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Friday, June 30, 2017

Morning Time When You're NOT a Morning Person

When I first heard about the Charlotte Mason idea of a "Morning Basket," I thought it was really neat.   However, I just didn't see how it was possible with three wild, little kids (5, 4, 3).  The bigger problem was that I am NOT a morning person!

Morning Time When You're Not a Morning Person from In Our Pond
Wikimedia Commons

Fuzzy Brain Time
As I mentioned before, I am NOT a morning person.  I wake up with a fuzzy brain and wheezy, asthmatic lungs.  Usually, before anything else can happen most mornings, I need a breathing treatment.  While I'm on the machine, the kids eat breakfast in front of a TV show.  At a certain time, an alarm on my phone rings that reminds me to start morning time.

Call To Worship
I announce our Morning Time by putting on the first song on the Getty Kids Hymnal CD, which is "The Doxology" and "O Shout for Joy."  The music is energetic and joyful and gets us all moving.  While I gather our supplies, the kids get their carpets and lay them out on the floor.  The carpets are cheap bath mats from Walmart, but they define each kid's space and help them keep their bodies to themselves while we're having our special time.  Once we're in place, we dance on our mats until the song ends.

Morning Time When You're Not a Morning Person from In Our Pond
The Song Book (laminated and bound),
Illustrated Children's Bible,
and Memorization Flashcards

Hymn Practice
The first hymn we learned was "What Can Wash Away My Sins?" which was a great hymn to start with because it's so repetitive.  When you have non-readers, you have to learn things the call and response way.  We call "What Can Wash" the "Popcorn Song" because the kids squat down during the non-repetitive part and then pop-up to sing, "Nothing but the blood of Jesus!"

I have started a song book for our school time, where I can keep track of all the lyrics and make sure that I'm teaching the kids the right words.  Some of these hymns have a lot of verses that aren't sung very often, but my kids are learning them!

For now, we're working our way through the ABC Bible Verse Flashcards from Homeschool Creations.  I've had them printed off and laminated for years and now the kids are ready to use them.  The kids (ages 5, 4, and 3) have memorized five verses.

For the past year or so, we've been reading the Jesus Storybook Bible.  We still enjoy the book, but we've gotten a bit tired of the same forty or so stories.  For our new morning time, we bought The Complete Illustrated Children's Bible, which has three hundred stories.  Each story presents only the facts and covers a lot of Bible history, yet each story is only two pages long.  The length is great for working on complete concentration and getting the Bible timeline down.  Eventually, I'd like to add a physical Bible timeline that we can hang on the wall and build our knowledge of world history upon.

We're reading through Akebu to Zapotec: A Book of Bibleless Peoples as an introduction to world missions.  After we read, we talk about where the group of people lives and find their country on our map.

At the end of our morning time, we pray together.  I've been encouraging the kids to think of someone outside of our family to pray for.  Then, we take turns praying.

Morning Time When You're Not a Morning Person from In Our Pond
Wikimedia Commons

Starting morning time was scary, but I'm so glad we're doing it now.  The kids look forward to our time together.  I love how they're hiding God's word in their hearts and learning some of the great hymns of our faith.  I am excited to see where this morning time goes next.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Camping with Kiddos

From the vast amount of gear that they seem to need to the swirl of "what if" questions, camping with kiddos is not for the faint at heart.  After sharing my experiences in person and on internet forums, I decided it was time for another camping with kids blog post.  Last year's post was about getting kids mentally prepared for camping.  This year, I want to focus on the actual event.


Because we usually camp in the mountains, we pack clothes for cold and hot weather: sweatshirts and shorts, swimsuits and coats, flip flops and rainboots, plus pjs.  It's a lot of gear, but there are few things worse than being cold and wet.  I usually bring a laundry basket to throw dirty clothes in or to collect stuff from around the campsite at night.

Each kid would probably appreciate their own camp chair and their own sleeping bag.  We bring a queen-sized air mattress for the kids and pile them on it.  I'm sure they could sleep on the ground, but I think this keeps them warmer.

Safety First

Probably the biggest concern for parents who want to bring kids camping is safety.  We have five rules that my kids (ages 5, 4, and 3) can recite.

1- No Playing with Fire (don't put stuff in or take stuff out)
2-  Stay with the Grown Ups (wherever the adults are is where the kids should be)
3- No Going in the Road
4- Only go to the Bathroom with Adults from our Campsite
5- Ask before going in Tents

We set the camp chairs around the fire, and the kids are supposed to stay behind the chairs.  If adults are sitting around the campfire, then the kids can get help to sit in their own seats.  We're constantly reminding the kids that fire is dangerous.

Embrace the Classics

Camp food doesn't have to be only hot dogs and s'mores, but kids love them!  Carry on traditions from your own growing up, add some new ones, and make some family memories.

An easy way to clean up sticky kids is to give them a bath.  Water can be heated over the fire for a "spit" bath or can be added to cold water in a plastic tote to make a soaking tub.  Or, you can take a tip from the developing world and fill a plastic jug or tote in the morning and leave it in the sun all day to warm up.  After dinner and s'mores, wash up the young ones, and dress them in diapers and pjs.  Then, the kids aren't allowed to touch the ground until morning (wink).

Expect Fun

Camping is supposed to be fun!  We love to bring trucks and digging tools for the beach and campsite.  Glow sticks are also a must for us.  Older kids love to play with the light (try a capture the flag game or take pictures of the glow).  Younger kids can use the glow sticks as "light sabers" to fight shadows or as a nightlight in the dark tent.  Group games like Bocce Ball are great for family fun, and we always have lots of table games (cards, board games, etc) and coloring to do at the picnic table.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A to Z Play Dough Ideas










(wild toob)

(cause I couldn't stop)