Hey ya’ll its been a few days since I’ve checked in with you. I hope everyone is doing well. We are finally getting over these colds that have been passed around and around and around… you get the point. I’m tired of being sick and tired and of being around whiny kids who are sick and tired… yeah not a fun week at all but it has been productive even though I ended up getting this post out a day late… Oops!
We have been sticking to our goals and our Plan of Action that I made earlier in the month. The kids are listening and behaving better, well for the most part, even thought they’ve not been feeling well. We’ve been working on keeping the noise level down and I’ve found that my little friend Google has been AMAZING at helping me with this. I have been asking Google, ‘Hey Google, can you play me some music please?’. Note that I do use my manners and she really appreciates that. When the kids can’t hear the music they know they are getting way too loud.
As you probably know from reading our latest posts we have been staying CRAZY BUSY in 2019 just like we did before. However even though our schedules have been busy I have been trying to work in some changes, a couple at a time, to help us turn those wishes into realities.
My first wish of having the kids to listen better seems to be going along fairly well. I have been making it a point to work more one on one with each of them as I can. I have also not had to speak to them as much because I’ve went over what I expect and given them a list of rewards for when the goals are met or some consequences if they aren’t met.
I had also noticed that I was yelling more… ok, I felt like I was yelling. People sometimes laugh when I apologize for yelling because my yelling doesn’t seem like yelling to them… anyways I was having to talk much louder than I preferred and I didn’t like that. Did you know that yelling makes it seem like you aren’t in control? Well that was definitely not the message I wanted to convey to this little army I have here!
I also know that yelling doesn’t fit into the overall picture of wanting to create a more loving and peaceful home. We have a small home so when one or two people start yelling it begins to sound a bit like a busy coffee shop in NYC!
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So if you read my post yesterday you know that we had some unexpected work that had to get done around the house. What you didn’t get to see was the post holiday mess the rest of the house was still in… yep, I’m gonna show you some really messy pics of our cabin because LIFE is MESSY at times and we aren’t PERFECT so our place gets just as MESSY as everyone else’s house, and probably more at times.
One thing I know is that you can’t truly organize CLUTTER! Boy oh boy was it in abundance around earlier this week. I’m kinda embarrassed to show you all these pics but I really want to show everyone that you CAN change your LIFE one little step at a time. The important thing is to remember that the CHANGE must start somewhere and I know that LIFE can be so OVERWHELMING at times… these pics can prove that… but we can’t just sit around and wait for someone else to do something that we aren’t willing to do ourselves.
On the other hand I want everyone to know that our house has not looked this BAD in a long time. I know that HOARDING tendencies seem to run in one side of my family and that scares the crap out of me! Part Most of this was MESS was due to the post holiday chaos we had and the total LACK of ENERGY I had from not feeling well … but enough with the EXCUSES as I was determined to get past the PROCRASTINATION.
Over the weekend I had made a short To-Do List to work on and a couple of the first items to tackle were the kitchen and the bathroom. However the closet became number 1 priority when the kids demolished some of the shelving… you can read about that project HERE. Here’s the BEFORE of the kitchen:
You can see breakfast prep was ongoing when I took this and it was so hard to accomplish anything with the CLUTTER laying around. Mr. Joey wanted to help with breakfast so I did a quick tidy to make room and let him work on some Pancake Poppers for a quick breakfast.
We made one batch of blueberry and one batch of sausage… yum!
After breakfast I did a quick cleanup and had the kitchen back to a semi-normal state within 20-30 minutes… YAY!
Then I tackled the bathroom which took another 10-15 minutes. I could feel myself running out of steam really quickly though. I crossed off those two items and another as the kids had helped change sheets and tidy up the loft area as I cleaned in the kitchen and bathroom. Then I attempted to tackle the next area which was in the Main Room
This pic was actually from Thursday before I got to work on paying bills but honestly there wasn’t a whole lot of change from then to Sunday. I did start on it but got interrupted with something or another and that was pretty much the end of the cleaning for the day.
However on Monday I had a new PLAN OF ACTION. We needed to get started back to school work but I knew that there was no way I would keep anyone’s attention with all the stuff sitting around just begging to be discovered.
So I made an executive decision that for now our group studies will be completed Tuesday-Thursday. The kids can work on independent or one-one tasks on Mondays and Fridays. This change also included a temporary change in our Laundry and Cleaning Routines as the majority of those tasks will be completed on Mondays and Fridays as well. So far so good with this change and we’ve actually been able to accomplish quite a bit more in the cleaning and school areas.
Our first task of the day was to get this tree put away…
Most of the other decorations had already been packed into totes the week before so we just had to make room for the tree decor. Then everything was taken to the shed and neatly put away.
Then to get the table put back up. I put Joey to work on bagging up the random grocery bags around the house so we can reuse them.
I set to work on straightening up my bedroom… this is what it looks like after getting back from a dance. I usually have the little boys in here to change and the girls use the closet to get ready. This means I can’t get in there to put away anything so it ends up piled on my bed… sigh.
After a bit it looked much better except for the basket of laundry sitting there… but hey, at least it was clean laundry. I went ahead and checked the bedroom off the To-Do List as well, but as you will see in a bit that may have been a bit premature.
While I worked in the bedroom the kids cleaned up the floor where the tree had been. They also worked on organizing their school cubbies so we could have a fresh start for the next day. They also put away some of the items that had been cluttering the table. Things actually seemed to be getting MESSIER instead of cleaner!
They also worked on straightening up the TV area as there were dirty dishes, controllers, toys that needed put away.
We were on a roll and our next mission was to get rid of all the boxes sitting around. Most of these held Christmas gifts that needed homes. Now that we had straightened up most everything this would be an easier task to accomplish. But first Jacob thought everyone should have a quick snack of candy canes from the tree… lol.
Again things seemed to get MESSIER before they got better. This table became a sorting place for EVERYTHING. I opened a box, sorted out what needed to go where, and then we took care of EVERYTHING we had out at the moment before moving to the next box.
Here is another pile that had to get sorted as well.
It might have been a bit time saving to have sorted all the boxes at once but we had William helping out and he gets OVERWHELMED easily and then it gets a bit HARD for anyone else to get anything accomplished as you have to keep redirecting him.
I had received a ton of new school supplies from Santa… he knew just what I need, right? We also got lots of new books and William really wanted to read all of them. In the process I lost a book I had pulled off my bookshelf earlier in the day… my mistake, as I should’ve waited until we were finished with the clean up. You just might laugh, like Mr. Awesome did, when I show you the book I lost:
But anyway as I sorted the kids carried things and put them away but some items got piled on my bed… it appeared that my bed also had become a playground at some point in time. This time the MESS actually looks worse than it was.
Once most of the items had been sorted and carried to their new homes, or at least in the general area of their new home, Ms. Bella made some yummy PB&Js for the crew. As you can see everything was looking much better.
Even the bedroom looked pretty good…
As I was carrying things out to the shed I noticed something in the pond…
I had to call the kids out to take a closer peek… such a cute suprise!
I had a couple of more things to get organized and look at like this organizer I had gotten for Christmas:
And these new books that we got for our homeschool…
We also got a few more books that everyone is excited to read like this one here:
As I worked on setting up the organizer and putting away these items the girls wasted no time getting to work making some headbands, bracelets other items now that they had room to work at the table.
Then the UPS man brought my Grove package… another pleasant suprise!
I am really loving the Mrs. Meyers cleaners and have started to try out some of the other products which you can also get on AMAZON. Once I got all of these put away I worked on a little redecorating as everything looked so BARE.
I pulled some of the peacock decor out of my bedroom for now…
The gold peacock was something Mr. Awesome bought for me last year and that little pig was one I painted many, many years ago when my older kids will young.
I moved the flowes basket from the kitchen to this window. This is where my new napkin holder is sitting as well as the new globe that we got for Christmas.
It also lights up to show the constellations which is so NEAT!(I don’t know why but this made our homeschool seem so much more ‘official like’… lol)
In the kitchen I took down the cornice that was up there and put up this really cute tray I found with the after Christmas clearance at Walmart.
All in all we had a really good day and with the kids helping out as much as they did I didn’t get too overwhelmed nor did I completely wear myslef out as I have been doing a lot lately.
We didn’t do a deep cleaning or major reorganizing. We did find a HOME for EVERYTHING and we did PURGE some items as we went along. There are still things that need to be done but the HOUSE feels so much BETTER now and I’m not constantly looking for things… other than that book that hasn’t resurfaced yet.
That’s OK as the wonderful UPS man delivered me another copy today… so maybe if I find the old one I can BLESS someone else with it.
The biggest thing with all of this was to just get STARTED. Another big thing was to not get sidetracked with the fact that everything wasn’t being ‘cleaned properly’ or organized exactly the way I wanted it. If we had stopped to rearrange and/or clean every book shelf and cabinet along the way I would still be working on this project.
Now that we have everything situated we can get back to our regular cleaning tasks, even though we have changed the routine the tasks are still the same, and EVERYTHING will get clean in its own time. My main FOCUS was just to get a bit more organized as I couldn’t find anything over the past couple of weeks. Even though I lost my book and it still drives me a little batty wondering where it might have went its not that big of a deal in the BIG PICTURE.
We accomplished the GOAL that we set out to do and we can create a new PLAN OF ACTION for our next GOAL. For us this wasn’t a HUGE task to deal with as our house isn’t that BIG to start with. The MESS really did look worse than it was once we got started on it. If you have a bigger house then you might just need to FOCUS on ONE AREA at a time… not the whole house. If the task is still too BIG then focus on a smaller area at a time… break that elephant down into small pieces and work on them one at a time. A little progress is BETTER than doing NOTHING at all.
If you need a little motivation or encouragement then be sure to reach out to me via email or on Facebook in the Kirby’s Kabin Blog Group I’ve just started.
Have a great day and stay tuned for a look at our first couple of days with our new homeschool schedule!
**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.
I had originally written this series of posts in honor of National Simplify Your Life Week, which falls during the first week of August, I decided to make a short list of 7 easy steps that almost anyone can use to simplify their life starting today. With the New Year fast approaching I thought it might be helpful to post this again for anyone looking to simplify their life and have more FREE time.
Now I’m not talking about anything drastic like selling everything you own and moving into a small secluded cabin with no electric. This actually sounds like a really good idea to me right now but my kids wouldn’t really like that. The tips below will not only help you to simplify your life but they will help you to be more efficient.
Click on each link for more information and helpful tips.
I know most of us are probably not ready to think about the New Year as we are in the midst of holiday choas right now but with as many kiddos as I have I am always looking ahead. There are doctor appointments, dentist appointments, birthdays, and so many other events that I need to keep organized.
Our calendars keep our day to day activities running smoothly and help to keep us prepared for upcoming events. They are vital to keeping this Momma sane!
What features do you look for in a calendar? I know I like it to have enough room to write things in the blocks. I also like to have the moon phases and holidays on the calendar.
Do you like the stickers or not? I kinda like the idea of stickers and it helps me to tell at a glance what we have coming up if there are stickers on it.
While I absolutely love my Cozi mobile app and I always have it pulled up on my laptop. I keep everything from appointments to recipes on my Cozi calendar and my family members all have access to it as well. I still like to have a wall calendar as well so that I can refer to it quickly if I’m on the phone or if Mr. Awesome needs to double check something he can refer to it as well.
This led me to check out Amazon for some new planning calendars today. There is such a selection to choose from I’m really not sure which one I want to get yet but here are a few of the ones I’ve found:
Have you been crazy busy this first week of December? How many of you have finished your shopping? How many haven’t bought the first gift yet? Well, I have been busy and my shopping is somewhere in between the two but I have a few ideas here that the kids can help with and they could double as really great gifts for grandparents and family members too!
Some of these links are affiliate links but there is no extra fee if you purchase through these links… it just means we may get a teeny weeny kickback which helps support our blog and our family.
I think we are going to get really busy with crafts so be sure to keep an eye out for lots of pics! If you aren’t feeling crafty or just don’t have time to shop for craft supplies then check out the following links for Amazon deals that can be shipped right to your home and most of them include everything you need to start crafting and keep the kids busy while you finish your shopping!
**This post does contain some affiliate links which could possibly earn me a small commission if a purchase was made through them. These links help to support our blog and our family.
I know I did another post about our Gold Rush Party preparations but I thought it might be helpful to just post the basic menu that we used and decorations that did. This was a lot smaller scale than we had originally planned as I had some unexpected bills come up which made our food budget a little tighter this month.
Here was the menu that the kids came up with:
Gold Rush Party Menu
Lemonade (The actually chose some ‘Tampico Island Punch’ instead… it was a golden/yellowish color so we went with it.)
Party Hats(They couldn’t find any yellow or gold ones so they chose Minions, of course.)
LED Party Favors(we had these left over from a product review I had done a while back.)
They also used a lot of the different candies as decorations around the centerpiece and around the house. They also had to include a dinosaur… who knows maybe there have been some dinosaur fossils found while gold mining?
We had some gold flakes to show everyone as well as a few pieces of pyrite from their Gold Digging kit that they had done last week. This would have been a great activity for kids to do although it would be best for older kids as it was a bit difficult for the younger ones.
I printed out this Gold Rush Wordsearch for the kids to do as well. There are a ton of ideas for games that you could do. We just didn’t get around to playing any as the kids had too much fun with the LED toys and glow sticks. They were also busy helping out with the decorating and and putting their skills learned from Kids Cook Real Food to help with the food prep.
The girls also gave a speech about the California Gold Rush and answered questions. Joey gave a simple speech as well off the top of his head. All in all everyone had some great fun and enjoyed themselves quite a bit.
We have had so much fun as I’m sure you’ll see in the pictures below. I’ve been meaning to post our progress but we’ve been so busy there hasn’t been a lot of time for another ‘b’ topic… blogging! I’m gonna try to catch up a little tonight before I go to bed and put away my computer for our Screen Free Sunday which is another post in itself.
Caitlyn’s new glasses.
The first week we were quite busy with school, doctor appointments, and square dancing not to mention everything else that LIFE seems to throw at us. We read through the first two chapters of Little House in the Big Woods and discussed what we read. The girls also worked on some Vocabulary matching and crosswords that I made up.
We’ve been working through the topics I have listed in the weekly guide and the kids have been so excited to learn so many things about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her pioneer family. Our Pioneer Journals were one of our first projects and the kids loved making them. They will be using these for various writing assignments throughout the year.
**This post contains affiliate links to products that we use. These links help to support my family and our blog.
We have been working a lot around this little house just trying to make it feel more like ‘HOME’. It’s been a little over a year since we moved and we are finally starting to really get settled. I feel like I can finally relax and put my feet, at least every now and then. This past weekend was not one of those times.
When I was doing my major cleaning this past summer I had thought of the idea of doing a faux stained glass window in the kitchen but haven’t found the time to do that yet. I did however decide to do something with this one BIG window that we have in the main room. It is so dirty on the outside that it has been driving me completely BONKERS!
I’m sure some of you are thinking that I should just get out there and clean it and trust me I would if I could. This window is over the pond and I have no access to it of any kind so cleaning it is IMPOSSIBLE right now. The inside has been cleaned and cleaned but it hasn’t helped a lot as the window is OLD and has seen a lot.
Before we moved in the window had been boarded up for many years, I guess someone else didn’t like the dirty view either. After we built the sleeping loft and got rid of the bukbed that had been in front of the window we couldn’t ignore how dirty it was. Then comes the fact that I moved the dining table in front of the window and we now had to see it a few times a day. Mr. Awesome didn’t really like the window and wanted to cover it up again but I like light, lots of light, and I wanted to have the window clear so that it would help to illuminate this rather dark little cabin. Continue reading Weekend Warrior Project: Old Window Transformation→
**Although I try to provide as many FREE resources as possible this post may contain affiliate links alt no extra cost to you. We may earn a small commission, if a purchase is made through these links, which helps to support our blog and our family. Thank you!
NOTE: My kiddos were 5, 6, 9, 11, and 15 at the time we created study unit. Some ideas may need to be changed/adjusted for older kids.
Tip: If you want to go to a certain week/chapter or topic simply push the ‘ctrl’ and the ‘F’ button down together and a small bar will pop up. Type in the week number or chapter number you want and it will take you to it.
We have been using the Little House on the Prairie Books for our homeschool this year and my kids are loving it. I have scoured the internet for resources to make our learning experience as fun and exciting as possible. This series of posts is a compilation of different resources we have found and used in our home. Please note that some of these may have been FREE at the time I found them and prices and/or availability may have changed. Feel free to leave your own links in the comments section below.
I also want to take a moment to thank all of these wonderful people who put together so many wonderful resources for all of us to use with our children. I know that many hours, blood, sweat, and tears went into these projects but your work is greatly appreciated!
We will be reading the noted selection for the week as well as discussing what we have read. I may come up with other questions as well. Kids are curious and I know we will have many questions which may lead to some research in other areas.
We will also be working on reading through a few books, see Kirby’s Kids Grade by Grade Homeschool Reading List , for each different grade level. The older kids will have some independent reading while the younger ones will have a mixture of read alouds, read alongs, and independent reading.
You should keep a record of the books read. You can do this in a notebook or using this printable HERE.
I did not list handwriting in the weekly work tasks as my kids are using the Spencerian Penmanship for handwriting and will practice this every day.
We will be doing various activities for this area. We will be looking up definitions, matching words, putting the words in alphabetical order, and a variety of other activities.
There will be a variety of creative writing ideas as well. I have tried to vary them and offer choices to help encourage writing. We will also be doing various writing assignments in some of other areas as well.
These are just some of the other activities that I am incorporating into the lessons with my kiddos as we are all at different learning levels. I put these in here to keep me organized so I don’t ‘forget’ something.
I will add links to worksheets I find or make as we go through the unit. For a general guideline of skills your child should know by grade level click HERE.
I have pulled a lot of the material from the book for the worksheets listed down below.
Many of the ideas have been pulled from the following resources:
We will also be studying different lessons from Mystery Science which is a site that the kids LOVE! We have found a lot of FREE lessons on this site. (You do need a membership to access all of the site.)
YouTube can be a great resource for educational videos.
We often have some ‘Free Play’ outside whenever the weather allows as well.
This area contains our lesson plans for a few different areas that I have included with our ‘Life Skills’. You will find lessons on cooking, cleaning, and organization as well as bible memory work and character training. All of these will go together to help raise our children into the responsible and caring citizens of tomorrow.
You can find a FREE printable log for keeping track of memory work here: