Monday, December 26, 2011

FINALLY! A new semester!  

I cannot tell you how excited I am to put this fall semester behind us and move forward with some real progress.  This has been by far the WORST four months of homeschooling ever. has not gone at all as planned.  I stopped even opening my planner as it was nothing but a huge depressing disappointment to see how behind we are. 

We never did get off to a great start.  It just felt off and weird.  Exhaustion started mid-September (and we quickly discovered why), my brain stopped working through October, we started a business in November, and then well....the holidays.  Not to forget the fact that I was sick with a cold for the first three weeks of December AND my husband works out of town during the week.  I'm too embarrassed to tell you how much work we did (or more correctly, didn't) accomplish in all that time.

Thankfully it isn't a huge deal since we can make our own schedule.  I had actually been planning on carrying through summer 2012 to get caught up, and then just realized (yesterday) that there will be a teeny tiny bundle of new love in our home by then.  And to be honest, I'm not great at multi-tasking during the first couple of months. ha!

That means we have roughly 3 1/2 months to be as productive as possible....starting tomorrow, after a doctor's visit and shopping.  The boys' Christmas gift cards and cash are burning a hole in their pockets.  I'm all for getting that out of the way before diving back in.  BUT we will at least work our way through the three R's by tomorrow evening.  Then it's a full-scale attack on those school books until Baby says it's time for a break.

Even though we're getting back to our FULL schedule, we're mostly going to concentrate on math and science for the littles.  Nathan is my main concern as he will start 9th grade next fall so I definitely want him up to speed before then and phonics for Gabriel is another priority.  I figure if we get a little behind on history or grammar with the younger two and since both of those are done orally, they can easily be caught up during quiet nursing times this summer.  I'm actually looking forward to it. :)

I'm so excited about getting back to a REAL schedule.  My energy is coming back and I definitely want to take advantage of that.  I know it won't be long before exhaustion creeps back in.

So here's to a super productive, fun-filled, educational next few months!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Fall Hike & other FUN activities!

Right in the middle of a SUPER busy schedule, we had the opportunity to go on a hike at Devil's Den with our homeschool group.  We went on an awesome 1 1/2 mile trek around the bat caves.  Of course the caves were closed but we still had a great time. 

My sweet hiking partner. :)

Gabriel came prepared with a bag full of bottled water.

One of the bat caves.  The older children loved getting down by the opening of the caves and taking a peek inside.  I, personally, was glad the caves were closed!

Nathan, Kaleb, Gabriel, and another teen checking out the names and pictures carved into this huge bench.

So proud of how well the boys did on their first hike!  They had so much fun!

Every hiker needs a good walking stick!

Just the day before our hike, we went on another awesome field trip to a local police station.  The police officers spent a lot of time on our tour.  We met several officers, a couple detectives, a police dog, and the 911 operators.  The children were also allowed to crawl through the back of a police car.
We also had the pleasure of touring a local veterinary clinic just a couple weeks ago.  We learned how they take care of sick animals, even toured the surgical area, met some very sick/injured dogs in ICU, looked at those dogs' x-rays (One had a broken leg and another had been shot through the heart.  Both were doing great after surgery.) and walked through the barn where they care for horses and cows.
Our latest field trip was last week to a local post office where they still hand-sort the mail.  The children were fascinated by the back end of the post office boxes when someone would pick up their mail, smiling and talking to the people from the other side of the box.  One lady cracked up a few of our kids by making faces through her box!  The boys, girls, and then parents took turns weighing as groups on the biggest scale we had ever seen.  In case you're wondering, the parent group outweighed the boys' and girls' groups (combined).  The postmaster was amazing with the children, taking time to explain everything and answer all questions.  One of the postal workers even entertained us a bit with a couple magic tricks!

I have pictures of these field trips too but there are other children in ALL of them.  I have to remember to take a few of just my kids so I can share. :)

We have an awesome field trip planned for next week.....a tour of the most historically accurate replicas of the Nina and Pinta.  Both will sail up the Arkansas river into a city near us on Thursday.  I haven't even told the boys about it yet.....they will LOVE being able to board these ships and look around!  I will definitely be sharing some pictures of this field trip!

Soccer season and co-op have ended for the fall so I'm hoping to have more time blog about our homeschool days. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011


The last three weeks have been a sort of unbelievable and unexpected way. 

Actually I guess it started four weeks ago when I was at the D6 conference from that Wednesday to Friday.  We were up early every morning and in bed late every night so I attributed the exhaustion to just not getting enough sleep and the full days...and excitement about being there.  I was starving the whole time....even though I ate HUGE meals.  Of course I just assumed that was because I wasn't grazing all day like I usually do at home.  The weirdest thing was that some of my favorite foods seem to make my sick.  Hotel breakfast biscuit and gravy?  Couldn't finish it.  OJ? Thought I would throw it up after a couple sips.  Pretty much anything in a creamy sauce?  Ick.

After getting home and only being more (and more and more and more) exhausted, I assumed I was getting sick.  I'm a germ catcher....and I had just spent three days in a hotel room, sitting in chairs many others had sat in, bumping into people in the crowded hallways at the convention center, using a public restroom 99% of the time I was in Dallas, and eating out every meal.  Surely I was coming down with something.

It was a busy weekend with a lot of different activities...inside and out.  Exhausting.  I was a sweaty mess at church.  I just didn't have enough energy to keep up, it seemed.  But then again, I was getting sick.

By Tuesday, I had decided I couldn't be sick because I never felt any worse or developed any other symptoms.  I also realized I was a week late but I was a week late the previous month too.  I imagined losing 15 pounds and working out so much had thrown off my schedule.  But it was weird because I hadn't done that much in September.  Five weeks between two monthly cycles wasn't cool....especially since I'm a consistant 28-day kind of girl.

So do you know where I'm going with this?  Yeah.  Tuesday morning I took off to the local store to buy a pregnancy test, thinking that if I took this extreme-crazy-unnecessary trip to the store for a test I would surely start my period on the way.  Sure enough, not even half way there I thought I had started.  Laughed at myself and turned around toward home. 

Only I hadn't. 

I woke up the next morning in a cold sweat after a horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad nightmare.....which unfortunately happens to be another symptom for me. 

I knew then.  The only thing that threw me was the fact that I wasn't terribly sick.  Some things make me queasy.  I realized I would feel sick if I was hungry or ate too much.  AND a big one.....if I'm upset, I get super sick.

I told Bo and he said "whatever." So I took another trip to the store.  This time I made it all the way there and purchased what I still kind of thought would be a waste of money.

That thing showed positive before I ever even set it on the counter!  I about had a heart attack.  I sent a picture to Bo, a friend who knew, and one other person.  I wasn't the only one shocked! :)

Since then I have taken a couple more tests.  I just don't FEEL that pregnant.  Besides being tired all the time, I'm hardly sick but I guess that's only because I know what I can and can't eat now.  With all four boys, I was sick to the point of not being able to take good care of them.  I could barely function.  It was awful.  This time I wake up starving with a queasy stomach.  I eat and it goes away until I'm hungry again.  I eat and.....that's the pattern.  Sugary foods and saucy dishes makes me a little sick.  That's about it so far. 

This is a HUGE surprise.  Totally unexpected.  Bo is so excited and giddy.  I'm getting there.  I know this is a blessing.  I know I will be excited and giddy.  I love babies.  I love my boys.  I can totally see another child fitting right into our family.  Right now I'm just so incredibly tired...and still a little shocked.  Keeping up with four boys at home and all of their activities while the hubs is four hours away five days a week is exhausting all by itself.  Add in first trimester fatigue, and I'm barely making it some days.  I know it will get better once I get past this's only a few more weeks anyway.

We haven't told many people up until now.  Mostly people we knew would be supportive and excited.  Also there were several other family events that we didn't want to interrupt.  I mailed out postcards to our parents this week so we will start telling other people now.  Honestly after some negative reactions about my last pregnancy from family who thought we already had plenty of children, I'm having a hard time telling anyone.

I've forced myself to tell a few close friends and then started branching out this last weekend, telling people I knew I could trust to keep it a secret.  We haven't told the boys yet, mostly because we didn't want them burdened with trying to keep it a secret.  However in the last three weeks, all four of them  have made some comment about how having another baby sibling would be cool.  Drake even asked if he could be a big brother sometime, like his big brothers.

Yes, Drake.  Yes you can. :)

By this weekend, though, almost everyone will know.....thanks to Facebook.  :)

Once all the announcing is over, the fun can begin.  Shopping, doctor appointments, and ultrasounds.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Totally pulling from my Pinterest Yummy Recipe board this week!  I am NOT a cook.  I cannot stand to cook anything......usually.  I like to stick to the easy peasy simple recipes that we already use and I love more than anything to just throw everything on the grill.  However for some reason I am SO excited to try some new recipes next week with only one grill night. Eeeeek!

Monday-Beef Stroganoff and a salad.

Tuesday-Pizza Casserole and a veggie tray.  This might make a good youth group meal.  We'll see... :)

Wednesday-Chicken Enchilada Pasta with whole wheat pasta and a veggie tray.  Giving it a try before making it for the youth group.

Thursday-Leftover night!!

Friday-Grilled Chicken Bruschetta, crusty garlic bread, and steamed broccoli.

Saturday-Life Group Night.....Spicy Chicken Tortilla Roll-ups and some regular pinwheels.  If I have time, Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread

Sunday-Roasted Lemon Garlic Herb Shrimp add chicken over brown rice and a veggie tray.

I would love to make a little time to give these a try too.
Calzones-for lunch and to freeze for later lunches.
Ham and cheese cresent rolls-for lunch.
these pumpkin muffins or this pumpkin cream cheese bread-snack/breakfast.

Hopefully I can add a few new recipes to our faves and I'll definitely need to add more recipes to my pinterest board! :) 

Time to make a grocery list!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I don't got this.

You know that phrase "I got this"?  I've used it a time or thousand.  Kind of a confidence booster to accomplish something and say "hey I got problem!"  Or to come up on a problem and know I can handle it so "yeah I got this."  I say it a lot.  I say "you got this" to my kiddos when they catch on to their math lessons or master a craft or work on their chores or any other time that seems appropriate.  I probably say it to myself a dozen times or so a day.  Like I said, I say it a lot.

So there was a time back in the spring when I knew something BIG and GREAT was going to happen.  I didn't know what it was or how it would look....I had an idea of what I hoped it would be.  I had actually almost convinced myself that I knew what it was and even I was excited about it.  But in reality all I knew was that it involved our church and me....and God was totally leading me down this path.  I knew it so much that I cleared my schedule for it.  I cut back on the activities that I participated in because I knew I wouldn't have the time.  I started delegating responsibilities to others instead of trying to do it all myself, and made myself a promise that I would NOT allow my outside-of-the-church commitments again grow to such a size that I couldn't manage it all AND put in the time and energy needed for this thing that was about to happen.

I remember the day I sat down at my desk and thought "ok, I think I'm ready."  I opened my email account and there sat the email.  As soon as I read it, I knew.  This is what I've been waiting for.  This is what God has been leading me to do.  The email was actually a *hey church, meet our new nursery and preschool directors!* kind of email.  There was only one sentence that stood out to me.  There would be, sometime in the future, a new children's director for K-4.  I immediately sent an email back, asking about that position. 

And just like I knew it would, because I knew it wasn't me driving this bus, everything fell into place.  I know it wasn't me driving the bus because I had planned to go in a different direction.  I wanted SO BAD to go in a different direction.  I had convinced myself that this BIG THING was something totally different.  I was so ready to just get busy with it but when I realized it wasn't the thing I had in mind and when I realized what the real thing was, it made perfect sense.

I LOVE children.  I adore children.  I have known pretty much all of my life that my life's work is children.  As soon as I was old enough, I started babysitting.  I dreamed of having a ton of kids and working as a peds doctor.  Then my dreams moved to being a teacher and I wanted that so bad but I was pushed into a different direction.  Then as an adult I did the thing I loved....taught preschool.  Then I worked with children who lived in abusive situations.  Then I subbed at my child's school while working on my teaching degree.  Then I felt the pull to homeschool...and fell in love.  I thought finally I had arrived!  I have found my purpose in life.  My own children.  All this time right under my own roof.  And then I started feeling this sense of *that's not it*.  Don't get me wrong...we were called to homeschool our children.  We know that with every fiber of our being. 

However, I knew there was something more.  My purpose wasn't *just* my children.  God doesn't give a person such a HUGE heart for kids and then only provide four.  As our pastor is talking (as he often does) about people sitting on miracles just letting this HUGE blessing pass them by because they are too afraid or don't think God could possibly use them for a miracle or think maybe it's meant for someone more *qualified*, I'm wondering if I'm sitting on a miracle and don't know it.  My husband and I actually talked about it for a long time and I thought I had it figured out, but I was going in the wrong direction.

So here I am.  K-4 children's director.  I got this, right?  This is my thing.  I know it's sent by God.  I know this is where I'm suppose to be, what I've been called to do. 

I got this.

Well as things progressed over the summer, I started doubting myelf...and God.  Seriously.  He put me here and I'm not feeling it.  It just seemed like everything I tried to do, didn't.  Everything I tried to change, wouldn't.  There was so much stress and restlessness inside of me. 

I even hinted to my  husband that I didn't even want to go to this church anymore. Nothing I did added up right.  Nothing came together the way I wanted it to.  I wanted to just pull away from our commitments and friends and go back to that easy place where I didn't have this responsibility. 

I knew we couldn't quit this church and for sure wouldn't but something had to change.  I wanted this thing SO bad but it just would NOT work. 

Seriously all of July was pretty bad in my head concerning myself and this ministry.  *I'm not cut out for it.  I can't do it.  I don't have the time.  I don't have the ability.  I was wrong.  I should not have shot so big.  I should have settled for a smaller role....or stuck to no role.  This isn't me.*  Doubt consumed me.  Pride kept me from talking about it. 

I don't got the least.

And that was really hard to admit to myself because I'm a bit of a control freak.  I had it so well planned in  my head but nothing was going in that direction.  It wasn't working.  It was only causing stress and guilt and grief.

You know, it wasn't even anything big that was causing all the stress and guilt and grief.  Just a bunch of tiny things that kept building and building until I just thought I had it all wrong.  I did have it all wrong...just not in the sense that I believed at the time.

So then.  I totally right now just giggled thinking about it. 

So then came last Sunday.  The first day our kinders moved upstairs with the rest of the crew.  These little guys had been waiting for this day all summer long.  This was their FIRST BIG day upstairs in the K-4 ministry. 

Because let me tell you, it is COOL to be upstairs.  We have a LOT going on that those kids LOVE.  Our church puts in the extra effort to not only make these kids want to come back but to teach them and equip them to love and share Jesus. This ministry is awesome and is most definitely changing lives.  I was the only dud, right? 

So not only were the kinders coming up, extra responsibilities were heaped on me and we were short-handed. 

Not only that but our church was flooded with new people this past Sunday.  Between the kinders and new families, we had a lot of new faces upstairs. 

Not only that but we had problem after problem.  Nothing big.  Just little *oh no's* with quick fixes...but it seemed like there were a lot of them and I was the fixer.

I kind of just went "I don't got this.  God, you gotta get this."

And guess what.  He did. 

I was a sweaty, worn-out mess by the end of service.  But I was smiling...on the outside AND inside.  It worked!  It happened!  It didn't go as I planned but it did go as *planned*.

And then. :)

We got home and I jumped into the curriculum editing that I had been putting off all month....because I didn't have time, I didn't know what to do, I didn't want to do it...blah, blah, blah. 

I jumped into it and said "you know what, I totally don't got this either.  God, you gotta get it!"

In just a couple hours, it was done.  I didn't have the problems I had before.  It came together the way it needed to.  It was DONE.

And then. :)

I went to church on Monday to prepare for next Sunday.  It was just a matter of putting things in the right boxes and getting those boxes in the rooms.  BUT there was also this looming issue that I had been putting off.  I needed to prepare the slides for our large group...on a Mac which I had never used before...with a program I knew nothing about.  I had played with it a couple times, but it never worked out that I actually have a chance to learn how to do it.  It was a big stressful lump in my throat that I had just been swallowing down again and again.

I realized this past Sunday that it wasn't going to prepare itself and this definitely fell under my responsibilities.

So I said again "I don't got this but I know who does." 

I can happily say that the Mac and it's indimidating program has been conquered.  The kids will have fabulous slides to go along with the bible story.  I even played around a little and made a memory verse slide from scratch. 

I floated out of the church on a cloud.  My whole day was bright and shiny because of that accomplishment.  And I've thought about it all week long.

Yeah, I finally saw this weekend that I can't do this ministry on my own and that's the point.  It isn't about me.  Yes, I was called.  Yes, this is my thing. 

BUT what I failed to keep in mind is that I'm not the one who is actually doing this thing.  God is doing this thing THROUGH me.  He is doing His work THROUGH me.  He is reaching these children THROUGH me.

This morning I realized something else.  If I say "I got this" and do it on my own, it isn't God's work.  It's mine.  And my work is imperfect and selfish and not at all what I was called to do.  I was not called to do this amazing thing and reach all these children.  I was called so God could do this amazing thing and reach all these children. 

It doesn't mean I get to sit back and relax.  And it doesn't mean things won't go wrong again.  I am imperfect.  I will make mistakes.  There will be times in this ministry when I fail.  That is a guarantee.

But lessson learned!!  When I hear the voice that says "I got this", I know this for sure this time isn't me talking. 

Because I don't got this and thank God.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another Pinterest Project COMPLETED!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Pinterest!  I have found so many cool things that I want to recreate for my family, friends, and myself. I love being able to keep all those links organized on *boards*, just waiting for me to find a little free time.

I found a little of that free time two nights ago.  Bo was out of town and the boys were all asleep.  I was up just relaxing, watching a little TV, and pinning away on Pinterest when it hit me that I had all the supplies needed to complete this little easy-peasy project!!

The whole project took less than 30 minutes and look how CUTE they turned out!

I think I'm going to do a few more after a trip to Hobby Lobby.  I think I need some paper with more reds and whites....there's an awful lot of green! Instead of using a hoop, I'd like to find or make a wire Christmas tree stand.  Maybe I need to search for THAT on pinterest!

If you aren't on Pinterest and want to check it out, send me your email address and I'll send out an invite. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Arts/crafts, history, and geography WILL get done this year!

Yes, that's right.  We WILL do at least one craft a week, including the cool crafts in history and holiday/seasonal crafts, this year.  We WILL stay on top of our history and geography programs this year.  We WILL be prepared.  We WILL have a fun year {or at least more fun than last year}. You know how I know?  It's all right here...planned, printed, and ready to go....waiting on us. 

All of the printables, book lists, and material lists needed for history and geography, all of the craft details, AND all of the paper materials needed for every craft in a nice, pretty weekly schedule. I LOVE it.

BUT.  It doesn't stop there.  I also have all of the other printables, book lists, and material lists for other subjects in their appropriate binder placed in the appropriate drawer of their workboxes.  Everything printed and ready...waiting on us {instead of the other way around}.

Now I just have to get started gathering the materials.  I have a storage tub just waiting to be filled with ziplock bags full of materials needed for each week's science experiments, crafts, history projects, and more.

My mid-school year self is really going to appreciate my summer self.  I'm excited.  Bring on the school year!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New workbox tags.

So if you've been following me for very long, you know we use and love the workbox system.  When we stick with the workboxes, we get things DONE! 
In the past, I've just labeled each drawer and stuck the tags on, telling the boys to just do the next one.  Well I decided to do things a little differently this year.  I loved the strips and *books* that everyone uses but I really didn't want to use all that velcro.  Of course velcro is one of my BFFs {right up there with my laminator, printer, computer, and 3-hole punch} but I just wanted something a little different. 

Using the boys' individual school colors, I made up the cards, printed and laminated them.  Then the fun part {for me anyway}...I cut them out and hole-punched each one. 

Then Gabriel helped me put the cards on book rings, color coordinated of course. 

I made chore cards and activity cards as well as the workbox number cards.  I saved the template {just in case} and I'm SO glad I did because I realized I forgot a couple activities as I took pictures.

This is going to be Drake's workbox storage until he reaches Kindergarten.   He'll just have a few fun activities to keep him happy.

The bigger boys' workboxes.  I really need to add a few more but we're going to make this work for now.

This picture shows the magazine holders which contain different activities to reinforce what we're learning in all of the subject areas.  There will be 3-5 different activities in each holder and they will be able to choose the one they want to do when that card comes up on their ring.  Also the four file folder organizers {left center} have file folder games and fun workbooks.  Same idea as the magazine holders, several different activities in each and they'll get to pick the one they want.  This is my version of the centers found in a public school room.  I also have a few more *centers* that need cards.  The two small green and blue storage boxes next to the abacus on the top shelf are math games, and there are several more storage boxes with more educational games that need cards as well. {These are the ones I forgot until I took pictures.}

We still use our workbox grids. They now hang on the inside of the pantry doors. I can't BELIEVE we're going to use Gabriel's and Drake's this year. I knew we would one day when I made them but it seems a little surreal at this point. :)

As you can see, our new school space needs to be painted and I need to organize our home library this week too.  Both are on my ever growing *before school starts* to-do list.  I found a super awesome system that I plan on using with all of our books.  I'll share when I finish.  With school starting in less than two weeks, I'm back to work!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Look at what I made!

When I need some serious inspiration, I only have to log into my Pinterest account and {WHAM!} I'm off and running with projects!

I'm kind of surprised with myself.  Usually I see projects on different blogs and think "man, I'd like to make that for myself"....and that's as far as it goes.  I lose the blog address or just never pull the materials together or completely forget all about the project.

Something about having those pictures all neatly *pinned* on my *boards* staring back at me that kicks me in gear.  I LOVE it. 

When I saw this address wreath, I knew I had to have my own.  It was the week before 4th of July, and I knew my 4th decor would be packed away soon....including my door wreath.  I went with green since my living room is green and it's my favorite color.  I LOVE the bright lime color!  I forgot to pick up the wooden numbers for my address but I still hung that thing on my door!  I'll finish it up when we get back from our trip.

Not all of these crafts come from Pinterest.  These I've had in the back of my head for a while and was inspired to get them done.  These are for our school area.  My original plan with the nut containers was just to scrub the stickers off and leave it clear.  I love clear containers.  BUT.  It took me FOREVER to do just two and there was still a filmy residue left from the glue.  THEN.  My oldest son {bless his heart} threw them away...thinking they were garbage.  Yeah so I went the easy route with the rest of my nut containers.  I got the Gerber containers from a friend since I don't have a baby in the house anymore. 

I wasn't sure what I would put in the three nut containers when I made them, but I quickly figured it out when I opened my art/craft storage.   1. pom storage....I have TONS that I got on clearance for 75% off and now they are all in one place.   2.  crayons...perfect.  3.  decorator scissors.  And now I have several other ideas for them so I need to make MORE!  The Gerber containers are for pencils and pens.  I'll probably make a couple more for markers and paint brushes. 
I have a few more things I'm finishing up and a couple more that I guess I failed to photograph, and I've also pulled together supplies for several holiday kid crafts.  Each craft is in its own ziplock bag and in the appropriate weekly file in the arts/crafts container.  No more skipping fun crafts because I don't have the necessary supplies or time to pull it all together!  I think I'm most excited about that.  After I finish more of these holiday crafts, I'll post a blog with pictures.

Now that I've actually completed a few of these projects, I just want to do MORE! :)  Thankfully I've probably pinned more projects already than I'll ever have time to complete!

I'm linking up with:
The Shabby Creek Cottage


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New chore charts.

I guess this post should be called {I hope this} Works-for-Me Wednesday as we haven't actually put it into action yet. :)  I have high hopes though.
I decided it is time for new chore charts.  Our current system {which is unorganized and pretty painful} just isn't working. 

I needed something easy, straightforward, and colorful.  I found one that I absolutely love but it just wasn't going to work for us so I decided to make my own. 

I'm starting out super simple with Gabriel and Drake, but Drake is actually my little cleaning side-kick.  Gabriel, on the other hand, struggles to clean {but hey...sometimes I struggle to clean}.  We'll add to theirs later.  These lists don't include lawn care which is Nathan's and my job every week, the school area which will be a group effort at the end of our school day {or craft time}, and a few other things that will be my responsibility.  Their charts will be laminated so they can check off the chores as they complete them.

Another thing I decided to make is a rainbow strip of to-do's for each room.  These are the things that absolutely need to be done before they can mark the room off their list.  No more "I thought I was done" or "oops, forgot to do that."  Each page will be laminated, and the rainbow strips cut and taped to the inside a cabinet door in the appropriate rooms.  The living room strip will be taped to the inside of the coat closet and the bedroom strips on the inside of the door.  They can check off the lists as they go if needed, and erase when they're all done.

I'm going to implement some kind of reward system but I'm not sure how that looks yet.  I know I want a weekly reward {allowance} and then a long-term goal to help form good cleaning habits. 

Finally to simplify, I am going to put together cleaning buckets for all of the rooms with everything needed to clean that particular room in the bucket, including cleaning rags and gloves. 

Hopefully this system will make chore time more pleasant for all of us.

I don't know why the pictures are so scattered and blurry.  Oh well, you get the idea anyway! :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Craft project planning for July.

I {heart} Pinterest SO much right now!  So many amazing crafting ideas...with links to the directions!

I started a board of all the things I want to make but so far there are a couple that I'm super excited about.  I plan on getting started on these this weekend!

The first is just SUPER cute, and looks super easy to make. 

I found these yarn creations on THIS blog which by the way is FULL of cool ideas for a rainbow birthday party if you're interested.

Aren't these the CUTEST?!  I want to make a couple sets of these to hang from the ceiling in Worship Warehouse (our K-4 large group area at church).  The theme is bright rainbow colors so these will fit in perfectly! I may make some smaller versions in Christmas colors tied with a pretty ribbon to hang from my tree later on too.  Family Fun offers this easy peasy tutorial

Another fun project I want to tackle is this CUTE address wreath.  You'll have to scroll down a bit to see the address wreath pictures but I thought you'd want to see the other amazing wreaths she has made.  I will definitely be making that Valentine wreath next year!  I love the colors on this wreath but I think I'm going to go with something green to match the living room.  This will be the perfect wreath to finish out the summer once I take down the July 4th thing on my front door right now.

I have a lot of school projects planned for July too but these are the two projects I'm most excited about.  I'll post pictures as soon as I'm done!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer planning and printing PROGRESS!

I am SO excited that I am getting EVERYTHING planned and printed for the new school year.  Here's what I have so far:

Kaleb's Math

The first 8 weeks of GtG and several chapters in SOTW.  Also I have printed lapbook/notebook materials for science section in GtG, as well as the Draw Write Now animal pages for each animal we'll study.

The Famous Artist curriculum (so excited about this!), an 8 week character study, and the first half of Gabriel's math.

I don't know why this is sideways.  No matter what I did, it stayed this way.  These are the poems from FLL1 that Kaleb will memorize this year.
Not pictured {because I just realized I forgot to take a picture} are some number handwriting pages that I plan to laminate for Gabriel. 

I have so much more to print before I'm finished but I'm sure I'll get it all done.  I'm taking the maths to be spiral-bound with a hard backing and a see-through hard cover.  Everything else will go into a binder or the hanging files in the 2nd picture.  I am almost finished with the book and materials lists.  Super excited about that!

Hopefully all of this summer organizing will help make our school year run a lot smoother AND we'll actually get a lot more accomplished.  No more dropping art/crafts and all the other fun extras just because I don't have time to find materials and print pages!!

Tomorrow....I'm finishing up Gabriel's math, and working on history and GtG.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

If you know me, you know that I desperately need a plan....for my life.  Otherwise, I'll probably forget and whatever it is won't get done......or will get done but under great amounts of stress {and possible snarling and growling}.  If left to my own devices, I'm a seriously and tragically disorganized person.  Even sometimes when I get great plans in place, I forget about them.  {Scary that I homeschool my boys, huh?  No worries, they are thriving and learning....despite their crazy mama.}

I finally got a clue after a stressful year of non-planning that I really need to put some seriously energy into planning to plan, actual planning, and planning to use my plans.  I have been working hard all month to get our whole school year planned and printed.  I still have plenty of work to do, but as each subject gets planned and organized, my stress level just keeps getting lower and lower.

So does it make sense that my usual meal plan is to just fly by the seat of my pants?  Something that I could make SO much easier and less stressful for myself {and the fam who have to live in my chaos} by just PLANNING OUR MEALS.

I've been watching a friend faithfully plan her meals each week and every time I say "ok, let's do this thing."  But then the weekend gets away from me and I start the week in meal preparing chaos...again.

Well not anymore.  Here we go...week one.  Nothing fancy.....since I'm planning on the fly. ;)

Monday-{game night} Easy Peasy Good Old-Fashion Sloppy Joes, chips, and veggie tray.
Tuesday-Easy Italian Pasta Bake and a salad.
Wednesday-Pizza with Grandparents.
Thursday-Lime Chicken, steamed veggies, and brown rice.
Friday-Tacos/taco salad, beans, and rice.

Weekend-Since Kaleb's birthday party is Saturday afternoon, we'll probably just have simple sandwiches and chips for lunch, and Bo is in charge of Saturday dinner {I'm hoping he smokes a chicken!}.  Lunch on Sundays is usually sandwiches or hamburgers, and dinner is with our Life Group.

Also sometime this week, I'm making most of these foods for lunches, snacks, and breakfasts.  I'm making a double or triple of the pasta dish one, freeze one or two.  Our whole wheat chocolate chip pancakes have been a HUGE hit so I'll probably make more of those next week.

Here's to an AWESOME week of PLANNED meals!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My memory board!

So this is what I started with: an old calendar board that we haven't used in forever, pretty fabric, pretty ribbon, stapler, scissors, and batting.  Not pictured are the hammer and small nails I used just to make sure the fabric was secured well.

This is the poor empty space above my laptop on my desk.  The dark brown sides are the shelves on either side.  You can see how I've been displaying my favorite things.

After I stapled the batting and fabric on to the board, it was time for the ribbon.  I'd show you the back but it's a mess! :)

 Can you see the glitter?  It's IN the fabric!  I ran my hand across it several times but it never came off....I'm in LOVE!

The finished project!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE my memory board!!  I'm looking for cutie push pins in the same bright teal color as the fabric to secure the ribbon at the crosses.  Even though I pulled as hard as I could on the ribbon, it is still a little loose.
I have a cutie little plague that matches to hang above the board. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

She's Lucky.

My husband found a little cutie pie near his shop this weekend.  The poor thing had been attacked by another animal.  She has two deep teeth *holes* in her back and one under her right back leg (you can kind of see the one under her leg in the picture).  To make matters worse, she was a mama who obviously hadn't weaned her pups yet.  Nathan and I took her up and down our dirt road to our neighbors' houses with no luck in finding her family.  Bo and I went through the woods, looking and listening for any puppies, with no luck. 

We decided we would just nurse her back to health and maybe her family would come looking for her.  We also made a sign to put out by the road in case her family came looking for her.  Kaleb has been especially concerned about her.  His dog was killed by another animal (we think the same one...possibly a neighbor's very aggressive dog) just a couple of weeks ago.  He was concerned she would die too. 

While we already love her dearly, we still have hope that her family will come for her.  She has puppies out there somewhere who might still need her. 

However if we don't find her family, we have all agreed to be her new family.  She is a sweetheart, understandable shy and very lovable.  She obviously was an inside dog and loves nothing more than cuddling up to Nathan or me.  The little boys scare her a bit so she usually tries to hide from them.  Hazel (our yorkie-poo was a little upset about having her in our home yesterday but seems to be ok with it now.  I know she misses the dog we lost so I'm hoping she finds a friend in this new dog.

Her temporary name (and possibly permanent name) is Lucky. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cool local curriculum finds!

I love buying new curriculum books and much so that I start looking forward to the next year's shopping as soon as I'm done with the current year's shopping. 

I usually find all of our curriculum online, but this year has been a bit different.  Two ladies in our area pulled together the first annual homeschool curriculum consignment sale.  I didn't have much to sell and actually didn't even get my things ready in time for the sale, thanks to a head cold, but I wasn't looking forward to selling.  I was looking forward to buying. 

I had a mental list of items we need for the 2011-2012 school year, and then I had the mental list of items I want and items we would need in the future.  I had decided I would only purchase wants and future needs if they were a steal.  I researched online all of the items on my list to have an idea of prices.

I am SO excited with the deals I made!! 
My greatest find which was actually several finds to make the set was the Saxon Math Algebra 1/2.  I was a little overwhelmed with all the *stuff* included in the set.  I was so thankful that a good friend helped me sort it all out, and I came away with everything Nathan needs for less than $30!!

I also found this Rod & Staff English 3 student/teacher set for $6!!  My long term *plan* is to start the littles on R&S English after they each finish First Language Lessons 1/2. 

This Wordly Wise workbook was only a buck fifty.  I'm not sure if I'll use it for Kaleb this year or next but I do want to give it a try.  As much as Nathan and I detest WW, I honestly think its a good program.  If it doesn't work for Kaleb, I'm only out $1.50. 

There was also a FREE table.  YES!  I found a devotional for Nathan, and Kaleb and Gabriel each found a little book they wanted.   I don't know why this picture is turned isn't in my photo album! This is the devotional for Nathan and the other book is a homeschool book that I picked up for about $2.

So I only found one need for the new school year but it was a HUGE need, and I think I scored a great deal!  Now to scour the internet for the rest of our school needs!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Freezer Cooking-I'm in love {again}.

Years ago {pre-littles} I did once a month cooking.  I LOVED it.  It was one crazy chaotic Saturday a month that actually started the night before with two crockpot chickens.  I loved all the smells that filled my house.  I loved cutting up all those veggies {and snacking on a few while cooking}.  I loved seeing my freezer FULL of yummy meals.  I especially loved having extra time in the evenings.  I worked full-time job, Bo was traveling a lot, and Nathan went to daycare.  I appreciated any extra time I got to spend with my guys. 

After just a few months of all those wonderful pre-cooked meals, I found out I was pregnant with Kaleb.  I was SICK!  Not just regular morning sickness for me....I had all-day and all-night sickness.  I thought I was dying.  Not only did I stop OAM cooking, I stopped cooking all together.  Nathan and I had a lot of take-out!  I got out of the habit and just never got back into it.  I tried a few times later on but it never stuck.

So last week I read this blog post about making whole wheat chocolate chip pancakes and thought "hey I can do that!"  I already had all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips on hand.  So this weekend I made sure to pick up a couple bags of chocolate chips (although I just used one bag) I also scored a MAJOR deal on some chicken breasts....I bought all that was available!

Then today I read this amazing blog post and immediately jumped up and ran to the kitchen.  

The first thing I did was trim, quarter, and separate into NINE individual {meal-size} zip-lock bags all that chicken I bought this weekend.  I didn't pre-cook it because I'm sure it will all go on the grill. {We make about 90% of our meals on the grill during the summer.}  After adding some veggies and maybe some brown rice, the total cost per meal for our family of six is about $2.50!!  An added bonus: there should be just enough leftovers for my husband's lunch!

Then I mixed up a quadruple batch of whole wheat chocolate chip pancake batter.  This looked a little overwhelming but only took about an hour with my mom's griddle.  I made about saucer plate size pancakes. Sometimes my littles will eat two each but other times they'll barely finish one so I put eight in each ziplock bag {2x4} for a total of TEN bags.  One of those bags was consumed right off....they HAD to try them!  So nine breakfast meals....teamed up with some fruit and milk comes to about 75 cents a meal!!

Eighteen meals for only $30!!

I didn't get a picture of the chicken.  Nathan had already loaded it all into the deep freezer before I thought of my camera.  This isn't even all of the pancakes.  He had taken a couple to the freezer with the chicken. 

Oh I have been totally bitten by the OAMC bug again!!  Starting off small, but I'm looking forward to doing more and more each time.  I'm already making a grocery list for next week!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

This looks like fun. :)

In my life this week…

So far...two of my boys and I have colds.  There have been many sleepless nights in our house this week.  Hoping we will all be healthy by next week.

In our homeschool this week…

We were suppose to get back to finishing up our school year after our month-long break in May, but between last week's tornados and this week's illness, we're taking it easy for one more week.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

I am going to a used curriculum book consignment sale tomorrow!  This is the first year for this particular sale and it sounds like the response has been great.  Can't wait to find some treasures!

My favorite thing this week was…

My husband taking over the dinner duties.  I have felt SO bad since Tuesday night, and he has come home from work to fix dinner since.

What’s working/not working for us…

This cold. ha!  And I'm out of black ink.

Things I’m working on…

Printing for next school year!  I was doing great until I ran out of ink yesterday.  Hope to pick up more tomorrow and keep on printing!

Books I’m reading…

Sun Stand Still by Patrick Furtick....reading with our Life Group.  Breaking out my copy of The Well-Trained Mind today to get some ideas for next school year.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Some garden happiness.