How To Blog With A Houseful Of Kids

Continue reading “How To Blog With A Houseful Of Kids”

Badgers, Butterflies, and Sourdough Bread

It seems that every week is a crazy week around here lately and I know that part of that is probably my fault for trying to squeeze so much into my days. It’s definitely a juggling act around here with the kids, homeschooling, square dancing, blogging and the list of things that need to be done to keep up house and I then I add in things like trying to revamp some of our favorite recipes to make them healthier, working a couple of part-time jobs from home to earn a little extra income and trying to start up my own notary business. Yeah, no wonders things are so crazy right? Not to mention I’ve signed up for a multitude of online classes like the Positive Parenting Solutions which has really helped out when I remember to use the tips and tools I’ve been learning about.

Sigh… parenting is hard. When you add the special challenges of raising two special needs children (ODD, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome and a few others) to the mix it can be even harder on some days. It may be because I am making some progress with our class that I am seeing a little bit more rebellion or ‘testing of the waters’ but whatever the reason it has been quite the challenge here lately. It is enough on some days to make a Momma wanna through up her hands in defeat but I know that God is here and He is going to help us all get through this.

The kids have had a blast with this week with our newest Academic Adventure using the Little House on the Prairie book series. We’ve learned about dugout homes, even a whole town that lives underground in Australia, and some other interesting facts about the strange animal that Laura encountered on one of her adventures.

They’ve also learned some important lessons about obeying rules and right now I have a couple of little girls who have lost some privileges and are under constant supervision similar to what Laura experienced at the beginning of our On the Banks of Plum Creek Week 1 Lesson Plans.

The boys also enjoyed learning with Ziggy as they started their All About Reading Level Pre-reading lessons. They also enjoyed reading  The Very Hungry Caterpillar which I thought was a good book to go along with our lessons this week.

 

Another book they are really enjoying is Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature which are reading through as part of our science lessons. It is full of facts and illustrations that they love. The jacket also unfolds to make a huge poster for them to look at. The next best part of their science lessons was looking at bugs with their Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Bugnoculars(pictured above)

We haven’t finished all of this week’s lessons as this week has been a bit busy and it was hard for some people to get back on the school routine. We still have a few like skills lessons which include our new Herb Fairies books and some dog training lessons from Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days. These might not be things you’d normally expect to find in your school lessons but the kids asked for them so I have included them to keep them interested in learning. Plus we can all benefit from these lessons and I find them pretty enjoying myself.

The best part of our homeschool experience this week is at the bottom of the post so you can keep reading or scroll through to find out what it was.

Getting back the week we’ve had, we had an amazing day at the zoo last weekend followed by a birthday party at my sister’s house. The kids had a lot of fun and a bit too much sugar that day. We had to deal with the after effects for a few days afterward. No fun!

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On Monday we had our usual square dance and then back home. Tuesday I decided to make a grocery run with my favorite Walmart Grocery Pickup service. Mr. Awesome had announced that he was starting a new diet after I had already made up my grocery list so that meant we needed to run into the store for a couple of last minute items. I already had the menu planned out as well so I just decided to tweak a few of the recipes to make them a little more diet-friendly and healthier for everyone. Be on the lookout for some upcoming recipes that we have been trying out.

I remembered that I had bought a couple of Trim Healthy Mama books (Trim Healthy Mama Plan and Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook) before so I dug them out and started skimming over them a bit. I also bought the last book, Trim Healthy Mama’s Trim Healthy Table, as I kept finding references to some recipes that weren’t available in the original book. There are several recipes that I want to try and I have been adding some things like collagen, acv, psyllium husk flakes, sunflower lecithin, nutritional yeast to some of my recipes for a little extra health benefit.

I know we can’t undo all these years of unhealthy eating in a day but we can make one change at a time to become a little healthier every day. I also know that my kids will be learning how to eat healthier and hopefully, they will pass some of these habits down to their kids. I’ve added some healthier options to our breakfast menus like omelets with mushrooms and a side of sauteed spinach. While Mr. Awesome passed on the spinach at breakfast I did manage to sneak in some greens and A TON of veggies at dinner time. That’s not potatoes on that plate but you wouldn’t know it if I hadn’t told you.

I’ve also done a lot of food prep so that we would have some healthier choices when we needed a quick meal or snack. We made a few boiled eggs and our own bagged salads for the week. I made one bag special for Mr. Awesome as he said he wasn’t ‘Popeye’  and he didn’t want spinach in his salad.

We cut all the lettuces, a mixture of iceberg and romaine, into bite-size pieces. Then we washed everything and spun it dry in the salad spinner. (You want to make sure it is as dry as possible before bagging it.) We layered a couple of big baggies with a paper towel and carefully placed our lettuce and spinach inside. Then we squeezed out all the air and sealed them. They have been in the fridge all week and still look pretty. (You will also want to change out the paper towel frequently.) The kids really enjoyed practicing some of the kitchen skills they’ve learned and it seems to make them more interested in trying out new things when they are involved in the process.

I also decided to try my hand at making some sourdough bread again. My first starter died when I neglected it a few months ago when I was sick. I wasn’t really feeling like attempting my own so I ordered some San Francisco Sourdough Starter from Amazon. It was quite easy to get the activation started by using the instructions provided. We’ve named our starter ‘Fran’ and she seems to be doing well. We’ve got some dough rising right now so maybe we’ll have a bit of sourdough bread to go with dinner tonight.

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The kids are really excited about our new ‘sourdough baby’ and they keep checking up on her to make sure she isn’t hungry … lol. They even wanted to try out a new recipe for muffins using some of the leftover sponge we had from the bread dough. Here’s a couple of pictures of the batter and the finished product:

This recipe still needs a little bit of tweaking but I did manage to use some whole wheat flour with these muffins and I snuck some greens in there as well! The kids said they liked them but personally, I think they need a little something more before I want to share the recipe.

I was also excited to get my Grove order this week as I ordered several items I’ve never tried before. I did get the room spray for FREE and I love that it comes in a reusable glass bottle. You can even order the concentrated sprays to refill it. 

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The body wash smells amazing and the brushes have helped out a lot with some of the cleaning we’ve been doing around the house. I bought the washing machine cleaner to help get rid of the mildew on the refrigerator seals … yuck. It has helped somewhat but it may need to be used several times to get rid of it completely. I may cave and get some bleach to get rid of it because I just really hate seeing it.

And now for the best part of our week! We had gotten the Insect Lore Deluxe Butterfly Garden with 2 Live Cups of Caterpillars & Feeding Kit at Easter and the kids have really enjoyed watching their little caterpillars grow up. I don’t know if you can see in the first picture but they were small enough to fit on my pinky nail but boy did they grow quickly.

The kids have been excited to observe the whole process but they were also very excited to let them go. This was easier said than done as a couple of them didn’t want to leave their little home. A couple of them have been spotted hanging out near the pond so we still get to see them just not as often as we did before. The kids are begging to this again.

Well, I guess I better finish up here as the boys are begging me to ‘let the dough out of the bowl’ so they can work with it. They already have some plans for bread and jelly when it gets finished!

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We just want to wish everyone a very Happy Mother’s Day and we hope that you have a wonderful weekend!

Remember that sometimes motherhood, or even parenthood, is not the way we had it pictured that it would be and we can get overwhelmed and stressed but it is so much more rewarding than we could ever hope that it would have been!

Here’s a picture of our finished bread:

**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. We may earn a teensy weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission.

 –Thank you!

 

Cover image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay 

How much time do your kids spend on the screen each day?

Overall 1.8 billion people own smartphones and use their devices on a daily basis. Some studies estimate that an average person checks their screen 150 times a day.

And, data shows that nearly 70% of 11 to 12-year-old kids use a mobile phone; 90 percent by the age of 14 (Williams, 2016).

Developmental patterns due to technology utilization have drastically changed, and society is suffering from the epidemic of postural decline for it. To offset the ill health effects of sensory mismatch associated with digital dementia, it is of utmost importance to understand the brain-based presentation of these patients.

That’s why I invite you to join me at The Digital Dementia Summit!

Continue reading “How much time do your kids spend on the screen each day?”

Escaping Today’s Stress By Taking A Step Back In Time

WARNING: This post may contain a picture overload as I did take quite a few pictures while we were out on our adventures!

Over the weekend we had been invited to attend a small festival at Camp Milton where they were going to be having a battle reenactment. The time period was the 1800s which just happened to fit in with our Kirby’s Kids Academic Adventures and the Little House On The Prairie Adventures we’ve been doing with our homeschool so of course, I said we’d go. Plus it was a chance to see one of our friendly square dancers in action as he is an avid participant at these events.

I think we surprised him by showing up but he was more than happy to give us a tour through the camp and show us all the neat things they had out. They also shared some of their rations of beef jerky and bread with us for breakfast.

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After the camp tour, we headed over to the village where we got to shop at the General Store. I bought a cone of brown sugar there for the kids to try out later. We also ‘priced’ some other supplies and staples while we were there.

Then the kids got a peek at the small cabin, it was even smaller than our house, and they had the chance to ask a lot of questions which they did.

 

(Sorry guys there was no Google in the 1800s … lol.)

After the store, we headed over to the small museum where we got to check out a lot of interesting items.

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We checked out the school tent and bought a couple of toys, of course. Each kiddo had the chance to pick out a small wooden top and I also picked up a flute and a slingshot, what was I thinking?

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Continue reading “Escaping Today’s Stress By Taking A Step Back In Time”

Be The Parent You’ve Always Wanted To Be

Some of you may remember that I’ve mentioned I have a couple of special needs kiddos. These two have been quite challenging and I have faced many parenting issues that have been quite difficult to get through… I mean like heart wrenching issues that made me doubt my abilities to parent them at all.

Well, a lot of those doubts, fears, and worries have vanished and faded away after I started taking the Positive Parenting Solutions Course. Just the first course made me feel more confident in my abilities and gave me some tools to put to use right away. The changes have been amazing and I only wish I had found out about this course sooner.

You’ve tried everything: Time-outs. Reward charts. Counting to three. Punishments. Nothing works.

If you or someone you know has been facing parenting difficulties then you need to check this out, NOW! Don’t wait because you are losing precious time… stop the yelling, stop the threatening, stop feeling defeated and give this a try.

Guaranteed to transform your family… or your money back!

Don’t Miss This Free Event!

**This post contains affiliate links. Products and Prices are subject to change without notice.

I wanted to share this awesome parenting resource I came across recently. I’ve really enjoyed it so far and maybe you would too!

Homeschool Summits

is pleased to bring you a free online event:

FB 10 Continue reading “Don’t Miss This Free Event!”

You’re Invited To Join Our New Tribe!

Cover Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

**This post may contain affiliate links which help to support our blog and our family.

Hey y’all! I am excited to announce that we’ve just created our very own Tribe on Tailwinds. What is a Tribe? Well, it is a new Pinterest tool that allows people like you and me to meet others with similar interests. We can use this tool to share our experiences and grow our blogs/businesses.

‘Tribes is Free for anyone to get started, even if they aren’t using Tailwind already!’

I’m so excited to start our Kirby’s Kids Homeschool Tribe and would like other homeschoolers to join us as we help each other on this journey. I know I don’t have a lot of homeschool support close to me and I am always looking for ideas and solutions to problems we encounter. If I am looking for these things I know others are too and I just wanted to make a place where everyone is welcome to post ideas, tricks, and tips to that they have found which may help others.

As a member you can share up to 3 posts per day with the request that you will repin/reshare 3 posts (or more) from other members. Feel free to share anything related to homeschool, parenting, or anything else that might help a busy mom keep it all together. I look forward to seeing all the great tips and advice as well as watching each member help another to grow and learn on our journey.

If you join our Tribe right now you can get a very special surprise when you join with this invitation link right here.

Continue reading “You’re Invited To Join Our New Tribe!”

Preventing The Back To HomeSchool Meal Planning Madness

**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.

Hmmm… have you thought about what you’ll be feeding those hungry learners? If your kids were in public school you may not have had to think much about it before. If you plan to homeschool then you will be feeding them at least three meals a day and maybe a few snacks in between.

This can turn into a chaotic juggling act if you aren’t prepared. How do we prevent meal time chaos in our home? By meal planning. I even plan out snacks sometimes so I don’t forget to include them on my grocery list. Check out this link for some Healthy Snacks to Go.

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It might seem like a lot of trouble but when you find a system that works for then it is so easy. It will actually save you time and money in the long run. This is also a helpful thing even if you don’t homeschool.

Check out this post for some quick and easy breakfast ideas to help you beat that morning chaos and fill those tummies with a nutritious breakfast to start their day off right. Here is another link for even more ideas: The Healthy Breakfast Book. Continue reading “Preventing The Back To HomeSchool Meal Planning Madness”

13 Fun First Day Back To HomeSchool Ideas

**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 can remember how excited I always was on my first day back to school. I loved school as a kid and I was always so eager to learn. My best memories were of the teachers who let us play games or gave us special treats on that first day. Maybe they were just trying to bribe us but it was something I remember.

As a homeschooling Momma I can find ways to bring that excitement into our homeschool. I try to keep things fun and interesting and sometimes do something a little crazy. Check out my new Pinterest board, Homeschool: First Day Activities. Continue reading “13 Fun First Day Back To HomeSchool Ideas”

Have You Bought Your School Supplies Yet?

**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.

We’ve bought the majority of our school supplies for the upcoming year. I know from experience that this is something best done sooner rather than waiting to the last minute.

Not sure what to buy? Check out my post here with our Free Printable Back to school list. I’ll try to start planning for our next year’s school choices about midyear. This gives me plenty of time to research and make lists for supplies that we’ll need.

Not homeschooling? Check with your child’s school and/or teacher for supply list. Many times the local Walmart will have a handy checklist available when you walk in. Continue reading “Have You Bought Your School Supplies Yet?”

Rubber Band Method

Another positive parenting method I’ve tried was the rubber band method. You might wonder just exactly what this is because I know I did. Don’t worry no children were harmed in the testing of this method in our home.

Well let’s say you have one child. You would place 3 rubber bands around one of your wrist. Your goal is to give at least 3 positive affirmations to your child every day.

So if you catch Johnny picking up his toys without being told. You acknowledge that with a ‘Great job, you are being such a great helper!’ or something similar. Then you move the rubber band to the other wrist.

The rubber bands serve as a reminder. It’s pretty simple, right?

Let’s say you have 2 or 3 kids. You might want to use different colored rubber bands. The only problems I had were:

  1. I couldn’t find enough different colors to work with my color coding system.
  2. My wrists are only so big so having 15+ colored rubber bands on them was a big challenge.

My solution was to use one rubber band per child. Then I would move them over as usual. I would try to make sure I found some way to get to each child before starting on my second round.

Again the bands just serve as reminders and once you get in the habit of doing this you may not need them anymore. I haven’t used my rubber bands in a while but I just found them last night so I may pull them out again.

It seems that we’ve kind of hit a brick wall with one child. Not sure if it’s 100% behavior or partly due to this wonderful phase of life called puberty. All I know is that this child has had me at wits end some days and something has to change.

Children thrive on attention and positive attention is so much better than negative. The theory of focus on the good comes into play here. If we want to see more of the positive behavior then we will focus on the good behaviors and try to encourage these.

I’m not saying that the bad behaviors will be ignored because they won’t. Every choice has a consequence whether it is good or bad depends on the choice made. We are just trying to encourage the good choices and help each child to make better choices.

Happy parenting!

April 9, 2017

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well and have been safe through the crazy storms last week.

Our house is crazy, us usual, and full of excitement with the somewhat warmer weather. The kids love being outdoors and the weather had been nice enough to go outside almost every day for a bit. Then we had some nasty storms and the temperature dropped a bit for the past couple of days. Combine all of that with some pretty breezy days and the kids are a bit anxious to get out and burn off some energy soon.

Momma has been busy, like normal, and working on several projects at once while attempting to keep up with normal schedules and routines. I have been working on this monstrous grocery list as I have the month’s menu planned out but I still haven’t made it to do our monthly grocery shop. That is planned for one day this week. Which day has not been determined but it is going to happen this week.

I also have a To-Do list of things to work on for my blog, the Silver Fox Squares page, and some other club tasks. (Our April Fool’s Dangle Dance was a huge success and I should be posting pics soon on the page.) Not to mention I need to catch up on some school planning and related paperwork. I should also make a list of school supplies we need to restock on as well as some items we will be needing for upcoming projects. Sigh, the ‘To-Dos’ and ‘should dos’ never seem to end but I just do the best I can each and every day.

The past couple of days I’ve been a little more tired than usual and hadn’t been taking my vitamins and such. Yesterday the effects of not taking care of myself were evident and I felt the beginnings of a cold coming on. Today is a sick day and as much as I hate to admit it, I am sick! Blahhh, I hate being sick but I’m trying not to complain and just keeping up with the basics around the house so I can get over this as quickly as possible.

Of course, the kids know that I am sick and seem to take advantage of it. Isn’t that how it usually works? Anyway I am trying to keep everything as normal and on routine as I can. I’ve taken some cold medicine and feel a bit better for now but I think I will take a little nap while the kids lay down for their naps. Big sister will be up and about to listen and enforce the ‘no feet on the floor’ rule we have for nap/quiet time.

Sick days happen and we just need to be prepared for them. I do have some quick and easy snacks/meals that I can use when we have one of these days. I made some Chicken and Dumplings last night with some pre-cooked chicken that I had in the freezer, a bag of frozen mixed veggies, and some dumplings that I had frozen from the last batch I made a while back. It didn’t take long at all and it was so good!

We also have our routines down pretty well so everyone knows what to do and that goes a long way to helping keep us on track when Momma is sick.  I encourage everyone to try to establish some routines to help keep your family and household running smoothly in the event that you were down and out for a day or two.

The kids just finished up lunch so I think I am gonna try to sneak to my room for a bit… I wish you all a blessed week!