Our Math This Year: Math-U-See

OurmaththisyearI am on my 8th year of teaching with Math-U-See. And so far this year has been my easiest! Last year was my hardest. But that is true for just about everything.

I have three in Math-U-See. Beta, Gamma, and Pre-Alegbra. And so far they all say their math is easy this year. Last year they complained the whole year how hard it was. I don’t know what changed?

How we Math-U-See.

On Monday everyone watches our favorite teacher. That would not be me! It works best for them to watch the video. They are visual learners. And having the online lesson instead of relying on keeping the DVD in the same spot has been WONDERFUL!! I can have them all watching their lessons at the same time -two on the iPads and one of the computer! Although my oldest doesn’t do his math at the same time as the younger ones. The only thing I hope Math-U-See will work on is an app for these digital online lessons, so the kids can get to them instead me having to log into my account on the iPad. They also do two of the lesson sheets on Monday.11862958_10204610974770546_424085121_o
Robby, my 8th grader this year, does one sheet- if he gets 100% he may take the test. If he gets a 100% he moves to the next lesson.
Tuesday-Thursday my two other kids do two sheets. Unless I see the sheets are stressing Isaiah out, then he does one. AnnieQ finished one lesson-all sheets in 2 days. It was easy for her (besides getting stuck on a word problem that went something like this: there are 10 oranges in each bag. How many bags do you need for 50 oranges? She finally did get it- I had her draw it. She just didn’t know why some one would want so many oranges!!)

Friday is to be test day. I typically don’t do test because my style of grading is they have to keep correcting their mistakes. By Thursday the sheets they do are correct the first time. If they are not, then I pull more practice sheets from their Worksheet generator on line. I also use the test sheets too.  But by then they know how to do the lesson.

11259771_10204691216416537_1498742017_oOne area that my kids do not do well with is memorizing facts. AnnieQ is in 4th grade, but doing 3rd grade level math. I did that on purpose cause 1st grade she screamed with every lesson. Every one.  So I stopped math. All together. And restarted the next year. Last year she was still counting on her hands. We still struggled. But still had concepts down.  I used online drills both from Math-U-See and MathBoard. And something happened this year. She knows them. She is not counting on her fingers. I have to remind myself that my kids have early childhood trauma. Their brains are still growing and connecting differently than other children. This has made learning a little harder for them. And homeschooling challenging for me. While AnnieQ may be 4th grade her brain is functioning at a 2nd-3rd grader level. But you met her and she will wow you with her personality!! 

But I am seeing them move faster now. So as we head toward multiplication I feel that this was the year for her to learn them unlike if she was in public school and she would have had to learn them in 3rd grade. She has a much stronger base going forward now. We have conquered 0,1,2’s so far!! 

Isaiah is doing much better this year too! Last year he had a hard time with just addition of 0’s and 1’s. Imagine my frustration!! But he is memorizing the facts, even listening to AnnieQ’s lesson’s and understanding them!!

What’s New this Year?

Last year I bought the Math-U-See App. It was a great addition to our program. AnnieQ has sensory issues and the feel of the blocks got to her. I got the wooden organizer which helped her. But now she doesn’t even have to feel them! Isaiah likes the blocks, but also like the app. Robby has not needed them yet this year, he does a lot in his brain. But it is coming. I have three sets of the Algebra blocks…. I am not sure how that happened. But he has used them before and when I taught Algebra 5 years ago we used them then.11884208_10204610827006852_926965581_o

I love the digital packs they have now!! We always lost the DVD’s. No matter how much I had it organized-that DVD disappeared. I am thinking sometimes, the kids made them disappear!! LOL But now- no excuses!! And I love all the extra sheets that are there to download, and the fun songs are there to listen too! Worth checking it out!

I had a friends 9 years ago say if you are going to homeschool you have to look at Math-U-See. I watched the intro DVD and then ordered for my first year homeschooling our son. I have taught since then I think 18 math classes over the years. Some years I have not taught or we have taken a break. But we love Math-U-See.  

And having to do 3rd grade public school math homework now with one of our foster loves I appreciate Math-U-See more!! 


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To Desk or Not to Desk-That is the Question!

I have been wondering.  Should I set up a separate desk for each of my kids this year?  Their own space to spread out and learn. A place for them to keep their things at all times.  A place that they are responsible for.

Or should we continue with the kitchen table.  Where there is plenty of space to spread out and be together. We can share resources but then they must be put away every day so we can eat at the table.

Or do I just get a fold out table and just use that. Not as big as the kitchen table, but same concept.  But if they touch each other I will never hear the end of it!

Having one in public school and having evening homework, I am seeing how having a study area with a desk set up for her would be good, since the kitchen table is getting ready for dinner.  I have something that may just work for that, but again the question is where best to put it!

As my homeschooled kids are getting older I am really seeing the benefit of them having their own area.  I just don’t know how to accomplish that in the area that I have.  I tried having Robby separate in the front office a few years ago, it was exciting for about 3 weeks and then he just ended up by us for school at the kitchen table.  So there went that idea.

So if I could find smaller table like desk it may work. And still use the kitchen table for our joint lessons, history & art.  I wonder if I could make some? On to  Pinterest for awesome ideas!

As I have torn apart the school area for get ready for our fresh start Monday morning, I am still debating: to desk or not to desk.  And what will be the best learning environment for my three kiddos.

 


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10 Things Every Homeschool Mom Needs and Wants

10 Things that every hs mom

  1. Acknowledgment that teaching her children is a full-time job. I think there are some days that people ask “what do you do all day?”  I sigh and just say “stay at home mom.”  BUT I am not a stay at home mom.  I am a homeschooling mom.  And a homeschooling mom is a full-time job.  There are lessons to prepare, lessons to be taught, children to deal with, lessons to be graded.  Constantly evaluating what the children need to do better.  Are we using the right curriculum? There are field trips.  This is a full-time job.  And by the time my husband gets home most days I have not even thought about dinner.  I am sitting in a state of exhaustion.  Like I am sure most who are teaching in home or at a school building are feeling.  It is a full-time job. And I have determined that I will just start saying I am an educator instead of a stay at home mom.
  2. Permission to have bad days. For a long time I felt I had to live up to all the other “perfect” homeschooling families out there that have the perfect life and schedules.  Yes I woke up.  Nobody was perfect.  And I needed to know that homeschooling was going to have bad days.  Really really bad days.  And it was fine to have really bad days.
  3.  Permission to have a bad year. But what if those days seemed to repeat themselves and it felt like the whole year was bad?  Like having three very hands on children who needed you all the time if work was given to them.  Or complained about everything given to them.  What if you felt like you were failing your kids.  Or you started comparing them to the standards of public schools?  I needed to know that even in any school year homeschooled or not, there are just bad years for kids and teachers.  My kids just picked the same year.  And I have already mapped out a plan for next year to help us move along better.  At lease that is the goal.  Next year will be better!!
  4. Help from husband in keeping the house clean and together.  Every homeschool mom cannot do it all.  They just can’t.  I feel it is either teaching and caring for the kids, or a clean house.  So a clean house has to be a team effort. Or a plan to get help.  While kids can help some with chores, a mother works all day teaching and caring for her kids, just like a husband works all day.  Especially in the bad years-when by dinner the mom is just mumbling cause it was that hard of a day!
  5. Time alone outside of the house.  Moms make sure you are taking time to yourself.  Go get your hair done.  Go drink Starbucks.   Go shopping.  If this means that your husband spends hours with the kids or you get a daytime babysitter-it will be worth your time!
  6. Time alone inside of the house.  When you are always in house with your kids, you don’t realize how important it is to be home alone.  Encourage dad to take the kids on outings so you can get 3-4 hours home alone.  To do what you want to do.  Sometimes I may put on a movie channel and clean during commercials.  Or just sleep sounds good some days.  The kids are stuck home with me all week, they love time with daddy!
  7. Planning time. Also as with just 6, you need to block a day with no kids to do planning for homeschooling.  A day to focus on everything is so helpful and when kids are not around it is easier.  In fact with everyone gone it is the easiest!
  8. Time with your spouse! This is so important!  Because all day a homeschool mom has been talked to by kids.  Touched by kids.  Everything by kids.  She is craving time to be talk to and touched by her husband.  Mark out date nights on the calendar.  Spend time walking in the park holding hands.  Husbands don’t forget the homeschool momma, she has worked hard and needs TLC too!! And wives don’t forget your hubby!  He too has worked hard!  Keeping this part active and alive.  Just spending time talking after the kids go to bed is very helpful!!
  9. Adult conversation time.  Remember homeschool momma are touched and talked to all day by little ones.  We love this.  We choose this.  But we also love our adult world with adult conversations!  I was at court the other day for a foster love.  We had to wait about and hour and a half for a 10 minute court case.  I joked to one of the lawyers that it was nice to have a bit of adult conversation while we were all waiting.  He totally understood!  Make sure you are involved in activities with other homeschool families!
  10. Knowledge that next year will be better! Just that.  Regardless if it was a good year of bad, next year will be better!  So if it is a bad year, make due and get into summer.  Make plans for a better year.  Many factors in life we cannot control, but have a positive out look will help us get to were we need to be.

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Our Homeschool Day: Mid Year

Much has changed since we began last August.  Much has not.  I thought I would touch base with how we are handling homeschooling, public school and babies now.

Last October we said good-bye to our sweet Squeakers and hello to our dear Lulu.  Lulu is in 2nd grade and attends our local public school.  She has an amazing teacher and is doing well there this year.  But these changes did bring about changes to our schedule.  We also started caring for a sweet Gerber Cutie baby boy at the beginning of the year.  We are a full house of 5 at home plus grand baby Haddie who comes most days.

So here is a semi typical day in our house:

6-6:15a.m. I get up and get myself ready (This has been my biggest change since Lulu has come.)

6:30-7:10 a.m. I get Lulu up and ready for school.  I walk her to the bus stop and by 7:15 I am back in the house.

7:15a.m. Haddie Arrives

8:00a.m. Breakfast

9-11:30a.m. Schooling (babies have play time and one has nap time): My kids are so hands on right now that I have to sit with each one.  So I am rotation who I am working with.  Sometime I can get two working at the same time, but till we hit an independent stage again, this is hard.  Exhausting.

11:30a.m. Free Time

12:00p.m Lunch

1:00p.m. Quiet Time (mom’s time)

2:00p.m. Rotate Reading Computer & iPads (30 minutes)  (Will also continue another schooling work that needs to be done.)

3:00p.m. Outside/free time (Lulu comes home)

4:00p.m. planned activities

Dinner and Bedtime (Robby and AnnieQ will also do some of their schooling at night-time.  It works out better for us and them)

We also do weekly dance, music lessons, confirmation, church activities, and visits with DHR in our schedule.  With in all this time, I weave in a lot of time for me to read and do some extra work.  We have about 6 weeks left in most of our school work because we have not taken any major breaks this year.  So after the kids scale down I will focus on key elements they need to work on and give them more time for freedom to explore and grow on their own.

As far as a school area this year, it just didn’t happen.  And you know what, it is working without one.  I really stressed about it at the beginning of the year.  And while yes, I could be more organized with the schooling stuff (I have a missing math book right now!!).  But we are working through everything we need and every where is our learning area! Doing what fits our family is the key.  Next year that may look totally different!

Click to see our Spring Schedule.  Remember this is only a guild line for our day.


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Whew, it is Friday!

My alarm went off at 6:15a.m.  That alarm came to early, again. But I thought it is Friday you can do this!!  I have to roll out of bed and get dressed.  It is Friday!!  I have a children to get up and get dressed, fed and out the door for school.  By 7:10a.m.  I am looking at maybe my second cup of coffee and two more kids wide awake.  Elf on the Shelf has been found and questions about the evening devotion have been asked.  I tell them they have to keep guessing.  Whew, it is Friday.  Does Elf take the weekends off?

AnnieQ has decided to take a shower and wash her hair.  This is a her new stage.  At almost nine, she has discover “doing her hair.” So while she is busy “getting dressed” and Isaiah is working on morning chores while I am staring at the kitchen hoping it would magically just clean itself.

Coffee again.

School time.  Math, math drills.  I have Isaiah jump on the little trampoline the number in the answer.  He seems to have a LOT of energy this morning.  But we will get these facts drilled into his head.  School work continues.  When it came to copy work time, I had never had the two of them so quiet, so busy writing.  I almost had to pinch myself to see if I was awake.  Then they were done.  YEAH it is Friday and they are done! All of their work.  No melt downs.  One small slip of the mouth, but quickly apologized.  By 11 my little kids were done with their school week and we can put it away!! It was free time for every one!

AnnieQ took her free time to “do her hair again.”  Isaiah wanted to take a bath doing his free time.  But AnnieQ was hogging the bath room. So after 30 minutes of fixing her hair I kicked her out.

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Fridays are a good day for me to review our week.  I know our bad days.  Our good days.  Where we are behind, where I would like us to be.  Where I would like us to push more next week.  It is a day of reflection.  A day to finally relax a bit.  A day to say Whew it is Friday!! I made it another week of homeschooling!!

 


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A love hate relationship with homeschooling

I will not lie.  I hate homeschooling right now.

Let me clarify.  I have a love hate relationship with homeschooling.  I hate the daily struggle to get my children to do work.  I hate how unorganized I am this year (noticed I never even posted an awesome homeschool areas like years past!).   I hate how when the yellow bus picks up our foster daughter I have vision of all my children gone and me home alone.  Without out one around me who is screaming at me no, or whining.  Or rolling eyes.  Or making a mess as I clean.  Or doesn’t care.  Just home alone.

I love the time I spend with my children.  I truly feel that if I had not homeschooled my daughter- our attachment to her would not be this strong.  This year I have seen her blossom and I love teaching her!  She is finally at a stage of being so willing to learn.  Her melt down of life have simmer down and we can accomplish task on a regular bases.  She is a little bossy. (Oh yes I used the B word.) And is a bit like Candice on Phineas and Ferb. My boys…..

My boys.  One turned 13 last month.  I don’t know what happened.  Last year when I gave Robby work, he would go off do it, and return it.  This year- it is like having a child I have to sit on top of.  What happened?  My free time during the day has changed (noticed the lack of blogging lately) cause I am dealing with my children.  Or the house from my children.  Or things flying through the air.  Last week cocoa powder filled my kitchen cause a 7 year old got mad.

I love homeschooling cause I see the benefits of it.  I hate homeschooling right now cause it is sucking the life out of me.  Somedays I want to sit in a closet with a mocha and cry.  Then one of my children will do something amazing, and I think-wait I taught them that.  And I love homeschooling.  And then someone is screaming about something-all day long.  Then ….. well it is a cycle.  It is exhausting.  Let’s be honest.  Raising kids is exhausting.

I have looked at what it would like if I was working again.  Something like that could happen.  My kids would go to carefully chosen schools.  We would have new schedules.  And it would be exhausting.

But it is ok.  It is a good exhaustion.  One worth the while.

I have had a 7th grade school teacher tell me what I am experiencing with my 13-year-old, is normal.  So I have to find a new way of reaching my normal kid without losing my mind.  Find a new way of helping my 7-year-old control his temper.  Find new ways of dealing with my girls issues with clothes and cleaning.  Till then I am treading through each day.  Trying to find how to make this year work for us.  Counting the days till Christmas Break.  Which I think will be three weeks this year.  Cause I am the teacher.

As with anything it is ok to have off  years.  I do know I have four things in life that get me excited (besides my family).  Church ministry captivates my heart. I thrive off of ministry.  I thrive off of learning and reading all things around and do miss the action full-time.  Homeschooling is a family life style that I love and thrive off of!  I love teaching at home and just everything that surrounds it.  And I love foster care.  I love being able to help one child at a time.  I love supporting other foster and adoptive parents.  I love now I can help mold future foster parents and adoptive parents as I teach GPS classes.  And I love writing/blogging.  While that is a newer area compared to the other three-it is one spot I can combine everything I love into one spot.

With those four areas of life I love-I don’t always love them.  There are low times in them.  I work through them and listen to where God is calling me and my family to go.  He will take care of the rest.  So I need to do the things I love.  And let the love of my other passions help get me through the tough times.

So for now I am having a love hate relationship with homeschooling.  And I am ok with that this year.    I will take breathers to make it through and know that I don’t have to be perfect.  I will not let this love hate relationship bring me down.

Last week my friends over at iHomeschool Network blogged about the Imperfect Homeschool.  I came upon on a few blog post on very low days last week.  It was very up lifting to know I wasn’t the only one struggling.  Very worth checking out the other ladies blogs!


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When The Start of Homeschool Doesn’t go as Planned

Every year by now I have a clean and organized homeschool areas.  I have all curriculum laid out and I know what a few weeks down the road looks like.  I have a schedule.

This year I have a mess.

It happens I guess.

My homeschool areas is not together.  I have not posted pictures of it-cause will they would still be the before pictures.  I have done a lot of work in the Sunroom where all our stuff is.  But, I am still stepping over stuff.

I have curriculum, but it hasn’t found it’s returning home after we try lessons.  Although my history books do have a create now.

I made a schedule.  I don’t like my schedule.  There is so much to integrate in.  PLUS for what ever reason all my kids need me to be hands on this year, so I have to re do the schedule.  I am trying to find a rhythm in what works.  And with two babies most day-that adds another twist.  Plus there are lessons, and in house therapy sessions for our foster baby girl.

I have gotten school started.  We are in our second week.  Kids are liking our curriculum choices.  Although my 7 year old son doesn’t want to learn how to read oh that frustrates me!!

Another challenge our family dove into was Whole30 on August 2.  We are done Sunday.  This means I have been cooking A LOT.  Which has taken more of my time than normal.

So even though my start has been messy and didn’t go as planned-it will get there-just not this week.  But maybe next week.

Here are my kids back to school pictures.10341645_10202399630208314_256014283437937738_n 10565151_10202399630488321_3373887442335497507_n 10606206_10202399630808329_6853444217310123537_n 1538781_10202399999977558_8243217598278921460_n 1554636_10202400001577598_5874963622888268526_n


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10 Things You Need to Know About our Curriculum for Homeschooling

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It is hard to believe that our public schools started back three days ago.  We went swimming that day.  It has been a busy summer and I find myself realizing it is time to get things in order to start our school year.  So as I made a path through our homeschool room to sit down (I will not even show you a picture yet-come back in a few weeks) I have 10 things to let you know about our curriculum we use for homeschooling.

  1. We continue in last year’s school books.  Some of my kids will pick right off where they left off in last years books.  Isaiah(1st/2nd) I just stopped him in this math last February.  It was too stressful.  I just moved him to doing drills on a computer program and made all our lives happier.  He knows that he doesn’t get a new math book this year-he is starting off where we left off-with a little review.  Robby (7th) will continue in his writing book Jump In from Apologia.  (We love and use Apologia science too!)
  2. If something works well-we don’t mess with it! We love Math-U-See!  Been using it since Robby was in kindergarten.  But one year I took off.  I thought he wasn’t ready to go on.  I tried something different.  And it didn’t work for us.  We don’t mess with math now.  We will slow down math, but we are staying with Math-U-See.  Cause it works!  (P.S. did you know they finally put the blocks on the iPad!  It will be great for AnnieQ who hates the feel of the blocks!)
  3. If something does not work well-I finally gave myself permission to try something new.  I love Spell to Write and Read program.  I taught Robby with it. I highly recommend it.   But it was not working with my two little ones last year.  I was pulling my hair out.  I finally had to give my self permission to try some thing new.  It was not the program’s fault.  It was that my kids needs something different.  Isaiah, like math-I just stopped teaching him reading and writing last year.  AnnieQ I moved to Alpha Omega LifePacs for Language Arts last January-I will continue in with the other half this year.  I am not sure what reading curriculum I am going to use with Isaiah yet-as I don’t think the LifePacs work with him.  (He is a one of a kind kid :))
  4. We are not afraid of brand new curriculum.  This year we are trying Spelling You See!.  I love the Charlotte Mason Approach! I am even going to use it with my 12-year-old because he asked for extra help with his spelling.  Also if we are looking for shorter lessons we look for new Unit Studies.  So many topics to pick from!   I also am looking to bring in a language this year for Robby. He wants to be a pastor, so we want to start with Latin.  I am still researching curriculums for him.
  5. Sometimes nothing is more. One year I had no history curriculum.  None.  My kids explored history from their own interest.  We had taken a few trips early in the school year and they were able to see things that no text-book was able to provide.  When they wanted to learn about Greece- we got books and the internet was an awesome place to travel the world.  We love Google!  I find that on days I don’t give them school work or  “topics” they can still find interest.  My boys are better at this than my daughter though-so I have taken note of that.
  6. Speaking of the Google-we love technology!  We have great apps and computer programs that our kids use. Google is our best friend.  We have two iPad that the kids share and a Kindle.  While it is not a bulk of our learning-it provides the world for our kids.  As a side note: that world is dangerous, please protect your kids.  We use safe eyes.  Know what your kids are up too.  And don’t feel bad to limit them.
  7. We love just good old plain paper and pencils.  Ok, I know you are thinking, sure they got to have that.  But kids learn so much from an empty pad of paper and a pencils.  I give my kids a sketch book, and notebook.  These are free to create with-with in our rules.
  8. We sign up for classes.  We don’t homeschool to shelter our kids from the world.  We partly homeschool to give our kids more of the world than just a class room. So I like getting my kids signed up in different classes around town.  We are going to do robotics team, science classes, music and dance classes, gymnastic classes,  along with some swimming and who knows what other classes we find through out the year.
  9. Books, books and more books. I decided that for history this year we were going to use Beautiful Feet.  I have used it before with both Robby and Jeremy so I had a lot of the books already.   I love curriculum that is based off of living literature and lots of books other than just a text book.  We have a lot of books.  While my kids are behind in learning to read (part from their past), they are thriving the more they learn.  We read a lot in this family.
  10. Just everyday Life.  While I suppose I could design or follow a “cooking” curriculum or health curriculum, or Home Economics,  sometimes the best learning is in everyday life.  I have learned not to be afraid of that.  While I know with High School looming in our future I will tighten up these learning experiences to gain credits-for now-I love that the kids are taking interest and experimenting while failing and succeeding in all different areas of life.

As you can see, curriculum for us is not a set text book or program.  It is a combination of things that work for our family.  Every year that changes as our children change.  We are excited for this years curriculum!

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Lunch time is really cooking lessons in our house

And then comes lunch time.  I hate lunch time.  I dream of all these healthy homemade cooked lunches for my children-but more than normal I end up buying process foods.

It seems that when I mention I educate my children at home, I get a “oh that’s great, but I could never do that” or this look with “that’s nice.”  And it’s then that I find myself justifying our family’s education choices. Something I should not have to do but do.

Today is a half sick day.  My two little ones are under the weather, and didn’t sleep well last night.  Robby is fine and has been doing his assigned school work.  Our morning has been off and on with tired cranky children-with a tired more than normal sleep deprived mother.

And then comes lunch time.  I hate lunch time.  I dream of all these healthy homemade cooked lunches for my children-but more than normal I end up buying process foods.  Last week I for the first time followed the whole week of E-meals- breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It was great to have some ideas on hand.  This week I plan to follow it again-but have not been shopping yet for the week (something I avoid like the plagues with the children.)  But I had a breakfast still left over from last week of eggs.

So-I think -Robby needs to expand his egg cooking abilities.  He has the basic eggs down.  Today, here is what we did.

  • I got out of the fridge
    • three cloves of garlic
    • a head of broccoli
    • some green onion
    • tomatoes
    • fresh parsley
    • a pack of honey baked ham that I can eat (no sodium nitrates)
    • shredded cheese
    • eggs
  • I had Robby chop up all but the cheese and eggs
  • While he was scrambling the eggs I showed him how to start sautéing the veggies.
  • After they were done he heated up the ham.
  • Then cooked the eggs
  • After the eggs where almost done, he added in the veggies (minus tomatoes) and ham.
  • Those that wanted cheese and tomatoes could put them on after.

He was so proud of himself.  He said this was the biggest dish he has cooked so far. (I think he has cooked bigger but maybe because of the cutting it seemed bigger.)  Isaiah was his sous chief.  Helped with cleaning up.

I think now once a week we will have “cooking lessons” for lunch time.  And also plan to follow some Emeals for other lunch ideas along with Cooking for a Month.  And for a great monthly schedule from Confession of a Homeschooler– she has it all laid out for the month!  I have done that before, it does make life easier!

p.s we cooked with the green frying pan.  Love this pan.  Just saying.

And then comes lunch time.  I hate lunch time.  I dream of all these healthy homemade cooked lunches for my children-but more than normal I end up buying process foods.


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5 Cool Crafts to Keep you Warm this Winter

coolSeriously.  It has been cold this winter.  I mean bone chilling cold! Florida has been in the 40’s and Texas got snow!  I live in North Alabama and it seems that nights are in the teens or single digits are becoming the norm.  While some areas that may seem warm-this is the south and it is plain cold.  Plus it is darker and dreary.  The children are on the edge -the cold was fun for a while because they could freeze everything, but after a while-it is just cold.

So on a day a few weeks ago when it was like 6 degrees or 9 degrees or some extremely cold day I asked my kids-what could we make that would keep us warm this winter.  And just like that they came up with a list of crafts and a few foods to keep them warm.  Since the cold weather doesn’t seem to letting go of us, we are working on staying warm.

  1. Making Scarves.  My kids love it when we make scarves.  We have many both from fleece and knitted.  There are some simple ones and more complicated.  We made a simple one.
    • Robby wanted to make a scarf that like he saw at Disney-it was Mickey ears on top and it was long with mittens on the end.  He has not found his “fabric” of choice yet.  Check out these other fun scarves at Spoonful.
    • Looming Scarves.  I have made the kids scarves from looming.  I find it relaxing and an easy alternative to knitting.  I normally only do this in the winter while watching TV and the minute the weather becomes warm I quite.  If I would stay with it I would have lots of gifts!  LOL
    • Isaiah saw this one and was hooked!  So we one day we happen to be at Hobby Lobby and picked up some fleece.  This was easy, easy, easy!
    • This looks fun-but I have never done anything with felting.  Have you?  This would be great for older kids or maybe you want to be a little brave?
    • No Sew is always a key word for an easy warm craft!
  2. Hand Warmers.  Robby was trying to describe to me these things that broke and that he put all over him at a camp out with friends.   Finally I got they were  hand warmers.  He asked if we can make some.  I told him sure,  I think if we just sew little squares, put some rice in them, and then they can pop them into the microwave before going out.  Kinda like bean bags but with rice. Should not be that hard right?   Come to find out, these are pretty popular.
    • A cute heart hand warmer. Here I that it may be better to use corn (but not pop corn!)
    • Ok so not one you make but a fun experiment in hand warmers!
    • Here is a Ziplock  hand warmer.  This is what my son whats to make.
  3. Make your own soap and bath salt.  What a better way to warm yourself up than a nice hot bath!  We have  made a fun oatmeal lavender soap using a kit from Hobby Lobby.  I had it sitting around for a few years.  I poured my mixture into a lined cookie sheet and then just cut it.  And then I cute one into tiny bits, the kids love those.
    • I always think that soaps that smell great are fun to use!  I love all the wonderful suggestions on fragrance oils here on Bramble Berry. They have lots of great resources for making your own soap, (along with lip balms which I am researching!).  I would love to learn how to make cold process soaps-they are so beautiful!  Maybe for a warmer day though!
    • Create cards to send.  Valentine day is around the corner and on these really, really cold days-set out all the cut craft supplies and get creating.  Better yet, invite some friends over to have a card party!  Make it an adult party and break out the wine and cheese, or involve the kids and have hot coco and cookies.  If your church has a list of shut in’s send cards.  Look at this fancy Valentine Card Making Party on HGTV.  Or this one at Better Homes and Garden.
    • Make a Sun Catcher.  On cold days we try to follow the sun.  We have lots of windows and I am so thankful for that.  Making fun sun catcher is a great way to focus of the warm sun on a colder day.
      • Some awesome ideas for lots of sun catcher and stain glass windows at The Artful Parent.
      • I have never seen a sun catcher made with pony tail beads, but this was worth checking out.
      • Buggy and Buddy make a fun sun catcher with crayon shavings.
      • Of course there is my kids favorite sun catcher with tissue paper.  Check out these cute hearts at First Palette.

As the winter keeps blowing all this cold air, hopeful you will keep warm with these ideas.  Need more ideas, check out my craft board on Pinterest.

Now I know you may be wondering what food ideas the kids picked to keep themselves warm.  Hot Coco, warm cookies, grill cheese and soup.

survivingthewinterblahs


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