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. ūüôā¬† 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! :)ÔĽŅ

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.
ÔĽŅI 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!

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.

Menu Plan Monday

If you know me, you know that I desperately need a plan….for everything…in 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. ūüėČ

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 tomorrow….eat 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!!

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! ūüôā

¬†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. 

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. 

Cool local curriculum finds!

I love buying new curriculum books and supplies….so 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 sideways….it 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!

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 {2×4} 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!

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal

This looks like fun. ūüôā

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.

2011-2012 planning!

I’ve been a huge blogging slacker.¬† While waiting for life to slow down, I’ve realized that isn’t going to happen and I just need to adjust MY speed.¬† I miss blogging about our school life, and I think I’m going to start blogging about life here too instead of maintaining two blogs.¬† Trying to simplify as much as possible. ūüôā

After a busy spring with baseball and co-op, we decided to take a month-long break in May.¬† We have just a couple things we need to finish up in June¬†and then we’ll jump into the new school year in July.

Last year I read somewhere about printing all of the needed materials and gathering all of the needed supplies during the summer for the whole school year.¬† I decided then I would print every eight weeks or so instead of doing it all at once during the summer {because printing it all at once sounded overwhelming and time-consuming….surely I could find a *better* way. ha!}

We got off to a great start and had all of our materials right there just waiting for us.¬† We stayed on track…..until we got to the end of the previously printed materials.¬† By then, we were involved in two co-ops and, shortly after that, we moved.¬† Then the holidays.¬† Then unpacking and spring co-op planning.¬† Then spring co-op.¬† Pretty soon it was the end of the year and we didn’t accomplish near what I had planned.¬† We dropped all the extras just so we could do the basics and school wasn’t too fun in our house.¬† I was printing as needed which was a pain.¬† It seemed we were always waiting on something to be printed before getting started.¬† And don’t even get me started on not having project materials when we needed them….talk about a pain!

Lesson learned.¬† We want fun and convenience¬†in our school year.¬†Needless to say, I am now working on printing the entire year’s materials and making lists of needed supplies.¬† I’ll collect those supplies as soon as the printing is done.¬† At the very least, I’ll have the lists of supplies.¬† The printing is more important to me at this point.

So far I’ve printed this character study that I LOVE from Erica at¬†Confessions of a Homeschooler.¬† I’m SO excited to start this study!¬† Also from Erica, I printed The World’s Greatest Artists Study.¬† Equally excited about this!¬† We tried last year to implement some kind of famous artist study but it just¬†never happened.¬† I checked my library before I printed this study and happily found all of the books necessary.¬† The cover of this study says Vol. 1 so I’m hoping she’ll expand it later on……and I’m wishfully hoping she’ll add some composers in somewhere too! ūüôā¬†

Then I printed Kaleb’s Math Mammoth 2A….all 138 pages!¬† I’m going to have it spiral bound this weekend.¬† I still have 2B to print and then the rest of MM 1A and 1B for Gabriel.¬† He and I will be working on writing the¬†numbers properly before jumping into 1A but he did well when we tested it last month.¬† His only problem is handwriting so I printed Erica’s 1-20 handwriting practice pages¬†to get him started. {Can you tell I love this homeschool mama’s¬†blog?}¬†

I’ve also printed several chapters of the SOTW activity pages.¬† This took a LOT of ink as I had to print 2-3 copies of each page depending on how many children I have doing the projects.¬†¬†

So I ran out of black ink yesterday….and I was on a roll!¬† ūüôā¬†

My goal for this weekend:

  • finish printing SOTW
  • print MM¬†the rest of 1A, 1B, and 2B
  • Galloping the Globe {which was dropped about mid-year}.¬† I’m half-way finished with GtG since we never used the printables from Homeschool Creations.¬†
  • plan and write materials lists for most of our crafts for the year. I hated that we dropped our arts and crafts after the move….Just not enough time to pull anything together.
  • make a list of everything else that needs to be printed.
  • organized our school closet and finish making new workbox labels.
  • also I want to make it to a used curriculum sale tomorrow morning.¬† I have a list of¬†needs for this school year¬†and a list of wants {if the price is right}.¬†

Think I can do it?¬†ūüôā