Painting With Ice

Cowgirl came up with a great idea yesterday. We were playing outside, drawing on the driveway with chalk, and she came outside with a cup full of ice. She says “I like to paint with ice” and handed out the cubes.

It was a fun activity, of course the designs don’t last long, they dry and dissappear quickly in the sun.

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Notebooking

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way we homeschool, I like most of what we do, but I want to find ways to make it more interactive and self-directed. I have been studying Charlotte Mason, TJed, Well Educated Hearts, and Classical Education. We kind of do a mash up, I take what I like from each, what I think will work for our family, and I don’t worry about what I know won’t work for us. I have been thinking a lot lately about incorporating notebooking and it was so overwhelming for me to even think about. I didn’t know how to get started, what to do, how to do it. I never even tried because I was just so overwhelmed.

So, I did what I always do. I started looking for resources to help me. Well Educated Hearts talks about notebooking, and I love all of the resources and support available on the website. I wanted to find more information and see how other homeschoolers did it, so I continued looking and I found notebookingpages.com There is a free membership and a paid membership. If you watch for a sale, you can get a paid lifetime membership for a great deal. Both include tutorials, tips and ideas. I’m headed there right now to get started on the first tutorial. 🙂

Journaling to change habits

I have noticed something interesting. A few months ago I was trying to change one habit. One that I have always struggled with. I am a night owl and I was trying to become a morning person. There are many reasons for this. One was just to prove to myself that I could do it, mostly I knew that, for me, my days would be more productive, and go more smoothly, if I was up earlier in the morning. I wanted an hour or two in the mornings, before my kids woke up, to exercise, study scriptures, journal, pray, and plan out my day. I knew there would be so many benefits to starting my day intentionally.

I started a journal dedicated to changing this one habit and I wrote in the journal every morning. I recorded my successes and my failures, I kept track of mistakes so that I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. I used the journal to hold myself accountable to my goal. I made rapid progress, I was impressed, and proud of myself. Things were going well. Then, one morning I decided I didn’t need to write in the journal, I’d skip it, just for the day. One day turned into two, then four, a week, two weeks. This morning I realized that I have completely slipped back onto my old habits. Simply because I failed to maintain my new one and hold myself accountable to my goal.

That changes now. Today I am going to quickly read through my journal entries and begin journaling every morning about my sleep habits. I am determined to change this one thing about myself.

I was surprised that journaling, such a simple thing, could have such a huge impact in helping me change my habits.

How we do Family Scripture Study

A couple of years ago we set a goal as a family to read the Book of Mormon in a year. My husband figured out that if we read two pages every day we would be done in time. There were just a few problems with this.

  1. Reading scriptures based on pages rather than chapters makes is a very disjointed way to read and makes the stories hard to follow. It’s a fine way to do it if you are really studying each verse individually and doing more in-depth study, but for our young family it just did not work.
  2. Two pages of scripture is A LOT, especially for young children who aren’t as familiar with the language used in the scriptures, and especially if you are wanting small children to listen and get anything out of family scripture study. They get bored, they have a hard time following the story because it is written so differently from the story books that they are used to. This resulted in lots of lectures, impatient reminders to the kids to sit still and listen, and (let’s be honest) yelling, and tears. When family scripture study ends in yelling, tears, and consequences, clearly something is not right.
  3. The children began to hate family scripture time.
  4. We, as parents, began to hate family scripture time.
  5. We felt like we were reading scriptures AT our children, rather than to them or with them.

I finally decided enough was enough and began to look for a better way. I talked to my husband and told him that we were done with the two pages a day thing, I explained that we were not creating the type of feeling that I wanted our family to have during scripture time, and that we were creating an atmosphere in our home of contention, dread, and power struggles. He said he was open for suggestions, he didn’t like the way that things were going either.

We decided that we were going to slow down and focus on one scripture STORY a week. Our kids are young it’s the stories that are important at this stage, it’s the stories that they remember. Someday when they are older we can have more in-depth study taking one or two verses at a time, or reading several pages at a time. For now, they are young, it’s the stories that touch their hearts, and that they can find something familiar to relate to, that they remember. And it’s the stories that they think of, or the spirit brings to their minds, when they are in a situation where they have to make the right choice.

Once we made the switch to telling stories from the scriptures things completely changed. If I forget to do scriptures the kids remind me, they look forward to hearing the stories, and usually by the end of the week they can tell ME the story. It’s fun to have them remembering the stories that they hear from the scriptures, talking about them and acting them out. I like to keep some variety in the way we teach and tell the stories, just to keep things fun. Here are some ideas:

  • Use pictures from the Gospel Art Picture kit (I hear that it’s a book now, which is a shame because the box with all the pictures is awesome) or pictures from lds.org
  • Tell it like a bedtime story. (This one is usually used when bedtime is later than I would like and I’m telling the story as the kids get ready for bed.)
  • Read a few verses from the scriptures and explain what they mean. (It is important for kids to learn to understand scripture language and for it to become familiar to them)
  • Watch the videos on the Mormon Channel or on lds.org.
  • This book Children of the Book of Mormon by Merrilee Boyack is awesome!
  • Story kits from Time Savors on Etsy, she has one for The Book of Mormon, The Old Testament, The New Testament, and she’s working on one for church history. These are fun, they include stories with picture symbols so even really young kids can help ‘read’, clip art that can be used for puppets or flannel board figures (check out this post for an easy way to make flannel board stories), mazes, lacing cards, a memory game, and ‘test your memory’ quizzes. These kits are about $15 each, we only have the Book of Mormon set at the moment, but I feel like it’s been totally worth the money that I spent on it.
  • The Scripture Readers, the books that are written for kids that are more like comic books (sort of). We like these because there are lots of pictures to go with each story and my kids love to look at pictures.

How do you do Family Scripture Study in your home? What have you found that works for you? I’m always looking for suggestions and ideas!

Elderberry Syrup (and Gummies)

I’ve been wanting to make elderberry syrup for a while, I though it would be fun to make some gummies for an easy way to give the kiddos (and myself) a dose a few times a week when we are trying to prevent illness and a couple of times a day when we are fighting something off.

We tried this recipe from Wellness Mama. It was too spicy for us. The kids wouldn’t even eat the gummies that I made because they didn’t like the flavor. I might try reducing some of the spices and see how we like it.

But I also want to try this one from Real Food RN, this one from Simply Healthy Home, and this one from Learning Herbs. I plan to try these out one at a time, and I’ll review them all.

I also want to make some regular gummies, just for fun 🙂

 

 

 

Making Memories

I just read this amazing post from Desiree at the36thavenue.com. It really got me thinking, I’ve been really ‘busy’ lately, and have been telling my kids too often to ‘wait just a second’, I need to adjust my priorities, and put my children back on top. The computer, or my book, the cleaning, or even dinner, can ‘wait just a second’ so that I can focus on my child and give her the attention that she needs. Thanks Desiree, for helping to remind me what is most important, and for your great ideas for making memories with my kids.

Painting With Bingo Bottles

I bought a set of refillable bingo bottles from Discount School Supply. I bought these a couple of months ago and we love them! I filled them with tempera paint. I had to water it down a little because the paint was too thick to work well. My kids love these, they paint really smooth lines and also make perfect dots. I love them because they are relatively clean and the kids can paint without making a mess. No water, no paintbrushes, no spills, perfect! I also love that they are refillable. The kids can get the lids off to paint, but then there are caps underneath that have the sponges that the paint comes through, and those fit tightly enough that there is no way the kids can get them off. This is a great activity to keep the kids busy while I’m making dinner, or if I need a few minutes to finish something that I’m working on.

Things I Never Thought I Would Say #1

As a mom I have said many things that I never could have imagined I would ever say. Kids have a way of doing things you never expect and putting you into situations that you never dreamed you would face. So here are some of the things I never thought I would say:

  • “Girls! Did you just shut your brother in the dryer!?” – I should clarify that they did NOT shut Tank in the dryer. But he loves to play in the dryer and will climb in there any time he finds it open. So when I am in the other room and I hear Princess say ‘Tank is in the dryer’ and then I hear the dryer door close, what else am I supposed to think?
  • “We don’t throw eggs at mommy!” – The twins were probably around one and a half, I was getting dinner ready and had left the fridge open. I guess the girls decided to help me because suddenly an egg splatters at my feet. I look over at the fridge and Princess has an egg in her hand, Cowgirl has one in each hand. I’m lucky that I got them to hand me the eggs nicely or I would have had an even bigger mess to clean up.
  • “Cowgirl! Please don’t count your sisters food! You know she doesn’t like that.” – Cowgirl and Princess are counting everything lately, but when Cowgirl starts counting the food on Princess’s plate there will be a fight. I don’t know why it bothers her so much 🙂
  • “Don’t hit your sister with the alligator!” –
  • “Girls, please don’t step on each other’s tails.”
  • “Don’t step on the clean plates!”
  • “Stop fighting the wall”
  • “I had to fix the wall right there. The kids ate a hole in it.” – This windowsill had no trimming, and it was right at the level of the girls mouths, and they were both teething, one day I walked into the living room and realized that they were both standing there chewing on the edge of the windowsill.
  • “Who threw up in my shoe?”