Friday, January 9, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up! 1st Week of 2015

Howdy!!  I know have been MIA for over 6 months (well except the super brief, 2 day, attempt at daily posting in November...what was I thinking?).  To be honest, it has been a mixture of not knowing where my head is, to not having 2 hands to type with, and not feeling like I had anything worth posting about!

But, we are back, with REAL Montessori (or at least Montessori inspired) schooling.  Last semester we used workbooks and curriculum.  So, we are finishing up on those and transitioning into more Montessori lessons again.  I'm ready!  

We started out this year with a new theme for our calendar.  We use the Calendar Connections from 1+1+1=1, and we are using the cards that focus on the Arctic and Antarctic.  Seems about right, since the high yesterday was all of like 4 degrees, and the windchill was below zero ALL.DAY.LONG.

Our discussions have included ice, glaciers, icebergs, and polar lights.  We've also talked about latitude and longitude, hemispheres, and the arctic circle.  

We used these wonderful Arctic Animals set from from Trillium Montessori. 

And I was thrilled when Mini Cooper, completely on her own, went and found a journal and wanted to draw pictures and copy the names so she could remember her work!!

We had a refresher course with our Little People animals and the Article and Noun presentation.  I also presented Grammar Box 2 (which I see I have no photos of).

Working through Grammar List 1.  We enjoyed the discussion of what some of the words meant.  We even watched a Youtube video of a wringer to learn what that was!

Explorer completely enjoyed getting to work on the Continent puzzle.  We also sang the Continent song, which she loved.  We used this to talk about where Antarctica was at.

Mini Cooper had a really fun day when she spelled her first word!!  She is certainly at a language sensitive period.  Always wanting to know how to spell things and write them down. She had no idea it would be possible that she could spell her own word!

When we started pulling out the Montessori Materials, it apparently brought inspiration to the sensorial materials.  The girls spent a lot of time building together this week.

For Christmas, Charger got this super cool Snap Circuts set!  We will be working on this a lot!  

We made the fan fly!  Super cool!

We learned about how ice melts by using a fun experiment I found from Art and Creativity.  First, we sprinkled it with salt, and then we put food coloring on it.

You could then watch the salt make tunnels through the ice as we watched the food coloring go through the tunnels.

The kids spent a good hour watching their ice cubes melt, adding food coloring, and experimenting.  Mustang was adding salt to get hers to melt faster and even pulled out a magnifying glass so she could get a better look.  Very fun experiment.  

One last little fun activity the big kids have been doing is to play the Oregon Trail.  This was a flashback for me and we've all been enjoying trying to get to Oregon without having our oxen stolen, our friends die, or to get sick from dysentery.  Lots of strategizing, planing, and discussion has come from this game!

All in all, it's been a great week back!  I hope yours was as well!  See you next week :).

God Bless,

We're going to link up:

Montessori Monday

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thankful Post #2

Today, I am thankful for my Heritage.  My parents, my grandparents, my great-grandparents, my family.

My father is a minister, so I guess it's probably because of his profession that we were at church anytime the doors were open..I mean he was the one who usually opened the doors, lol.  Let me tell you, though, I am so grateful for all those times!

My parents could have chosen a million different paths in life, but they listen to the call of God for their lives.  Through their willingness to serve the Lord, not only were hundreds of other people touched...I was touched.  I came to know the Lord and His salvation.

I am so thankful to know Him as my savior and so thankful that they know Him, too.  I'm so thankful that I have their support in raising my children knowing all about Jesus.

I am so thankful that He is part of our everyday life.  I'm so thankful that our holidays and dinners and conversation include learning about and worshiping the Lord.

Some families pass down money or companies or valued possessions (and yes there are a few of those in our family), but I'm so grateful that our family has passed down the most important inheritance they can-knowledge and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I hope you know Him, too!

God Bless,

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Thankful Post #1

Hellllooooo!!  So, yes, I've been missing for quite sometime now :).  Life is actually going along quite well.  I don't know if I'm returning to blogging, but for this month I will be.

My oldest daughter (known here as Mustang) just started her own blog.  It's set to private, so I can't share it.  But, I have asked her to post each day this month something she is thankful for.  She agreed, but only if I did it, too!  So, here I am.

Today I am thankful for 1 John 4:19,  "We love Him because He first loved us."


God's love.

Without Him, love wouldn't exist at all.

Without love, there would be nothing to be thankful for.

And, to know that He loved us first...amazing.

To know that He loved us before we even thought of TRYING to be 'good enough' (which we can't do, but at least we could try, right?).  To know that He loved us while we could CARE LESS about Him and His plan.

To know that He-God of the universe-stopped what he was doing to pick me up, hold me close, and show ME-teeny tiny, dust of the earth, human-His perfect and FREE love.  Amazing.

"We love Him because He first loved us."  And I, am eternally thankful.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Baby Quint is Here!!

If you did not see it on our Facebook page, Miss Quint has arrived!!  She weighed 7lbs 4oz and was 21 inches long.  She also waited to arrive until I was 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant, making her only the second of my babies to be full term.  

She had some meconium in her waters and developed pneumonia, but after an extra week stay in the hospital, we FINALLY made it home.  I will be getting the full birth story up in the next couple days.  

We have been so blessed by our fifth and final addition to our family!!  I am so thankful to finally have completed our crew and look forward to what life holds in this next phase of raising our (not so) little family.  

I hope you all have been having an enjoyable spring!!

God Bless,

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Dreaded Kitchen

Yep it's dreaded.  Sorry that I'm not very encouraging on that one ;).  I also realize, that, compared to other 'cleaning ideas' I was doing everything backwards.  But, if you were following the other posts, you know that my DH was helping on this room so I was taking advantage of that help to work on the other rooms :).

I was also having aversions to dish soap.  How convenient, eh? yeah I thought so, too.  Thankfully, with the help of a friend, I found out about a scent free dish soap that was sold at our local grocery store.  

But, I didn't buy it until I was really ready to start the kitchen.  I knew that as soon as I took the job back over that DH would declare me officially healed and no longer do the job.  I didn't blame him, I just wanted to be sure I was ready to take on the hardest room in the house.

Yes, once again sorry to unmotivate (apparently not a real word) in a motivational post, but the kitchen is (for me) THE hardest room in the house.  Mostly, because it is in CONSTANT use, and no sooner are you finished cleaning it that it becomes dirty again.  Plus, there's the gross bonus that if you DON'T clean it up, it will attract bugs and other annoyingly gross stuff (mold, etc).

I did FINALLY jump in and tackle it, though.

Oh! I should clarify that the VERY LAST THING I turned over was the dishes. 

Day one: I started at one side of the kitchen and cleaned off about 3 feet of counter space.  I cleared it off all the way down to the counter top and then scrubbed it really well.  Any dishes that I found were just shoved to the sink.

Day two:  I checked the area I cleaned on day one and cleared it off (takes just a few moments after the initial clean) and wiped it off with a regular wash cloth.  Then,  I went to the OTHER side of the kitchen and cleared off about 3 feet of counter space.  After it was cleared off, I scrubbed it down.  

Day three:   I revisited the first two spaces and then tackled the top of our dishwasher (it's portable so kind of an island).  It took more time then it should because it is a total clutter magnet.

Day four:  I washed off the top of the stove, burners and all *yucko*.

Day five:  (after revisiting all the previous day's places) I swept up the floor.

And Day SIX??? I-at last-took over the dishes.  

After I had finally recovered the kitchen, my daily routine (as long as I follow it) looks something like this:

Clear off counters on one side of room
Clear off counters on other side of room
Clear off dishwasher
Empty trash if needed
Get out a clean wash cloth (place dirty one in laundry)
Wipe off all surfaces 
I also take a swipe at the microwave each day-at first I did just the outside, then added one side of the inside, and added daily till it was cleaned out.
Sweep floor
Mop if needed
Have kids unload dishwasher (I don't let them unload it until the counters and floor are all cleaned up, because they have the tendency to drop things or set them on the counters-which is gross if they aren't cleaned first).
Load dishwasher 
Wash any large pots
Run dishwasher

Um, yeah, the fridge hasn't really made it into routine yet.  I tried to start one last week and only got a day's work done.  So, I'll be adding that in once I get it tackled ;).

And that was one complete pass through the house.  I will give more details on how it's going now in my next post :).

God Bless,

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Digging Out...The Kid's Rooms

Notice how I changed from cleaning, to recovering, to digging out?  Yeah, well, when it came to the kids' rooms that's exactly what it was-digging.

My kids' rooms are upstairs.  I actually don't go up there very often.  DH tucks them in at night and they all know how to put their clothes away (except for Explorer, but her room isn't up there).  Well, okay, sometimes 'putting away' is equated with 'shoved in general direction,' but they kinda get it.  But, the fact is that I don't have a need to go up there much.  The storeroom/school supply room is up there and that's pretty much the only reason I go up there.

As you can imagine, kids rooms left unchecked=mass chaos!

I started with Charger's room.  His room is the first room at the top of the stairs, it is the smallest, and he is MUCH better and getting rid of things then Mustang.  

I wanted to try and HELP the kids pick up.  And, by helping I meant that THEY would do it.  This is the true definition of helping when it comes to kids.  Why?  Well, because if I do it for them, they won't be able to do it on their own next time, and so I was no help at all.

We started at the door of the room.  The fact is, we couldn't easily get into the room.  So, clearing the area from the door to the bed was the first goal.  Because his room is very small, we were able to clear the entire center of the room.

On the following days, we started at the door and worked our way around the room.  We made sure that the area cleared on the previous days was still picked up before starting the next area.  

The ways that I helped him were to:

1.  Tell him where things went (sometimes he didn't know at all and sometimes he had the wrong place in mind).  
2.  Help him to create a place to put something if there really wasn't a place to put it.  
3.  Help keep him focused...he would have loved to play with every.single.toy. he found instead of putting it up.  
4.  I did the true cleaning when we were done-sweeping, vacuuming, etc.

We worked for 15 minutes.  I wanted to help him develop a habit of cleaning rather then just me cleaning it up in one big project and then letting it go back downhill for....well, a LONG time.  It took an entire week of doing a little each day before it was finally 'done.'

It has been 2 months since this happened.  I can honestly tell you that the corners of his room could use a repeat of the cleanup, but the main area of his room has stayed clean for all 2 months, and his bed has been made. I have been very pleased with him as he is just 6 years old.  

I did the same progression with Mustang and Mini Cooper.  Their room took about 2 weeks.  And, overall, it has stayed okay since then.  Some days are better then others ;).

The toy room was the hardest and easiest all at the same time.  The goal was to simply clear a play area in the center.  Each day, we worked for about 15 minutes as a group.  We started working on it the first day that we started working on Charger's room.  I have to say that it was BY FAR the worst room in the house.  So, we worked on it for about 2 solid weeks at 15 minutes a day-all of us (except DH).  By the end of the 2 weeks, it was light years better!!

The really great part about picking it up as a group was that we made bins for each toy.  I did that myself EVERY time I cleaned up the toy room (alone).  The problem?  No one else paid attention to which bin was which.  So, when I told them to pick up the toy one knew where anything went!

But, after we picked up everyday for 2 weeks, all of a sudden they KNEW where things went!!  He he!!!

So, while I won't say that the toy room has been stellar for all this time, I can tell you that when I told the kids to pick it up....low and behold they COULD!!!  It was really quite awesome I tell you!!

Now, I won't say that the kid spaces have remained perfect (or even close), BUT you can
walk through them without tripping, you can find most of the things you need to, and the kids can maintain this level on a regular basis. And while I wouldn't say they are company ready, I do think they are 'we live here' clean.  That was the goal.

Thanks for stopping by!!

God Bless,

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Moving Upstairs...Recovering the Stairs and Hall

If you've been reading all the way through, you will notice that I went through the entire main floor and didn't talk about the kitchen.  I will get there at the end of my house recovery.  You see, my DH was awesome enough to take on dishes when I got sick.  He was still doing them as I was working on the rest of the house.  

I knew if I had taken over the kitchen, he would not have continued doing it, so I wanted to work on the rest of the house before I took that job back over.  IF you are doing this with me and do not have a DH doing the dishes, I would recommend using paper products and doing minimal kitchen work until you have recovered the rest of the house-but that's just me!

So, instead of tackling the scary kitchen, I set off for the scary kid places.  Not that one is easier then the other, and not that one is going to stay cleaner's just there's no way on earth that DH was going to help me with the kids' rooms (proof that I was actually choosing the harder of the two jobs!).

This area was broken into MANY pieces, and took about 2 weeks total to get to acceptable status.  

The first tackle were the stairs.  

I've never lived in a 2 story house before this one, so I have no idea if this is normal behavior, but my children put everything they want to take to their rooms and put them on the stairs.  Of course when they go to their rooms, they DO NOT take the item to their rooms.  Instead they trip over the stuff.  

Thankfully, we have since put a stop to this behavior (seeing as it's kinda dangerous), but when I first started my clean, there was just a TON of stuff there.  At least, I got a little help.  I made all the kids come and help me.  When I unearthed something that belonged to them, they took the item to their room and came back for more.  

I was in charge of trash-and filled a bag pretty full.  I also found a few things that I have no idea how they got there.  Oh, and LOTS of socks and a few random shoes.  It was kinda rewarding, actually, because as I *found* some long lost toy (that my children put there) I was deemed the best mom ever for finding said treasure.  

15 minutes later my fame ended-since the treasures were all found.  I finished up by sweeping the steps and calling it a day.

The next area was the hallway.  It was tackled exactly the same way as the stairs, so I won't bore you with the repeats.  But, since it is a long hallway, it actually took two days.  I am quite embarrassed to say it took that long.  I couldn't believe how much was there!  

3 days later, you could walk all the way UP the stairs, all the way DOWN the hall....but entering the children's rooms was, ehem, at your own risk.  

God Bless,