A Day In The Life

Hey guys!

I have received some questions about how in the world we home school. Well, frankly, God. If not for God, I would not be able to do it!

I thought instead of talking about it all day long, I would just show you some pictures of some of our day today! Enjoy ūüôā

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We add a number each day to our 100 day caterpillar!
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We are learning about the different meanings behind Jesus’ name!
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Each child adds their own artistic version!
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Our sensory bin is full of rice this week. It is a great way to learn about measurement!
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We LOVE abcmouse.com in this house!
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The table the we mainly use for formal instruction.
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Days of the week!
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We have a timeline for our history curriculum. Jesus is the marker between B.C. and A.D., Leif Ericsson is in a Viking ship and Christopher Columbus is sporting some awesome fashion!
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The little man learns spacial reasoning, colors, and numbers by playing with blocks!

Shout out to Abcmouse.com! They are a great supplemental online curriculum for kids that attend public school, private school or home school! All three of my kids have enjoyed “playing” on abcmouse.com. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it!

Hope you all have a great day!

Melissa

8 Tips from 8 Years of Marriage

Well, hubby and I will be married for nine years this December. I know that eight full years of marriage may not seem like a huge deal to some, but we have learned a whole lot in that time and I think that there is some wisdom to be shared! Without further ado, here are 8 tips from our home to yours:

  1. COMMUNICATE

This may seem like it should be common knowledge, but it took us quite while to be able to fully communicate with one another in a way that we both truly heard and understood. Have you ever had that moment when you said something and your spouse got instantly angry and you’re not sure why? Guess what, your spouse heard one thing while you meant another. Happens all the time! Here’s a tip: learn how your spouse hears things and then speak in that way.

Ask how your spouse’s day was every single day and actually listen. I ask hubby this question every day once he gets home. It lets me know where he is coming from (if he had a bad day and therefore in a bad mood, etc,) and also lets him know that I care enough about him to want to know the details of his life.

Know when to shut up! There are moments when to bring something up and there are moments that are better to wait. For example, don’t bring up something that needs to be done around the house immediately after your spouse gets home. He or she will feel bombarded and get irritated. Know the difference!

2. Build Each Other Up

I know that I don’t feel great after hubby says something that puts me down, even if it is in jest. He feels awful if I do the same. Bottom line here: NEVER put each other down, not alone, not in front other people and definitely not behind your spouses back. Your marriage should be a safe haven, not a war zone. Instead, speak life into your spouse. Tell them how much they mean to you, how much you appreciate them, and stand behind them in their endeavors.

3. Love Language 

There are different ways that every person feels love and gives love. There is a great book that talks all about the five different love languages. At the end, there is a quiz that you and your spouse can take to figure out which love languages are yours! You can buy that here: The 5 Love Languages:The Secret to Love that Lasts. Find out your spouses love language and become fluent in it. Trust me, if your spouse’s love tank is full, yours will be too!

4. SEX

Sex is huge in marriage. Sex is wonderful in marriage. Sex is better without pornography, I wrote a bit about that; you can read that here: 3 Ways that Porn Wrecked my Marriage. Always treat one another with respect and love in this area. Enough said.

5. Family Order

I always thought people that believed there was a particular order in which to prioritize your relationships were a little nutty. Low and behold, it is completely true! I cannot tell you how many times I have seen marriages fall apart because one spouse put their children above the other spouse. DON’T DO THAT. Here is the order that works wonders: God first, marriage second and children third. I talked about this in a blog post earlier, you can check it out here: Growth.

6. SLEEP

Yet another one that seems like common sense, lol! Every single time that hubby and I wait until later to go to sleep , we end up arguing. Sleep is such a detrimental thing in any relationship. I get irritable, emotional and, basically, become she-monster when I don’t get enough sleep. For the love, create a good sleep habit!

7. There is no “I” in MONEY

Finances are one of the biggest causes of arguments in marriages. Look it up. Both people need to be on board with where the money comes from, how the money is spent and how the money is saved. Never hide any financial decision. There is no such thing as ‘his money’ and ‘her money’, just skip that mentality. Marriage means unity in all things including money. If there is one bread winner (like in our marriage) the other person should NEVER feel like the money is not theirs as well. Get on the same page when it comes to finances.

8. Your Spouse should be your Best Friend

Hubby and I are best friends. He is the person that I can talk to about everything and anything and vice versa. We are able to share, laugh, have fun, and just hang out. We both have other friends (which is needed!), but not one compares to our marital best friend relationship and it shouldn’t! Be best friends with your spouse, it’s worth it!

 

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on them and order within 24 hours of my post, I will receive a percentage at no extra cost to you! Thank you!*

Top 10 Kid Games that Foster Learning

Our family loves to play games. We love it so much that we try to have a family game night every week. (Though lately it’s been difficult, lol). Our kids are finally ALL at an age that everyone can play board games for at least one round. We have rounded up what we think are the 10 best games to own. If you would like to own any of them, just click the name and it will bring you to Amazon. (I tried finding the cheapest version of all of them). They are listed in no particular order!

  1. Hi-Ho Cherry-O

This game is great for the littles that are just starting off in the board game world! It allows the children to count, take turns and learn good sportsmanship.

2. Candyland

It’s an oldie but a goodie! Candyland helps the kiddos to learn about colors, counting, taking turns and good sportsmanship.

3. Sequence For Kids

I was excited to see that this game came as a junior edition; my three year old even loves this game! Sequence For Kids teaches about animals, colors, counting, taking turns, good sportsmanship and thinking ahead.

4. Fairytale Spinner Game

Who doesn’t love a good story? Fairytale Spinner Game teaches children the basics of story telling, taking turns, good sportsmanship, counting, and creativity!

5. Memory Match

While this game may take awhile, it is well worth it! Memory Match helps foster recognition, recollection, taking turns and good sportsmanship.

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6. Making Cents

I had a difficult time trying to figure out new ways to teach our kids about money. This game is perfect for that! Making Cents teaches kiddos how to count change, recognition of money, taking turns, and good sportsmanship.

7. Uno

There are many different house rules when it comes to Uno, as we have found out! But any way you play it, it helps the kids to learn colors, counting, patience, taking turns, thinking ahead, and good sportsmanship.

8. Mancala

Though I had never heard of this game until marrying my husband, I would rather play it than a lot of other games. Mancala is a marble counting game that teaches how to count, take turns and good sportsmanship.

9. Trouble

My daughter loves to play this one! Trouble teaches counting, thinking ahead, colors, taking turns, and good sportsmanship.

10. Monopoly Here & Now

I know what you’re thinking, Monopoly is a horrid game that only ends in someone flipping the table over. But not so with this version! Monopoly Here & Now is a shorter kid friendly version in which there are no houses or hotels! It teaches counting, taking turns, good sportsmanship, patience, problem-solving and thinking ahead!

What games does your family love to play?

 

**This blog has Amazon Affiliate links. If you click the link and buy on Amazon, I will receive a percentage at absolutely no extra cost to you!!**

 

Summer Home Schooling

If you are anything like me, (crazy and needing organization, lol!) you like to keep your kids education going through the summer with light and fun activities. I am NOT talking about full-blown school here, I need a break from that! With that said, I put together our summer curriculum over the past couple of weeks. It is aimed at the age of my children; PreK-1st grade.

I was inspired by another curriculum called Five In A Row, however, I figured I am more than capable of writing my own while using the books that we have already purchased. In any case, you can check it out:

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Each week has a specific book assigned to it. There are different activities Monday through Friday. All the activities are detailed and include a material list. There is also a separate material list included in the PDF organized by week.

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Every Friday during this 10 week curriculum, the children will use this printable journal page to answer the weekly journal question (by writing on their own, copying the words or tracing them!) and draw a picture of their answer. At the end of the 10 weeks, each child will have their very own completed journal!

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The printable PDF includes all 10 weeks worth of detailed activities, the printable journal page, a full material list organized by week, a full book list and instructions.

We are going to start using the curriculum in June. Now, you can too! If you want a FREE copy of this curriculum, let us know on our Contact Us page!

Until next time!

It’s Not About Me

Selflessness has been the ongoing theme of lifeWorshipping-_art lately. When I first started attending our church, I was out on a mission to “help” other people. I know that sounds like a good goal, but little did I realize that it was a selfish goal.

Did you know that you need to learn in order to teach? Sounds pretty straight forward. ¬†I mean, if you sat down and thought about something that you would like to do, you first need to learn the ins and outs of everything, right? But, maybe you thought you already knew. Maybe, just maybe, there was enough pride poking into your life that you thought there was not much else to learn. Maybe you thought that it would be so awesome to be the “leader” of something that it kind of became just about leading. There was no research involved, no prayer really, just taking the reigns and hoping for the best. For the spotlight.

That is where I have continually fumbled. This life, although enjoyed by me, is NOT about me. Recently, a friend of mine was told that she was going through a tough time in life because God was testing¬†her. That is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot in the Christian world. I don’t like it. I don’t believe it. I think that God is teaching us, not testing us. We tend to think that if the same situation happens again and again in our lives, God is testing us and we are failing. But in reality, I think that God is teaching us and we keep missing the point. The only reason I bring this up is because, although I really thought I knew what I supposed to be doing, it never seemed to go quite right. When I thought I was helping someone, I realized that I wasn’t equipped or I was ill-equipped. Either way, I needed to LEARN.

This past Sunday, the sermon was about selflessness. The Bible study that I am working in is about selflessness. Just about every conversation lately has led to the topic of selflessness. So, here I am talking about, you guessed it, selflessness! I am learning that maybe I could be a leader in some kind of plan of God’s, but maybe not. I am learning that I need to learn. My prayer is that I am filled everyday with new knowledge that will help me to help other people.¬†I prayer that I am filled with new knowledge that helps me to be selfless.

Let’s face it, who needs another selfish person that just craves the spotlight?

Growth

 

I met with a group of wonderful women the other night. Every time we meet, we go through some questions that are supposed to make us dig deep into conversation. One of the questions stood out to me this time. It asked “In what area of your life do you want to see growth?”. At first, I couldn’t answer, not because there wasn’t an answer but because so many came racing through my mind; getting in shape, being healthier, reading more, spending more quality family time, etc. But then there it was. My marriage.

For so long, I have (actually my husband and I both have) been putting a lot, if not all, of our energy into our children. We plan their curriculum and activities. We make sure that they eat healthier foods. We take the time to read, play and teach them. We go on outings that are meant for mainly their enjoyment. The list could go on for days! Now, all of these things are good. All of these things are meaningful to create productive, loving, empathetic human beings. However, there is a thin line between putting our children above our marriage and putting our marriage first. We crossed that line and now it is time to recover.

We went on a second honeymoon not too long ago which allowed us to reconnect on a whole new level. We were able to just be man and wife, best friends and lovers. That trip was wonderful! For one, we were both happier and for another, we were able to be on the same page for everything that we did. This new-found connection has shown me that I am not just a mom, my husband isn’t just a dad but we are two people who started a family and then¬†added children to it. Meaning, we were married first, then our children were added onto our already established family. So, we need to treat it that way!

I have been reading a great devotional that discusses how to raise children in a Godly manner. One thing that the author touched on was putting marriage first. Evidently there is an order in the household: God, marriage, children. Now, when we put our marriage above our children, we are only doing good because it benefits us in obvious ways but it also benefits the kiddos because they feel secure, they have a model of what marriage should look like and they learn how to put other people first. All of that sounds pretty good to me. So, God, then marriage, then children it is!

This question of growth in my life, without a doubt, has brought me to the realization that my children are not the center of the universe and they shouldn’t be. It has brought me the realization that my husband is one wonderful man who I fall in love with every day. It has brought me the realization that although I struggle hourly with day-to-day life in general, I have a partner, best friend and confidant that I need to put first. I need to put our marriage first, not just for me but for my husband and my children. That is where I choose to grow today.

Go West Ruff Family!

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As a part of our school year, we traveled by car (agh!!) from Wisconsin to South Dakota. Driving gave us the ability to visit a ton of different spots along the way to our bigger destination of Mount Rushmore! The kiddos loved this trip and, if I’m totally honest, I loved it too. Some highlights (that the kids enjoyed) included:

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Wall Drug! This place is literally a tourist stop and shop, but a well placed one. Every single one of the kids loved stopping here on the way there and the way back. They have just about everything for the hungry traveler. From 5 cent coffee to a full restaurant. And they always offer free ice water! There are a ton of picture opportunities at Wall Drug too, including a fake Mount Rushmore. There is also a random T-Rex dinosaur that pops up and roars at you. To this day, my youngest son talks about the “scary dinosaur that made him run away” to just about anyone that asks!

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Bear Country is in Rapid City and a must see if you ever happen to be in town! Bear Country is basically an open range zoo for animals from bears and antelope to mountain lions and buffalo. Visitors drive their cars (with the windows up and doors locked!) through each animal enclosure and view the animals. We were able to see wolves, mountain lions, mountain goats, antelope, buffalo and of course bears! The animals, all except the mountain lions, could walk right up to your car. Some bears and buffalo got pretty close to us and the kids went nuts! After driving through the open range areas, there is a small zoo that you are able to walk through which holds animals like skunks, badgers, bear cubs, deer and wolves. Definitely a favorite in our family!

Mount Rushmore was an amazing stop for the adults and the kids! Obviously, there is the Mount itself and our four wonderful Presidents on it. But there is also a great museum that teaches so much history about the process of carving Mount Rushmore and the Presidents represented on it. Of course there is also a little cafe and souvenir shop, which we also enjoyed! The kids learned so much history in the short time we were there. I tried to snap a good picture to capture this moment, this is what I got, lol!

We also visited Crazy Horse, a Pow Wow and Lakota museum, the Corn Palace and three different Laura Ingalls Homestead museums (which will be a whole different post!). This was our first long distance road trip with the kids and I would recommend it to anyone! Hands on learning for sure!