What Now?

Hey Guys,

This election has been pretty crazy. Any way you look at it someone loses.

Let me first say, which ever way the outcome was going to be, I felt the need to write something addressing it. Because, well, let’s face it, both of our primary choices left me wanting to puke.

Here we are. The outcome is Trump. Some are wildly upset, some enthusiastically overjoyed, and some just don’t know what to think.

The most common question I have been hearing is “What now?”.

Well, if you’re a Christ follower, I think it is pretty clear:

Stay the course.

People are watching like they have never watched before because for some reason Trump has been correlated to Christianity. Which means that what he does affects how people view Christianity.

Now, if you truly walk with Jesus, you know as much as I do that Trump is not the face of Christianity. Not my Christianity anyway. Jesus is.

So, listen, continue to trust God, continue to love, continue to be respectful, continue to accept people with open arms because that is our duty. Jesus loves. We need to love.

It is NOT our place to demean or judge other people, especially if they are not Christ followers. It is our place to continue to allow Jesus to mold OUR hearts. They shall know us by our love, right?

So what now?

Trust God. Go out and love. Show people who Jesus really is.

Don’t become Pharisees.

And you know what? God has the rest.

Praying for our President and our country.

Melissa

 

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 🙂

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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

Laundry and Dishes

Hubby and I had the week off from our kids last week. Before they left , I thought that I would be doing all sorts of things from household honey-do lists to shopping for fun. Then the real kid vacation began and I honestly didn’t do much of anything. It was pretty anticlimactic. And, honestly, eye-opening.

Let’s back up a bit. I have been struggling hard with who I am at this point in my life. I keep asking myself what on earth do I have to offer other people; how can I help. I thought maybe going back to school to finish my masters would be the best thing to do, but it just doesn’t work at the moment for numerous reasons. I have been at a loss. Am I really here to do laundry and make dinner? That just seems too quintessential.

With all that on my mind, I thought for sure that I would have a great time catching up on all sorts of things and maybe have some epiphany of who I am supposed to be or what I am supposed to do with this life while the kids were gone. You know, come to see the bigger picture of what God was wanting in my life. (Which is a whole different post to discuss at a later time, lol!)

Guess what? I did have an epiphany. I realized that, my most important work right now is my family. I am meant to lead those children to become disciples. That is a hard realization. That is an answer which requires me to die to myself daily; to die to my own glory for the sake of God’s glory in them. Ouch.

After being punched in the face with that reality, I felt ashamed of not thinking that I was doing any work worthwhile. I felt guilty for thinking of only me and my life. And then I was brought to my knees with the weight of the task at hand. Hubby and I are our kids examples and leaders to Christ. That is INSANE! That takes my breath away.

So, here we are on the first day of the school year (we home school, yes, we are that family) and I feel more fulfilled than I have felt in a very long time. It has astonished me that serving other people, like my husband and children, actually makes me feel better. All I have to do is give it up to God. Every. Day. Give my life up to God. I wish I would have learned that sooner.

Ode to Laundry

Hello there load of laundry that I have washed three times in a row,

I keep forgetting about you, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to make you feel unwanted or forgotten. I swear that I want to dry and fold you. Here’s the deal, there is just too much to do every day and unfortunately you are my least favorite chore.

My kids must think that you get washed and folded by some glamorous glittering flying laundry fairies because I obviously can only have time for them. It seems that if I pay attention to anything or anyone else, meltdowns are eminent and the world is ending. They wake up yelling for milk, then breakfast. Before I know it it’s lunch time, then, poof, dinner! As if making all the meals wasn’t enough, we need to do school work (homeschooling is a tad bit time consuming), clean house, play, brush teeth, wipe butts, break up ridiculous fights, attend to the hubby and find time to write.

Amidst all the chaos, there you are load of laundry, just waiting to get some attention. I promise that my intentions are good, I mean to get you clean and put back in your place, but somehow still I am always searching for clean underwear. I really do enjoy clean underwear.

Then, there’s the hubby. He loves you too. Well, at least the clean version of you that has already been put in his drawer. He once tried to attend to you, but alas, you gave him such trouble that he hasn’t dared to venture in the laundry room ever again.

I know, I know, his side of the story is not very likely. You must have told him that you would shrink down from a woman’s size large to a tiny toddler size. Surely, you told him not to put you in the dryer at all. I bet you even kicked and screamed as he pulled you from the washer to the dryer. Yet, here we are. And there he is not.

Again, I apologize, lonely load of laundry that has to be stripped of all your color by now and probably smells a bit musty. But, I am your sole provider and the pressure is just too much. Sometimes it is just easier to pour in a little more detergent and run the wash cycle one more time. So, please forgive me as I ensure that while you may not be dried and put away the first time around, you will be super clean!

Signed,

Not the laundry fairy

3 Ways Not to Become a Mommy Monster

I have recently discovered something about myself. I reach a certain point in the day and totally lose all my cool when anything goes wrong. I HATE that about myself and want to change it. So, I am working towards that goal. Here are three ways that seem to help me not be a mommy monster:

  1. Set a Schedule

There needs to be a schedule. I am learning this the hard way. Our family is the type of family that mostly flys by the seam of our pants. We like to be spontaneous and that is ok for some things, but not all things every day.

I have learned that when I have a schedule laid out for the day, everything goes that much more smoothly. I am at the point now where I have made a daily schedule. When we stick to the schedule, everyone knows what is expected and can anticipate the days activities, leaving less room for melt downs and crazy mommy episodes.

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2. Follow Through

Saying what you mean and meaning what you say has taken on a whole new interpretation now that we have kids. They remember EVERYTHING! When we tell them that we are going to do something, we better mean it. When they do not listen and we say we are going to discipline them, we better mean it.

There have been numerous times when I say that I am going to discipline them in this way or that if they do not listen and then don’t follow through. My behavior has led to them not believing that I will follow through with the discipline. When they don’t believe that there is going to be a consequence to their action, guess what, the action doesn’t stop.

On the other end, there have been a handful of times when I have said that we are going to do this or buy that and then have not been able to follow through. My behavior in that area also causes problems because the children start to not believe what I say. Who is going to listen to someone they don’t believe?

In both cases, I need to always follow through with what I say, whether it be discipline or something fun. I am learning to only say what I mean and always mean what I say. When I am conscious of that, the inner monster doesn’t pop its ugly head as often.

3. Take Mommy Time

I cannot even begin to tell you the importance of taking time for yourself. Taking time to do something that you enjoy, eat food that fuels you, exercise, read, dance, whatever it is that you love, will only benefit every aspect of your life.

When I learned that me time wasn’t selfish and stopped having guilt about it, I was able to fill my cup up. What can you do with a full cup? You can pour it out! Taking time for myself allows me to better pour into my husband and children.

You know those times when you feel like there is not one more thing that you can handle and want to explode? Well, when you have taken time for yourself, there is a way better chance that there won’t be an explosion because you’re not drained. So, fill your cup up!

I am hoping that consistently doing these three things will help me be a better mommy, wife and friend.

How do you avoid Mommy Monster Moments?

 

Squirt Gun Painting

Summer seems to be here, at least weather wise! I have been trying to get my kids outdoors more and more each day. Two things that they always love to do is paint and have a water gun fight. So, why not put that together?! I took our easel outdoors, snapped some new paper into place and let the kids create squirt gun paintings.

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We used water guns, water spray bottles and condiment squirt bottles. The kids LOVED it! If you want to try it, just mix together some washable, nontoxic paint (we enjoy Crayola paint, which you can purchase with this link: Crayola Washable Paint) with water using a 2 paint:1 water ratio. We played around with how much water to use and it seemed like the paint was more vibrant and easily squirtable with a 2:1 ratio! After you mix it, simply pour into your desired squirt gun and have a blast!

Word of caution, don’t do this inside. It got a little crazy and paint pretty much covered our yard, driveway, car, plants and children!

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Fun, Kid Friendly Pancakes!

The littles are hard to feed sometimes. (Can I get an amen!) I have to get creative from time to time so that they’ll eat. I know, I know, “if they are hungry enough they will eat what you make”. Well, I’m too tired for all that! In any case, this little trick is super easy and in all honesty really fun to do!

I used to have a pancake batter dispenser that cost too much and broke too soon. I needed a way to get fancy with the pancakes without that thing. So, Amazon shopping I went! I bought this gem:

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

These squeeze bottles work wonderfully! You simply pour your pancake batter into the squeeze bottle and start designing anything that your little heart desires.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Here are some ideas:

ruff-family-circus-pancakesLittle round dippers, shapes, cars, trains, names, ninja turtles, mickey mouse.etc.

*Tip: In order to get better lines, outline the shape first and then fill it in. Also, if you are going to be doing letters or names, make sure to write them backwards otherwise they end up like this:

KODAK Digital Still Camera
OOPS!!

Here is the recipe that I used:

  • 2 Cup of flour (I use Great River Organic Flour, it’s amazing!)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional (I use honey)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted organic butter
  • Organic coconut oil for cooking

(This recipe is one of a million recipes, so please use whatever one fits your dietary needs.)

Needless to say, the kids loved their breakfast and ate pretty much all of it! Plus, any pancake that they didn’t eat, is easily frozen for another day.

 

For more fun and learning, please subscribe to our emailing list and receive a free 10 week summer curriculum for PreK-1st grade!

 

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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!

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.

Good Friday Projects for Kids

There are a lot of brilliant kid friendly projects out there, especially on Pinterest land. While I was searching for some fun things to do for Good Friday, I found two great hands-on activities. Both are unique ways of explaining the events of Good Friday!

The first one that we found awe-inspiring is a simple “experiment” to show the littles what happened when Jesus died on the cross. You will need:

  • a glass plate
  • a shiny penny
  • some colored water (we used water tinted with a tad of soy sauce)
  • a candle
  • matches or a lighter
  • a glass cup

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Place the penny on the plate and explain that the penny represents all of us. Then slowly pour the colored water over the penny until there is enough that covers the penny. Explain that the colored water represents sin and that we were all covered in it.

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Next, put the candle on the plate with the water surrounding it and light the candle. Explain that the candle represents Jesus and the lit flame is his life.

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After the candle has warmed the air around enough (about 5 seconds), cover the lit candle with the glass cup explaining that the glass represents the crucifixion. Doing this will cause the flame to go out and create a vacuum sucking up the water around the candle. Explain that once Jesus died, all of our sins were taken away.

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The kids LOVED this one and they kept taking turns putting the glass over the candle to see the water get sucked up!

The second project we did today was a watercolor resistant painting of the cross. You will need:

  • White paper
  • White Crayons
  • Watercolor paint
  • Water
  • Paint brushes

Before the kids get started painting, take each paper and draw a cross with white crayon. Press pretty hard otherwise it doesn’t show up well after painting it.

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After you are done with drawing the crosses, let the kids come to the table. I didn’t tell my kiddos what the mystery drawing was so that they had to uncover it! You should have the paper (with the crosses already drawn), paint, brushes and water set up for them.

Let them sit down and paint their paper to discover the secret message! It is a fun way to discuss Good Friday even further.

Hope you enjoy your day and if you celebrate, Happy Easter! If not, happy weekend!