Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Simple Routines

In January I am going to start a series on how to simplify your cleaning routines so that you can have more time with friends and family. Make sure to follow my page or like me on Facebook so you won't miss a post!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Outside The Walls

This week I will be participating in the Arkansas Women Bloggers Thanksblogging Challenge. Today's challenge was to use PicMonkey photo editor and edit a picture of something you are thankful for.

I am thankful that we live in a neighborhood that has wonderful wildlife for us to watch and listen to. All we have to do is walk out our front or back door to have great nature walks!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Adventures in Homeschooling

                                  Homeschooling During an Election Year

Since this year is an election year, I really wanted to make sure that my children could be involved and learn about the election process through experience. I really believe that you learn better by being involved instead of just reading about a subject. I asked a friend who is running for a position in our state if my oldest son could help with her campaign.  This is a very important election year for our district, state and nation so it is a great time for him to be involved in making history.

The candidate asked my husband if my sons would like to come help her at the political party’s open house. My oldest son had another field trip scheduled for that day, but decided that he could go on that field trip next year because he would not get to help with an election such as this for four more years.

He and my younger son passed out stickers, flyers, fans etc. While he was there, he met our local politicians, business owners, TV and radio personalities, and our mayor. I was very proud as he put his hand out and looked everyone in the eye and stated his name. He is not perfect with introductions or speaking with adults, but this is one thing he is learning as he attends these events. 

While he was there, we were able to speak with various people about the benefits of homeschooling and   the benefits of socializing with people of various ages. We also got to show them how attending events such as this one was helping my son to be excited about learning the election process. 

He was very excited to speak with the Chairman of the (notice I am leaving out the party name) Party of Arkansas.  He told my son of how when he was a boy, he would decorate his bike with political stickers and flyers and then park his bike in front of the house so everyone could see it.  My son told him that was how his room was decorated. I told him that my son’s room looked like headquarters.  He was very excited to hear this and he asked if he could pin my son as an official (leaving out name again :) ).  That was the highlight of my son’s day. 

When we got home he asked a million questions. We searched for information on the internet about all the political parties and candidates.  We discussed the main issues and platforms. Needless to say he is very excited about this year’s election.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Free Memories and Adventures!

We live in a small town.  When I started homeschooling my boys, I was worried that since we did not live in a big city that there would not be many learning activities we could do outside of the home. I also worried that even if there occasionally was something fun to do, then we would have to pay a lot to participate. Once I started searching, I was surprised by the amount of fun, free stuff in our area.

We have several state parks in a 45 mile radius of our home. Most of them offer great free programs. Even without the programs it has been fun for us to walk on the different walking trails and observe nature. We have also found a fun new hobby to do as a family—bird watching.  We have had so much fun with all the different programs we have found in our state parks. I encourage you to look for the state parks in your area to see what yours offer.

We have a favorite state park that is a few miles from our home It is an historic village. This is a wonderful place for our family to go. We try to go to everything they offer because it is so close and it never gets boring.  We learn something new every time we visit. Since we go there so often, we get to explore the park in much greater depth. We recently signed up to volunteer for Civil War weekend at this state park. We get to dress in costume and re- live lives of people who lived in that era. What an exciting, wonderful way to learn about history!  This is going to be one place that I know will live in my children’s memories forever.  One day after a fun visit, we were sitting on the front porch of the restaurant eating ice cream.  My 8 year old son said to me, “Mom, this is our place. When I get bigger I hope it is still here so I can bring my kids.”  I encourage you to keep visiting places even if you have visited them before.  You never know what other exciting things you might find on future visits.

Our town has a news web page. This has been a great resource for us because the reporter will let us know if there is anything unusual in town. These events are usually fun and interesting things that my family has never seen. In my house we call them “adventures”.  Some of our “adventures” have included visiting the Weenie Mobile when it came to town. We got our pictures taken for the news web page and took a tour of the Weenie Mobile.  The kids even got a weenie whistle!  We also got to find out all about how a person gets the job of driving the Weenie Mobile.

Another time he posted really late one night that the Met Life Blimp had to stay overnight at our tiny airport. We got up early the next morning and went to the airport to see the blimp up close and get pictures.
This past week the circus came to town. We did not have the time or the money to go to the circus. But they did offer the opportunity to anyone who wished to come see the animals and watch the big tent go up for free. We went and were able to see many interesting animals. There were camels, elephants, hippos, and other exotic animals.  So watch your paper or local web pages for things happening in your community that you otherwise might not give a second thought.

I know that you may not get these exact opportunities; but, just because you live in a small town or don’t have extra money does not mean that you cannot have a lot of memory making “adventures”, too. Happy searching!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lego Fun Friday!!!

I was very excited to see Frugal Fun for Boys post about a building challenge.   This week was a dinosaur building challenge. I told my oldest son about it and he got to work.

This was the T-Rex he created.
His creative juices got to flowing and he was building like crazy. This was the Robin Hood he made with no pattern.
This is a clown and ringmaster he made with a pattern. We love Legos at our house and are looking forward to more building challenges and Lego Fun Fridays!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Calm and Peaceful Days

The alarm goes off at 8:00am. You jump out of bed.
 You have to find the kids clothes to wear, feed them, and be out the door by 9:30.
 Oh no!  You forgot to get the library books together! 
Now you have to hurry to get everything done so you can search for them -- and you still have to make a grocery list.
 Your kids can’t find anything to eat because they ate the cereal yesterday. Now what are you going to do?   ” Just find something!” you yell. 
They end up eating Goldfish® crackers.  
You tell them to get dressed so that you can find the library books and make your grocery list.  
Your older child comes in wearing clothes that are too small. You tell him to change but he says that these are the only clothes that are clean. 
Ugh! “I guess you will just have to wear them,” you say.  
Your preschooler is running around half clothed with a Batman® cape.
 You gently tell him to get dressed.
 “NO! I want to wear my green shirt and purple pants!!!”  he exclaims.
 You tell him that he can’t because they are dirty. 
“Then I will not go!” He sits in the middle of the floor refusing to budge.
 You still have not found the library books that you need or made your grocery list. 
You only have 10 minutes until you need to go. And this is just the morning. 
Think of how off balance the rest of your day will be.

Now let’s look at a different day.

You wake up at 7:00am.
You read your Bible, pray, drink coffee, and daydream.
You make pancakes for breakfast. 
You wake up the kids. They make their beds, eat breakfast, and put the clothes on that they picked out the night before. 
You put the meat in the crock pot that you will have for supper tonight.
 You get the library books that are by the door, grab your grocery list, and leave the house 15 minutes early. Everyone is calm, peaceful, and happy. They are ready to have a great day.

What is the difference in these two days? 

In the second day you got ready for the next day the night before.

My mom always taught me that I should lay my clothes out the night before for the next day. This is something I have done since I was little.
 It got me thinking. If it works with clothes, then why not with everything else? 
Then I decided that I need to look at all my plans for the next day to see if there is anything I can do the night before to make my next day run more smoothly.

 I have my kids follow this routine before they go to bed. 
They are in charge of finding the clothes they want to wear the next day and showing them to me for my approval. 
This is especially helpful with an opinionated preschooler.
 They are also in charge of getting together anything else they might need for the next day. For example:  if the next day is church,then they have to get their Bibles and put them by the door.

When they are tucked in bed I look over my plans and see what I need to prepare for the next day.

Do I need to get meat out to thaw for supper?
Do I need to make sure all library books are together and by the door?
What clothes will I wear the next day?

I also decide what I will make for breakfast the next morning and make sure that I have all the ingredients.
 My grocery list is always ready to go because I keep a list on the refrigerator of the things I need. I put a mark by the product when I run out of it.

Another thing to ensure a smooth day is to try (notice I said try) to get up before everyone else.
 I like to get up read the Bible, pray, eat breakfast, and day dream before the others get up. Having that time to charge up just seems to make the day go better.

I want to add that just because your day starts smoothly does not mean it will stay that way. There are always going to be unexpected events that happen; but, when they do  it seems not to affect me as much if I have planned my day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Warranties and Instruction Books and Receipts, Oh My!

You know those warranties, instruction books and receipts you get with different products? I decided after the 100th time of needing a warranty, or trying to figure out how we got the batteries in that toy train the first time that it might be a good idea to organize them so I could easily find them.
I bought three big notebooks, clear page protectors, and notebook dividers. I divided the notebook by rooms, alphabetized the rooms and wrote the room names on the dividers-for example:  Bathrooms, Kitchen, Laundry Room, Outside, etc. Whatever room the product is located that is the section I placed it in. I put the instruction book, warranty and receipt in the page protectors.  


Now I know exactly where they are when I need them. This also comes in handy when you want to give the product away or place it in a garage sale. You can have the instruction book to go with it and the person can see when it was bought and if it is still under warranty.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Simple, Daily Cleaning Routines

Simple, Daily Cleaning Routines
Daily cleaning routines are a wonderful thing!!!
They help you keep your house clean with very little time or effort. You just decide when a task will be most convenient to do and in 5 minutes or less it is done!
This is easy to do even if you have a baby, homeschool or work outside your home. I am going to give you an example of my daily routine so you can get an idea of how this works.
7:00- Wake up and take dirty laundry to laundry room, sort and start a load.
8:00- After fixing my hair and brushing my teeth I wipe down the mirror and counter. I quickly clean the toilets with a toilet brush (no cleaner).

8:15- I unload dishwasher and put clothes in the dryer.

8:30- After breakfast, I clear the dishes from table, rinse then put them in the dishwasher and wipe the table. (This is a good job for kids.)
10:00- During a school break the kids and I get clothes out of dryer, fold them and put them up. * I try to only do one load a day if possible and I don’t do laundry on weekends.
12:00- Following lunch, the kids and I clear dishes from the table, wipe table, rinse dishes and load.
4:00- Quick clean, At this time we run around the house (this makes it fun, ) to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be and we quickly vacuum with a rechargeable vacuum. (Kids beg to vacuum with this.)
6:30- We clear the dishes and wipe the table and counters. I have the kids vacuum the kitchen floor  with the rechargeable vacuum and I start the dishwasher.
7:30- During little brother's bath, I wipe down the kids’ bathroom counters and mirror.
8:00-During the kids’ bedtime snack , I clean out the sink and get the coffee ready for the next morning.
The best way to set up your routine up is to figure out what you want to get done in a day and place it where you can most logically get it accomplished with little effort. Even though my list may look like a lot, it is really not. You get to the point where you don’t even realize you are doing anything. Good luck setting up your routine. If you have any questions or need help please add a comment.

Monday, July 2, 2012

                                                                Look At What You Are Seeing
This blog title started as our family motto.  When the kids or I would be sad about something we missed out on, my husband would say, “Don’t look at what you are missing, look at what you are seeing.”   The saying became a way for us to focus on the good memories that we had made and not the things we missed.

Look at what you are seeing, has actually started to mean more to me in different ways.
It has become a way for us to realize our blessings and to be content with what we have. It also helps me focus on the little things I was missing before - small things I would have passed over in a normal busy day.

Now I live life more intentionally and fully.  This blog will be focused on Godly living and how to see the joy in homeschooling, homemaking, living naturally and living frugally.