Three Gifts for Christmas

Robby’s first Christmas I went a little overboard with gifts. I mean he was only 7 weeks olds so he needed a lot right!!

Oh how we learned. I knew we wanted to do Santa. There is magic with his story but I didn’t want Santa to be the main focus of Christmas as Jesus was.

So Santa brings three gifts. To represent the three gifts the wise men brought to baby Jesus.

Our Christmas mornings are small but meaningful and the kids have a blast!

Plus it controls there want list and there are certain things (over a price limit) Santa will not bring in this house.

How many gifts does Santa bring Christmas morning in your house?


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Cleaning for Advent

Yesterday I was in a cleaning mood. Not one room is clean. Although much got clean.

It started with our dirty laundry. That ran all day.

Three loads of dishes still lingering for Thanksgiving.

Our bathroom saw some improvement as I hunted for our elf in my closet.

We made way in our garage to our Christmas decorations and Dan brought down our boxes from the self.

And our dinning room saw the biggest changed as I went through six boxes.

Advent is a time of getting ready. I didn’t decorated yesterday. I cleaned. And we have more cleaning to do as we slowly decorate.

How are you getting ready today?


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Must Have Items While Homeschooling on the Go

We are homeschooling on the go a lot these days. Between our field trips, my meetings here and there and just other things that pop up, the world becomes our classroom.

While on the go here are some of our must have items.
Back backs: each kid has one and I have them different items in it to keep them busy. From dolls and cars to books and color pencils-back packs are a must for our family.

Computer boards/writing tables. This is a new must this year. Kids can have a hard to write on. I got mine at Target while their college stuff was out. I store them in a create in the van.

Colored pencils not crayons is a must. Oh I love crayons-crayons do no like a hot car. Yet they somehow find there way in.

Water bottles and lunch boxes. If I know I am going to be out for a bit I have gotten wise and have the kids bring a water bottle and they may fill their lunch box with snacks. This is a must for a little boy who is ALWAYS hungry.

Flash cards and mental math. I may be the only mom who keeps those $1 flash cards in her car! Learning is a must and got to use fun resources!

Paper for sure is a must. Any thing can be created from paper, a story to a paper air plane to a nature sketch with the color pencils.

While electronics are a nice must-they are not an always must.

Homeschooling on the go can be a great way to learn. Our must have items make it a little easier for us.

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Just a “sh” kind of day….

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We are working on “sh” words. Just a quick look into our homeschool room.


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10 Little Things that Make my Day

1. Birds singing in the morning
2. A cup of coffee before the children wake up
3. A clean kitchen sink
4. A Hug
5. “Mom this is the best meal you have ever made!”
6. Going to the bathroom without the cat or kids needing me.
7. Beating a Sugar Rush level (yeah I got sucked in- I grabbed my husband too)
8. Seeing everyone happy at once
9. Sleeping in
10. Talking to friends

10in10

 

top_ten_tuesday


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TV in the Morning-to Do or Not to Do?

TV in the MorningWhen Robby was two I stopped working full-time.  So I found me self home with an active two year old all the time.  We watched a lot of TV.  Nemo was our favorite movie and I sat and watched it with Robby almost everyday.  We never left my bedroom of our new home the first few months.  We watched TV, read books, played with play dough, took walks, and had a nap.  That was one child.

As I moved toward a homeschooling day as Robby got older, I found that on mornings Robby spent watching TV it was harder to focus him, and morning he did puzzles, he did better.  So I stopped TV on school days.  And that is how we have roles for the last 5 years.

Now I find myself rethinking this.  Why?  We are selling our house.  Normally we start our school day about 9am.  I normally have the children do their morning chores and then play.  But their play always makes a mess.  And it is the mess I am trying to avoid.  I can pack all the toys and they still make a mess. I believe it is a talent of theirs, to make a mess out of nothing.

So I started Animal Planet in the morning-The Crocodile Hunter.  The kids love this, it was one hour a morning.  So I decided to see what else was on-that was educational.  Of course the History Channel has wonderful educational shows on.

I want to stay away from Disney and other shows like that in the morning.  I would like to reserve those for summer and Saturdays. But I think that this will help in the morning.  As more and more becomes “packed” and the weather is still ugly and cold, I will use TV to help keep our morning a little bit calmer.

Plus using TV to help educate is not a bad thing, TV, like the internet brings the world to your children.  It is making sure it is not abused that is the key.

How do you use TV through out your day?


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Fish Extender gifts-Mickey Magnets

This was one of our easy gifts for our fish extender gift exchange.
To make magnet I used

    Flat bottom glass beads
    Mickey paper puncher
    Mickey paper
    Modge Podge
    Round magnets
    Hot glue

To make the packaging: I use an index card folded in half, with two washer glued inside for the magnet to hang on. I use a party bag, cut down, photo paper printed on folded in half, stapled to the bag.

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Following the Blue Moon

As we drive toward New York we got a little treat we were not expecting.

A Blue Moon

Now how cool is that!

A blue moon is the second full moon on the month. The first on was on my birthday, August 1.

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I thought this was neat how it looked like a star!

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And of course ever blue moon needs Elvis….


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Summer Survival: Cookie and Cream Coffee Please {5 in 5}

Welcome to 5 days of Summer Survival. For the next 5 days we are going to look at ways to “survive” the rest of the summer. From tips on traveling with kids, to getting into the kitchen with your kids, to some Olympic fun and a Phineas and Ferb style of summer, I talked to you and asked you where you need help this summer. Out of all the moms I talked to the one thing that was common was they all felt like they, themselves, were overwhelmed. Today I want to focus on you.

You know who you are

  • The new mom who doesn’t understand why her new baby will not stop crying.
  • The young mom with small children who can’t go outside more than 10 minutes because it is just plain too hot or it’s raining.
  • The mom counting days till school starts back because her ADHA child is bouncing off the wall and she doesn’t know what to do any more.
  • The working mom who is spending her day dropping kids off at camping, going to work, picking kids up, cooking dinner and crashing in the evening, wishing summer was longer to be with them more.
  • The homeschool mom spending her time getting ready for school while balancing summer fun with her kids.
  • The mom traveling to be with family and barely finds time to just stay at home.
  • The soon to be empty nester getter ready to send their last child off to college wonder what will be in store for them next.

Personally, I am the homeschooling mom spending her time getting ready for school while balancing summer fun with her kids. I felt like I was failing. I am right in the middle of my summer. We always make our list of a 100 things to do each summer and while we were getting some done, I still felt like nothing was going as planned. Weather too hot. Weather then too wet. Washer broken for TWO weeks. Computers broken. I felt like all I was doing was yelling and screaming at the kids.

One night I could not sleep. I wandered our house, which was mess. I came to our front door. I love staring out into the night. I love listening to the night so I opened the door and stood on my porch. The air was the warm, humid summer air with sweet rain smell in the distant. As I breathed in and out, I heard God’s word speak “Be still, and know that I am God;” (Psalm 46:10a)

“Be still, and know that I am God”

I so needed those words at that moment.

What about you?

At what moments do you need God to come and remind you to be still? Stop moving, stop with all the excess that is going on. Refocus yourself to what he has put into your care. I had gotten too caught up in trying to keep my house clean, I was missing my kids. I had to back up and be still, I have to refocus.

I know you all are still wondering what is up with the Cookie and Cream Coffee? When do I get some and what has that got to do with stillness?

Ok ok, when I get stressed at home, I like to got to Target or Kroger’s after kids in bed and get a Starbucks. But lately I’ve had to take them to the store with me. One day the kids where driving me crazy and I needed my mocha. I’m Lutheran, I don’t change much, but they introduced that new Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino early this summer. I am not a cold coffee drinker, but the girl said try it. It was like pure bliss (which I just ignored the calories). I was strolling along, with one whining beside me another dancing and singing and one flipping on the cart. Then I had a stillness moment – a moment where God was saying, even here in the supermarket – be still and know I am God. I will take care of you. You take care of yourself first. And that is what I did. I was taking care of my needs for a bit. You know what, the rest of the shopping trip was just fine. Oh the name Cookie and Cream Coffee is what my five-year calls it. “Mommy is mad, let’s get her a cookie and cream coffee!”

Where can you go for your Stillness or your Cookie and Cream Coffee?

  • Find a Friend. Grab a Cookie and Cream or Cookie Crumble or whatever kind of coffee.
  • Where is your quiet spot? Go there often. Find one if you don’t have one.
  • Headphones. Plug in those headphones while the kids are watching a movie and listen to your music. Here is a song that a friend just introduced to me that really speaks to me.

;

Online

Apps (iPhone-sorry that’s all I know-but many are the same for other phones!)

Books-

  • From CPHCoffee with the Savior by Kristen Myers. I really enjoyed this book.
  • From CPHGod Is in the Laundry Room by Susan Senechal. This is a great Bible study.
  • Four other great books that two friends have suggested to me recently. I have not read them but they both say they are good and worth reading so they are on my list.

Mom, first be still. Go get that Cookie and Cream Coffee, or Crumble Frappuccino. Breath, regroup. That stillness was what I needed. Just that moment with God, the coffee just a bonus.

So here is what I want you to think about. Where do you need stillness in your life? Where do you need to stop for a moment and refocus? For me it was the time I was spending or not spending with the kids. I was too worried about the house and other things I was missing out on fun time with them. So I made little changes. I readjusted my schedule and I feel like I am back on track.

For the next five days join 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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Makings of a Strong Family-Participating

9.  Giving Everyone a Chance to Participate

It is not fair.  She gets to do it and I don’t.  He get’s one and I don’t have one.  It is not fair!  In our family our kids ages range from 5-17.  This creates a unique way of life for us.  The two younger ones are treated different than the two older ones and the oldest gets to do things that the three younger ones don’t.  And Robby who is 10 gets to do things that others don’t.  It’s confusing in a way, but not really.  They all want to do everything all the time and in reality, they all just can’t.

Participating with Household Task

The one thing that always struck me was my little ones ALWAYS wanted to help me do “stuff.”  Give them rag and they love wiping things down.  They love switching laundry around and folding towels.  Give them little task and they love to participate in household task.  It is more fun to clean with momma and daddy and some music having fun, than with momma yelling for it to get done.  When everyone participates, everyone feels good about the house.

Participating with Ideas

I try to involved the kids in ideas for us to do!  It does not always work and sometimes I get really interesting answers. It gets their mind thinking of possibilities and gives them a chance to take part in family decisions.

Games to participate in

Since our kids range in so many different ages, the best thing I have found for all of us to participate in together is bowling.  Last night was Dan’s birthday and he chose bowling.  We had such a great time.  From youngest to oldest!  And I even won two of the three games (which I NEVER win) !  It was a great way for us to participate together.  We had two lanes, one with bumpers one without (yes I won without!)  Everyone left feeling pretty good about themselves and the fun evening we had!

So in your family, find the things you all can participate in together.  Maybe it is camping, or dance.  Maybe it is sports, or scouts.  There are many possibilities.   You can just go bowling!


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