Showing posts from October, 2016

Introducing J.O.Y!

7 more Mondays until Christmas!

Guys, I held off falling down the rabbit hole as long as I possibly could, but I have failed.  We are now the owners of an Elf.

Not an Elf-on-the-Shelf, but a Kindness Elf.  I got the idea for the Random-Acts-of-Kindness (RAOK) elf from Orthodox Mom.  I thought it was a perfect way to encourage good behavior in the kids, while still having elf-shenanigan fun.

I bought my elf from Amazon, and she arrived recently.  I love how sweet and cuddly she looks and that she's made of washable fleece.  I added wire to her arms and legs to make her more position-able.  We named her J.O.Y. to remind us that real happiness comes from putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.

 My kids are 5, 4, and 3, and have been talking about Christmas since September.  I think this is a great year to add Christmas tradition.  Let's hope that I have the perseverance (smile).

Random Acts of Kindness Ideas

- 40 RAOK list (Orthodox Mom)

- Christmas Acts of Kindness…

a is for alligator (year 3, week 7)

It was so hard to find activities for alligators!  For some reason, the majority of the world believes that alligators and children don't mix- I wonder why? (wink).  Dragonfly requested alligators, and they were our first reptile study of the year.  We also focused on the North American swamps.

This week, we learned that alligators are reptiles and compared reptiles to what we know about mammals.  We watched videos where alligators were fed and talked about how they are apex predators and carnivores.  We learned that a group of alligators is called a "congregation," and watched a Wild Kratt's episode about how crocodiles care for their young.  One of our videos told us that alligators have 80 teeth (reminds me of Jurassic World- "we need more teeth") and counted groups of 10 to get to 80.  We even watched a video where a man was training his hatchling.

This week was one of my predetermined #HowiSafari campaign weeks, so we got to play with a toob of Alliga…

30+ Advent Calendar Ideas

8 more Mondays until Christmas!

It's the week before Halloween, but I have Christmas on my brain already (don't worry- I haven't started decorating yet).  Today, I am considering Advent Calendars, Christmas Count-downs, Advent Wreaths, and the like.  Usually, people start their Christmas-preparations on the first of December, which is only five weeks away.  A month seems like a long time, but it's not if you plan on crafting a fun countdown.  I've found lots of ideas for you to consider.  There are so many on here I like that I have no idea which one I'm going to make for my own family.

I hope you enjoy the lists and happy crafting!

Jesse Trees to Make

During the last few years, we've been using the Jesus Storybook Bible to walk us through the ornaments of the Jesse Tree.  The ornaments take us through the major stories of the Old Testament and shows us how the whole Bible points to Jesus!

- Print and Color Ornaments (Do Small Things With Love)

- Jesus Storyb…

h is for horse (year 3, week 6)

Dragonfly requested this unit.  I was very surprised how little I found for ideas and printable specifically about horses.  Maybe eventually we'll do a popular subject- but not next week 'cause we're talking about alligators.

I was sick over the weekend and very weak on Monday, so we didn't start homeschool.  The kids watched the new Ice Age movie about six times.  Fortunately, we did find a few things in the movie to talk about in a homeschooling way.  There is a scene with an electrical storm, positive and negative charge, and static electricity.  We talked about those concepts a bit.

Then, we watched a bunch of Youtube videos about how and why germs make us sick and the importance of washing our hands.

The kids practiced their engineering skills by playing with duplos all day.  Dragonfly also did a few math worksheets for the first time in two weeks.  I saw how good the break was for her brain, because she was better able to grasp concepts that she had…

Tough Toys for Tough Kids

There are only 9 more Mondays until Christmas!

My boys are tough on toys!  Very few toys last long in our house.  Sometimes, it's a good thing that the toys have a short lifetime.  Other times, you just need toys that will last.  The toys on this list of "tough toys for tough kids" are the gold standard of excellence.  Most of them are not extraordinarily expensive, but they have all survived months of rough play.  Any of these toys would make great gifts for tough kids!

Green Toys
I honestly can't believe that I've never written about Green Toys (GT) before!  We have loved GT for years and have had nothing but good experiences with them.  My boys are rough with their toys and will disassemble a lesser toy in minutes.  Not so with Green Toys trucks!  They last!

Green Toys are made with recycled milk jugs, in the USA.  We love that- but what we really love is their customer service!  When my boys finally do break a wheel, I only need to email the company, and they…

Fall Break 2016

I set up our schedule this year to allow for a one-week break every 3-6 weeks (depending on the calendar).  This week was our first break since school began, a chance to catch-up with things, a time to reflect and reassess, a space for appointments and housework, and a week for fun blog posts.  It was so great to take the time and not feel guilty about what the kids might be missing.

Gymnastics Day!

Blog post- Rules for Gift Giving

Homeschooled at the pediatric dentist.

AWANA day!

Blog post- 20+ Themed Salt Writing Trays

House cleaning day.  Got rid of stuff and organized the house for fall.

We had a nice break, but I need to work on getting more done for the household during our time off of homeschooling (wink).  I enjoyed blogging this week as I hadn't done since school started.

20+ Salt Tray Ideas for Writing Practice


Rules for Gift Giving

10 more Mondays until Christmas!

Thanks to Pinterest, parents everywhere are simplifying that Christmas gift giving event with "rules."  Some people chose the "gold, frankincense, and myrrh" 3-gift rule.  Others go with the four-gift rule: "something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read."  But, why stop at four?  Here's twenty more "rules" that you could employ for your holiday shopping.

1- something to play (instrument, video game)

2- something to learn (instrument, game, kit)

3- something to make (craft, art, kit)

4- something to write (journal, book-in-a-year, notebook, stationary)

5- something big (car, trampoline, bike, couch)

6- something to cook/bake (cookbook, kit, coupons)

7- something to watch (movie, video game)

8- something for listening (device, earphones, music, audiobook)

9- something cozy (blanket, sweater, cocoa mix, pillow)

10- something to eat (gourmet food, favorite snacks, mix)

11- somethin…

c is for camel (year 3, week 5)

We had a death in the family, so we took this week as a vacation. I wrote two bereavement posts: one on books and one on funeral preparations.

Still, we did talk a bit about camels.  We talked about their key features, that they are mammals, how they survive in the desert, and where they live.

The one official "school" thing that we did this week was to play with our Safari Dromedary Camel.  We named the parts, and then tested the wide foot in sand vs a "pokey," skinny foot.  The wide foot is perfectly designed for walking in the sand.  Thanks to Safari Ltd for allowing us to participate in their #HowiSafari campaign.

Dragonfly also spent some time writing with a paintbrush in the sand and having quite a pretend with the camel and the "hot snow."  She couldn't imagine a place with hills of hot sand.

Blog Posts About Camels
- 10-frame printable

Printables About Camels
- parts of a camel
- camel notebooking pages
camel informational reading

Preparing Your Kids for a Funeral

We have been walking through the "valley of the shadow of death" this week.  I wrote earlier this week about some books that we've been reading.  Today, I'm blogging about preparing your kids to attend a funeral.

1- Talk About It
From the announcement of the person's death to years from now, conversations about death need to be a normal part of your family life.  Kids need to know that they can ask you questions and that you're not afraid of their tears.

2- Read About It
Earlier this week, I posted a list of books for kids about death.  Our collection has been very helpful for addressing different aspects of death and mourning.  We've especially been enjoying Tear Soup and making up our own batches of pretend soup.

3- Prepare For It
As well as mentally and spiritually for the funeral, I think its also important to prepare your kids physically for the funeral.  I took the kids shopping for black clothes and explained to them how black is the color of mournin…

Books About Death for Children

We recently experienced a death in our family.  In an effort to walk with our children through their grief, I've been compiling a list of books that deal with death, loss, and heaven.  I hope this list is valuable and conforting to anyone who reads it.

The Voyage to the Star Kingdom
This book was written to help a real child deal with the real loss of her two sisters.  It's an allegory about terminal illness, death, heaven, and family reunions.  I haven't read it, but it's on my list.  I particularly want to keep this one in mind for families who are grieving children.

God Gave Us Heaven
From the author who brought us cute, conversational books like "God Gave us Christmas" and "God Gave Us You."  This theologically light and gentle book focuses on the practical questions children have about heaven, reassuring them over and over that "heaven will be full of everything good."  It's a bit long for preschoolers, but is a good introduction t…

e is for elephant (year 3, week 4)

I was pretty excited about this week of Mommy School.  We were doing an easy theme- elephants and the African safari.  But, our week didn't go at all like we had planned.

Gymnastics class!  And we didn't go again.

We had a family emergency, and ended up taking a last minute road trip.  When we got to our destination, the car broke down.  Fortunately, my sisters stepped up and helped me with the children and my other family members took care of transportation and the vehicle.  It was a good, hard day.

The car was at the auto shop all day, so we stayed in the city with my family.  Dragonfly got introduced to the Magic School Bus tv show and loved it.

AWANA day!

We made it home from the city in time to go to AWANA.  We were exhausted, but I'm glad we went.  The kids got their vests and got credit for their memory work.

I struggled today with wanting to sleep/rest, clean/organize, or homeschool/catch-up.  I had so many things for us to do for &qu…