How I Got it Together or Not

So last year I made a plan, and I got it together.

-I watched less pointless TV and watch what I really want
-went to more movies
-took more walks with our dog
-made more of our meals and we ate out less
-went on a few cruises*
-took an amazing road trip
-read many books this year in place of all that TV I am not going to watch
-made lots of time for my crafts, knitting, sewing and other DIY’s
-have a super veggi garden
-grew cutting flowers
-got a few facial every now and then
-went on many dates with hubby*
-got rid of lots of unneeded stuff
-scale down kids clothing-organize the stuff better
-ebay and sold lots of  some stuff
-Put Christmas stuff up in Jan*
-Blog and wrote more*
-kept up with the DCE world
-got an amazing emergency kit and plan together
-wrote more letters
-sent birthday cards on time
-organize and clean everything
-had many more kisses and cuddles*
-Foster a few*
-Made my kids laugh every day!*
-scream less
-Made lists and organize my time better
-enjoying homeschooling and let my kids grow*
-helped church form a plan and goals starting with the board of education
-keep well informed on the election, but not caught up in all the crap*
-Enjoyed holidays-have fun with them
-focused all this around God, who gives me life and joy and peace and grace.*

OK OK…haha I didn’t do all that this, it was a great plan and I still will keep these as a focus for this year!  The little * meant for sure I did them!  So a new and exciting list will becoming out soon, plus a list of experiences for our family this year!

 

What do you want to do this year?


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Organizing my Homeschool Cabinet

In our “office”/storage of many things room I have a huge white cabinet. When I was working as a DCE at church this was in my office. It held everything. When I stopped working and moved my office home (that was a challenge!) this cabinet soon held all my home schooling stuff. But as everything else, it got away from me. So I gave it some TLC this last weekend. Minus the draws-those are filled with craft items and stuff here are some before and after pictures!

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Our Chalkboard Writing Center Area {homeschool room}

I did this Ultimate Guide two weeks ago on Homeschool Rooms.  Our homeschool room/area is far from being done.

Our book shelves are done.

Our portable homeschooling shelves are done.

We are not ready.  I have been dealing with a family crisis (more to come later), getting ready for family vacation, and the beginning of school.  I am ok that we don’t look all perfect, neat and ready. We will get there.

My 10-year-old saw my post.  He saw this picture and said ” Mom, let’s make one.”

I said sure honey, let’s make something like that.  We had chalk board paint. We bought a board at Home Depot.  Robby painted the first coat. I did the rest.  I had two shelves I thought would work, but they were not the right size.  Yesterday by chance at Staples I found two that were 50% off!  Dan and Robby put those together for me.

Tada!

 

Ok, so it is not as pretty as the first one!  But I like I the fact my son saw a picture, and we did something with it!  So for now, we are going to call this our “Writing Center”   I put the shelves sideways to help keep sticky hands off of them….I think I will put curtains over them later. (my two younger ones take everything out and apart.  EVERYTHING!  When we do foster care -may times those children will also take apart things I have worked on to keep together-so I am trying to think 5 steps ahead of them)

On top I will keep writing tools, plus the bins will have writing prompts in them.  On the walls I will put up a magnet board to hang ideas and a pocket hangar to put other ideas in it.  In the shelves below I will have lots of our writing activities and supplies on them-such as paper, letter tracing, ABC games and their writing journals.  The dictionary, thesaurus, and other word books for younger children are on the shelves.  As the year goes on I will add to it.

Robby has just started taking an interest in writing (going into 5th grade) and the two little ones are moving fast in the area!  I want to spark that creativity and provide a fun place for them to write what ever is on their mind!

Stool or Chair?


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Our Homeschool Room Area: Portable Homeschooling shelves

As I share in my Ultimate Homeschool Room post, we don’t have a room for homeschooling, but we have areas. In the end they will all end up at the kitchen table-although I am trying to create their own learning areas this year. It is my first year teaching 4 kids, so it will be a learn as I go experience.

Now we have not started homeschooling, nor we will “official start” till September. We have a big “start of the school year” trip planned for the first week so my school stuff is still work in progress right now.

We have a huge sunroom room on the back of our house. It use to be the huge back porch that we turned into the sunroom. It is about 400 sq feet of wonderful space, hard to organize. Well I always tell my hubby, let me have the freedom of about $20,000 and I can organize and decorate it nicely:) In that room we have the kids TV area, one the main home schooling areas, the dogs crate, a ping pong table (stays folded up unless they are playing), a gliding chair for reading on the other side, a few toys, a lot of junk I am trying to go through and get rid of, and our portable homeschooling shelves.

What I love about these shelves is they are on wheels so I can easily move them! I got these at Target. The top shelf gives me a safe, “away from hands” place to put some things, like my laminated, cutter and microscope. The crates have some science stuff in them and just some random other stuff-more odd and ends that I buy for our schooling.

The labels on the containers are chalk board. I have not labeled them cause I have not official decided what will go in each one. The other labels I found at Wal-Mart.

My white board should easily hang with a few “s” hooks, (see I haven’t used the board since we did our Grapevine Study Review) I could hang other things from it too.

I had my hubby adjust the bottle shelves to get the two drawers off of the floor, plus I have them over just enough the little kids can’t pull out the drawers. (I have to always be kid proofing my homeschooling area or else EVERYTHING will end up out)

My Math U See boxes fix perfectly on the bottom shelf.

homeschool room selves

I will post more areas this week, keep coming back!


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Letting go of Socks

Much is happening in our family right now. While life feels like it stopped moving I have to figure out how to keep life moving along here at home. Last week I just wanted to escape. This week I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Summer is escaping me and I must get ready for school.

So today I started cleaning some of those “spots.” I have had some piles of laundry baskets that have been staring me down and that I have been ignoring. I know what I should do but I just kept feeling for the last 5 years that the other sock will just come back. That I will find that missing sock.

Today was the day. I have no idea where the other socks are. They are not coming back. They have created their own world. I had 3 laundry baskets of kids socks. I have been meaning to do this for months. Just throw them away and start over.

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I know maybe extreme. But they are socks that have been sitting in laundry baskets taking up room. I had to make a change. Today I did that.

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I gained three laundry baskets. I just threw the socks out. It feels good. Socks are on sale. Kids are wearing flip flops. Life will go on after socks.

But I can’t help but wonder, will the other socks wander back now?


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Summer Survival: Are We There Yet? {5 in 5}

Welcome Back to 5 days of Summer Survival-day 2. Did you find your stillness? If you missed yesterday, I focused on you, the mom!

Do you remember those family vacations in the old station wagon, everyone crammed in there, with the windows all down, and your mom had a bandana tired around her hair? The most common question “Are we there yet?” Today we are looking at traveling with kids.

Summer time brings on travel time. There are graduations and weddings to attend. Visits to grandparents and good old fashion family vacations. Not to mention just your everyday travel.

I have to admit the best family travel movie I’ve seen is RV. It took the typical American family torn by the everyday things and schedules-stuck them in an RV -to rediscover their family. Not only was it just funny, and just had a awesome homeschooling family, once you got to know them, but it show how we are just missing time with our kids. Time in the car is a perfect place for that. Oh please don’t get me wrong, I am all for DVD players.

We have traveled with 1-6 kids on many different kids on trips. We have taken the train across country, driven across country, we have flown many different places, driven everywhere and cruise when we can. Only on one trip has my husband threatened to stop the car and walk out because we had a child who we could not handle. (He was a foster child and was tired and had ADHD and had enough of sitting and we had been driving for 15 hours.) In all my trips I have done things differently, a little to keep the kids guessing. They always have a backpack. What was in the backpacks was the key. We always have DVD players.

So asking you and researching on the internet here are some great ways to get you kids organized for those short and long trips. To the swimming pool or across country-to answer the question “Are we there yet?”

I ask you moms or dads what tips you had for traveling with kids in town and out and here is what you said:

  • “One of the biggest things that gets us through is my “bag of surprises”. Every couple of hours we pull out a new surprise from the bag, whether it is a favorite treat, a new coloring book, a small toy –something that they will like and occupy time for a bit is good! Curious to see what other ideas you have up your sleeve! =)”-Karen
  • “My fav tip is when you stop for lunch on a road trip (mcd’s or chik fil a ) I let the kids play while we eat and then order tier food as we go and let them eat in the car. It helps them focus on eating and not rush through it to play and mom and dad can eat in peace. It usually meant they passed out after they ate too! We travelled across the country from Wa state to Florida one summer so I have lots of experience!!!” -Erica
  • New DVD players-Jim
  • “Movies, snacks, toys, games and patience”-Kelly
  • Drive at night time-my sister Christie
  • “Tomorrow I’ll be trying something new. Usually when we travel, each kid has a “carry-on” bag with several activities. This time, I made a bunch of tickets. I’m going to put activities in one bag, and they can purchase an activity with the tickets. Things like a coloring book, connector builders, etc will cost one ticket. Use of my iPod, the portable DVD player, etc will cost three. Oh and they can earn more tickets by reading. :)”-Sarah
  • And one mom share her mini van and how she organized it! From Cassie.

 

 

Keep joining me and these other fine ladies for one-hundred high quality posts full of homeschooling activities and advice, child-friendly and specialized recipes, Biblical encouragement, and much much more!

The premiere homeschooling blog hop, a first of its kind in the homeschooling community,

sponsored by our good friends at The BEECH Retreat.

 

 


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Books, books and more BOOKS!

We have too many books. And not enough space! I love books! I love old books. Books tells stories, give details, paint pictures.

We have a lot of kids books. Because we homeschool we have more than normal amount of books. This was the week I went through 75% of the kids books. I know more are hiding!

We organize our bookshelves twice a year. And homeschooling books once a year. After last year with our two foster boys things still are being put back together.

So I had kids bring all books from their rooms and here is what I started with on Monday!

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Two garbage bags of trash and broken books. All board books packed away for an other little one one day.

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Here it is after I was done. We are blessed with wonderful built ins that I love to fill with books!
I use baskets to break them up and for smaller books. I have all bible books in spot. All readers I got news bins for and separated them.

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Ok so I didn’t get to the top! And I still have MORE BOOKS!!!!


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Makings of a Strong Family-Table Conversation

13.  Encourages family table time and conversation

I know  I skip a few.  My laptop went boom and I just decide to start here.

We use to most nights eat at the table.  I don’t know what happened.  Sadly we have gotten away from them and I feel how it has affected our family.  Normally lately it is piled high with everyone’s stuff.  We are normally running to ball games or meetings or running kids here or there.  We lost our family table time and this has hurt our family.

They say that families that eat together have better grades in school, communicate better with parents, eat healthier.   A few years ago, ok many years ago, I wrote a skit for a Sr. High gathering up in Ohio.  It was “The Three Tables.”  The family table, the youth room coffee table and the Lord’s table.  I truly feel you keep your family around the family and Lord’s table you can keep things pretty grounded!

In our family we were suffering with the family table.  Two days ago  I decided enough was enough.  I wanted my table back again!  It got cleaned and found a  few other things to put on it.  I did this so all summer long my kids and I can sit and talk about different things.

Family table talk

The Really Wooly Cards I found at our Christian book store and they were made by DaySpring.  I am a sucker for those cute sheep! So I was thrilled when I saw them!

 


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Me against the House-the Computer Table

20120519-071544.jpgIt is me against the house.  It is crazy how unorganized it gets.  And by the end of our school year what once seemed like a good idea, just doesn’t work anymore.  So I have tackled a few areas that have been driving me crazy.  Some are easier to do than others.  Others just take more time and effort.  But the computer table was fast.  Especially after I found these new Bento Boxes from Rubbermaid! I found mine at Target and decided to get the lid which hides all stuff in it. I think they are great!  And I was able to put the flying stick down below!  Inside these compartment fold in and out so you can adjust to what you need to put in!   I sense I will have more of these by they end of summer!

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Help for Moms to get Motivated.

Back in January I stumbled on Motivated Mom. Click here to visit Motivated Moms.

Motivated Moms is a printable chore planning system to help you have a clean and organized home and still have time for yourself!

Motivated Moms is a great idea for anyone who would like an easy system to help them to know what to do each day.

Just consult the list, do the work, check it off for the day and enjoy your free time!

It was a product  that give a weekly over view of the things that you need to do so can stay afloat! Perfect for me! I did it for a while. Thing really were going great. The sinks were clean and the entrance was being swept. Some where I got off, and realized I needed to get on track. I like the printed sheets, but decided to try the iPhone app also. Click here to visit Motivated Moms.

The sheets I can write on but with the app I can change thing on it.  The app I can color code, but with the sheets I just stick names if I want to assign.  I use this more for me than any of my kids to see.

Check out Motivated Moms and save $3 today with the code MOTHER.  Good for the rest of Mothers Day.
Click here to visit Motivated Moms.


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