finished Product

As you know, we've been working on our bug board. Well, we now have a somewhat finished product. I say that because as we go I'm sure the kids will find more bugs to add to our board, that's why I made sure we had empty spots. So I thought I would share what our "finished product" looks like.

We had lots of fun making this board together and I would encourage anyone who is studying bugs to do the same. It's very simple and the kids learned so much having a hands on project.

Enjoy our pics :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Day's Bugs

The first day our kids collected bugs we ended up with quite a few. We left them in jars with the lids on tight and poured a little bit of rubbing alcohol in with them. This is the following day after they were dead.

The kids keep bringing me bugs and we just keep collecting them. They are so excited about making the bug board. They can't wait until we put them on the board and label them. I must admit that I'm having a lot of fun, too (reminds me of being in Mrs. Burgess' 3rd grade class making a bug board). I'm looking to seeing the final product myself.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Collecting Bugs

Since we are studying bugs I decided that we should make a bug board. When I was in the third grade we did this in school and it was so much fun. So yesterday the kids started searching and collecting bugs and we will continue today as well. Here are a few pictures of our day.

Jonathan, Christiana and Kaitlyn
looking for bugs

Matthew, Josiah, Joshua, Jonathan and Kaitlyn
looking for bugs

The first catch of the day

Joshua, Josiah, Matthew and Christiana
checking out their finds

Stay tuned as we continue our week of studying bugs :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fun School Days

Yesterday I decided to do something fun and educational for the kids, so we went on a picnic. We studied bugs and I had the kids each make an egg carton caterpillar (yes, even my older kids, it was for fun). It was a perfect day for a picnic in the shade of a tree and I love getting the kids out in nature when we study it. I think field trips are where you seem to learn (and remember) the most. Hands on is always a good way to learn things. We saw all types of bugs and I took jars for catching them in. There were also a lot of butterflies flying around everywhere. A fun day was had by all.

I thought I would share a few pics of our day.
Josiah, Kaitlyn and Christiana

Christiana, Micah and Matthew

Jonathan and Joshua


Reading to the kids about bugs

Matthew working on his caterpillar

The kids took their gloves and threw ball for a while

Matthew was more interested in watching
the ants on the tree.

Finished projects
(I can't help but laugh when I look at them)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Not Me Monday - Face paint, Pugs and Lost at the Zoo

Jim and I did NOT come home from running a quick errand when we decided to surprise the kids and take them out for supper only to find this when we walked in the door.

I did NOT come home after eating out with the homeschool Mom's from church only to find that we had ANOTHER pet to take care of. I mean we only live a 2 BR house(with an office as a 3rd bedroom) with 2 adults and 7 children, a black lab, and a rabbit, we don't have room for more pets.

Cute huh? Well, this is NOT how I saw her for the first time.
We did NOT name her Pugly because she's a pug and she's so ugly she's cute.

We did NOT take our kids to the zoo the Sunday before we started back to school and lose Matthew while we were there. I mean we have a buddy system in place that keeps things like this from happening in our family.

Our little guy once returned to us.

Friday, August 20, 2010

School Helpers

Since there is only one of me and five children being homeschooled I can't always get to everyone right away. On days when I need to spend a little extra time explaining a subject to one of my older children I call on someone to help with reading for my little readers. I enjoy teaching my little ones to read so this is not something I do everyday, but I have found it is good every now and then to share this joy. It builds relationships between my little reader and one of their siblings.

Christiana helping Jonathan

I had a picture of Josiah helping Micah with the map of the US and locating states but unfortunately those two pics have disappeared. :(

Although homeschooling multiple children is challenging, there are ways of making it work. After all, part of the reason I chose to homeschool was to build relationships.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

School Work Around the Table

As those of you who have been keeping up with us for a while know, we are renting a small 2 BR house with an office. The reason is because we want to build someday and don't want to get too comfortable and end up staying where we are. With that said we do have to work around limited space in this house.

Below are pictures of one of our school days this week when everyone was in the dining room working on written work. Most of the time there are not this many kids at the table at once but for some reason they were all working on written work at the same time this particular day. Usually our oldest daughter is upstairs on the computer working on her SOS curriculum, and at least one of the younger kids is in the living room cuddling with me on the couch reading. My two younger kids were upstairs playing in the boy's bedroom nicely (as seen from the pics yesterday) awaiting an older child to come join them.

The kids in the dining room

Jonathan and Micah

Josiah and Jonathan

Kaitlyn and Christiana who decided for some
reason not to sit at the table.

I'll continue to post pics of different days so you can see a more typical arrangement of our school day, but sometimes it does vary. I don't mind a little variety and the kids like moving around from time to time. As long as they can complete their work, it's fine with me. They enjoy going out on the front porch or sitting in the yard on blankets when the weather is fitting.

So that's how we work around our house. Do you have set areas or are you flexible?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday - Playmates

Matthew playing with Joshua

One of the ways I can get school in with the older kids is to assign an older child to play with the younger ones for 30 minute increments. This way I don't have to worry about what the little ones are up to or if they are getting into anything they shouldn't be getting into to. It also brings a little variety every 30 minutes for the little guy so he doesn't get bored of the same playmate. By having this arrangement in place each older child gets a 30 minute break from school and I get time to spend with the other older children with reading or answering questions. I have fewer interruptions while working with the school children since the little guy is happy and occupied and the day just seems to run more smoothly. Having a playmate for my little guy during school days, Works for Me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday's Tip - Chore Packs

I've spoken in the past about chore packs but I've never shown pictures of ours or how we make them work. So today I thought I would make them a part of my Tuesday's Tip because they are such a big help in getting things accomplished in my house without me constantly repeating myself and asking over and over about chores.

As you can see below they are squares of paper with their responsibilities listed on them in the order in which I want them done. In their morning packs are Bible Reading and Prayer, Getting Dressed, Putting PJ's Away, Make Bed, Brush Teeth, Comb Hair, Take Care of Buddy, etc. As they complete the card on top, they move it to the back of their pack and then their next responsibility is on top until they have completed it and so forth.

Morning Chore Packs

After they complete all their chores (I prefer to call them responsibilities) in their packs they bring their packs to me and I check them to make sure they completed everything (this part I'm still working on, I don't always check and it is one of the most important steps in making sure the whole chore pack works). Once I've checked, I change out their morning chores with their afternoon chores. I have a folder with card holders that I use to store the cards not being used at the time.
Folder of chores (notice my little pre-readers have pics on their cards)

Afternoon chores consist of things like Set the Table, Pour Drinks, Lunch Clean-Up, Vacuum Living Room, Sweep Kitchen, Pick Up Bedroom, Help with Laundry, etc. Evening chores are very similar for dinner then Dinner Clean-Up, and Pick Up Living Room. On Friday we have once a week chores like Clean Bathrooms, Vacuum Bedrooms, Vacuum Stairs, Sweep and Clean Porches, etc.

Below I took a picture of the kids wearing their chore packs, except Matthew, he was upstairs playing nicely with Joshua so I let them keep playing. But, yes, even my four year old has a pack with chores. By wearing their packs they have them on hand and are more likely to get their chores accomplished.
Jonathan, Micah, Kaitlyn, Josiah, and Christiana

I really like the whole chore pack idea. It really has made things easier on me and taken a lot of stress off of me having to constantly remind my kids of what they are suppose to be doing during chore time. I think chore packs are a great tip in helping any Mom teach her children responsibility.

If you are interested in getting chore packs for your family you can go to www.titus2.com and find them there.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to School

Today is our first day back to school for the 2010-2011 school year. I must say that I really like getting back to a schedule where everyone has assignments and everyone knows what they are suppose to be doing. Don't get me wrong, summer break is fun, but even though my day is fuller it just seems to go more smoothly during school.

I didn't get a picture this morning of everyone working but thought I would grab my camera and take a couple of pictures this afternoon of a couple of my guys finishing up their assignments.

Micah working on his Spelling.

Josiah finishing up his Math.

Hopefully my plan works and we are getting a jump start on school in order to have extra time when the baby arrives to hang out with our little one without worrying about school getting accomplished. We shall see...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Getting Ready

So it's been a busy week or two around here. I'm planning on starting back to school on Monday so we will be a little ahead of the game when the baby arrives. I usually start back the week of Labor Day but decided to start back early this year.

The past two weeks have been made up of going through clothes that need to be sorted and given away or packed away. Cleaning and rearranging the boys room. Pulling out old school books and bringing out the new ones and taking an inventory of what I need. Rearranging the dining room (also known as our school/work area). Trying to get the house in general more organized and easier to manage. Meeting my new midwife and on top of all that accomplishing regular everyday tasks such as taking care of the kids and keeping house.

It's been crazy busy and I've missed my naps quite a few times, but it's worth it now that I am getting it done. I'm still not finished though. Gotta finish the dining room, and start working upstairs in the hallway and around my sewing table. Would also like to start working on the boys quilts and a quilt for our master bedroom soon. Oh, and I have two Christmas stockings to make this year, one for my niece that was born in January and one for my little guy who didn't get one last year because I had another niece whose stocking had to be made before Christmas (think I should start early on these).

So, that's what I've been up to lately. Not very exciting, but that's the reality sometimes. Be blessed.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

So I finally got to meet my midwife today. I am so excited. I delivered my last two babies at home and it was a wonderful experience. I only wish that I would have known about midwives and home delivery from the very beginning, I would have delivered all my children at home.

I love being in the comfort of my own home with my husband and children around. I love the one on one attention of having a midwife there with me to coach me along and I love climbing in my own bed after delivery with my new baby and husband and cuddling up to take a well deserved nap. I love that my children have the comfort of home while waiting for the baby to arrive and can color, make a cake or sleep (depending on the hour of the night).

Delivering at home with a midwife, works for me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday's Tip

One way we save money and try to be more healthy is everyday at lunch, without question, we drink water. My kids have gotten use to it and don't mind, in fact some of them will drink water for supper by choice as well. We usually have decaf tea for supper, sweetened though, I am from NC. When my kids want something to drink throughout the day it is always water. They know this and don't even ask for anything else.

So, drink water at lunch and teach your children to drink it also. It's a great habit and you'll be more likely to get the proper amount needed for each child each day by making it a habit.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Meeting with my Midwife

Today I am taking the kids and we are going to meet my new midwife. I'm looking forward to, hopefully, getting to hear the baby's heartbeat.

I love having a midwife and the relationship I get with someone who really takes a interest, one on one, with me and my baby and my family. I love delivering at home in comfortable surroundings and getting to snuggle and cuddle with my new one from the moment it is born and not having to send it away with strangers. I love having my husband and children right there to welcome our new family member and can't wait until I am holding our new one in January.

For now, I am looking forward to getting to know the lady who is going to help me bring this precious child into the world. Praying for a good meeting and safe travel (we have to drive about an hour to get to her place).

Friday, August 6, 2010

School Time

So it is about that time again, and it's time to pull out all the curriculum I have from previous years and find out what I have in my inventory. I usually start back to school with the kids the day after Labor Day, but with a baby coming in January I think I'll start back mid August just to give us a little more time to get school in before baby comes.

I love homeschooling my children and like every year I'm trying to think of ways to make it more fun and interesting. I had planned on switching gears a little this year by doing more of a unit type study with my kids, but unfortunately I will have to wait until later. So I will be doing what we've always done, which is textbook style learning, but looking for ways to spice things up a bit with lapbook lessons and other fun ways to learn.

How about you? Are you ready to start your school year? Are you using the same or switching curriculum? How do you make school fun for your kids? I love hearing what you are doing so feel free to share. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a blessed weekend.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Free Books in the Mail

I heard about Dolly Parton's Imagination Library a couple of months ago, checked it out and signed my kids up right away. I love feeding my kids love of books and having books sent straight to my house for free is the best thing since sliced bread.

Today, my 4 year old received his second book, Take Care, Good Knight.

Of course, there is no wasting time in reading it right away.

I love reading to my children. I love seeing them sit quietly with books surrounding them and picking up one after another after another, like they can't get enough of them.

If you are not familiar with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library you can check it out here http://www.imaginationlibrary.com/. It's easy to sign up and doesn't cost a thing. It is only for children from birth through 4 years of age. So if you have children in that age range why not encourage their love of books by having them delivered straight to your door?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesdays Tip - All Purpose Cleaner

For a cheap, easy, all-purpose cleaner take an empty spray bottle (or you can buy a cheap empty spray bottle at Dollar Tree) add 1/4 cup of Dawn dish soap (it has to be Dawn because of the grease cutting factor) and then finish filling the bottle with white vinegar. As long as you don't mind the smell of vinegar, it's a great cleaner. I have found that it will clean things that some name brand cleaners won't. If you need something a little more abrasive but that doesn't cause damage (like in the bathtub), you can use baking soda then the spray. It works like the scrubbing bubbles you would buy and does a great job.

You will need to shake it up the first couple of times you use it but it usually mixes after that, if not then just shake it before you use it. We use it often enough that after the first couple of times it doesn't sit long enough to separate.

It literally takes just pennies to make. Hope you find this helpful and a great way to save money.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Not Me Monday - Old Teeth, and Snow Angels

I am the proud mother of an adorable, 1.5 year old who is perfect in every way and never manages to get into anything he's not suppose to. So the other day Kaitlyn did NOT come running down stairs with Joshua calling to Jim and I in a frantic voice, only to inform us that he had a mouth full of her old baby teeth, (we keep the kids baby teeth in 35mm canisters labeled with their names so when they are older they can see their baby teeth, weird, I know, but it's what we've always done). Some how he did NOT manage to open the canister and proceed to put them in his mouth like candy. (Don't worry though, we were able to empty his mouth without him swallowing any of them, so all is well.)

My perfect little Sweetheart :)

Since we lived in Vermont for four years our children do NOT miss having a lot of snow. So Jonathan did NOT adorn himself in full winter attire in the middle of summer and pretend to make snow angels on the living room carpet. I did NOT allow him to keep playing while pictures were being taken and Christmas music was playing in the background. It is way too early for Christmas music and dreaming of a white Christmas so I would NEVER let them do that.

Jonathan getting ready to make a snow (carpet) angel