I kind of feel like the past two weeks have just flown by. I cannot even really remember what has happened lately. Except for this:
That’s my bathroom. It looked like this noon on Saturday. My Saturday evening, it was completely emptied except for the toilet. My husband (who is working so hard on this AFTER working 8-10 hours every day) is hoping to have the shower framed and ready for installation on Sunday.
I am trying to cope with tools and hardware, bathroom contents and mess strewn about my house. And the bathroom door behind my dining room table. And a sink and vanity next to my china hutch.
And a very precious baby who has wedged it’s head so low in my pelvis sitting isn’t comfortable anymore.
Oh the seasons we go through.
On The School Front:
Last week, we finished our Adventures in US History by My Father’s World for second grade. I know Peanut is excited.
We are continuing to work through our Teaching Textbooks 4. She should be finished in June.
I think we’ll continue to do Spelling 2-3 days per week until life gets to hectic (read- I have a baby).
We started “How to Study Your Bible for kids” by Kay Arthur and Janna Arndt. It’s a six week lesson on how to study the Bible inductively. We will get through that and I’ll review it.
We are SO EXCITED to start Exploring Countries and Cultures in August.
On the Baby Front:
The little one is due in five and a half weeks. Everything is measuring fine, and baby is moving around a lot. It’s a very strong child. I am looking forward to meeting the munchkin. Now would be the time that I go through baby clothes and see what I need to pick up, but it’s taking me a little longer because of the horrific state my house is in.
Last summer, I bought a calendar that is printed August through July. I was ecstatic, since it was basically a school year and then some, and I had reached the point in my life where, if it wasn’t written down someplace intentional, I would miss whatever activity/appointment/special day it was.
Plus, I could use it as a sort of school day tracker (not by putting in what days we do school, but by looking at whatever else we did, and realizing there was no way we fit school into that day.)
At the beginning of the “year” (read: August 2013), I was thrilled to fill it up with fun things to do. Of course, the first half wasn’t too full. I was recovering the first few weeks from miscarrying our twins and building back all the blood cells I had lost. It was actually a long recovery. But, looking back into August, I see that I actually did put checkmarks on the days where we did school. We had a few appointments, a trip to the zoo, a swimming date, some parks, a library trip.
September had quite a bit more, which makes sense, because a lot of things start up in September. I did a quick count, and out of the 30 days in September, 11 of them did not have something written down. As was the habit for the rest of the year. I’m looking into my May and writing things down, filling in holes, making notes of appointments and play dates, conferences, meetings and Bible Studies. I’m not seeing a lot of breathing space, so I skip ahead a page and look at June and breathe a sigh of relief. I love looking ahead two months and seeing how much free time I have. But the reality is, once mid-May comes around, there will be so many opportunities to fill up my calendar in June.
I am thankful I have an excuse to clear the dates and say, “Sorry, I can’t. I’m staying home with my kids and the new baby.” Maybe I can even find some trusted friends to take Peanut out and let her enjoy the summer while I stay home and enjoy an empty calendar?
So far, in June, I have the kids’ dentist appointment and the dates my mom and baby sister are flying in to visit. I wonder how long it will stay that way.
It’s weird to think that there are only 8 weeks left in this pregnancy, and in two months our newest family member will be here. I’m starting to get really excited. I dreamed last night of baby-things, which usually happens to me in the last trimester. But in my dream, the baby turned into two babies, and it was so wonderful to have both of them in my arms. I woke up this morning sad because I realized I was dreaming of my twins I lost last summer.
And then I was even more sad because the thunderstorms from yesterday turned into snow early this morning. Oh, Spring, where are you?
On the brighter side of things, my daughter did her schoolwork without tears today, my son wrote the letter “M” all by himself, we played a game of Candyland together that almost ended in tears but DIDN’T, and the kids are looking forward to a birthday party tonight that I’m sure they will enjoy. It’s at one of those inflatable playgrounds. God is good, and it’s Easter Week!
As a participant in BzzAgent, there are times when I receive free or discounted products to review, and share my honest opinion. The following is a review of a product I received for free.
A couple weeks ago, I received a free year’s subscription to GoDaddy’s Online Bookkeeping service.
Here’s a little confession about myself: I love accounting. I love keeping books, and I love making spreadsheets and spreadsheets filled with budgets and projections, profit and loss statements, and whatever else I can add and subtract.
I also still run my small, in-home business as a child care provider according to the IRS. The income is small, and it’s part time, but I still have to keep track of my books and income, so this trial was GREAT for me! It was so simple to start an account, and the interface is easy to understand and easy to find what you need. The buttons are big, and the sections are easily identified. The language is also pretty simple- you don’t have to be a CPA to understand what to put in which field. This online-based software can be accessed anywhere you have internet, so you can enter in your purchases even when you’re on the go.
It even keeps track of your personal expenses. I don’t know that I can stray from my excel spreadsheets, (and my pages and pages of personal budgets and projections) but that’s a pretty handy feature to include. Especially for those that do run home-based businesses and they have to differentiate between personal and business expenses. I can foresee this feature as a handy tool if (heaven-forbid) one does get audited.
The only downside I have found is that my business is not inventory-based, so there are extra features that I would not ever use. A child care business is service-based, so I don’t keep track of sales or inventory. I only keep track of clients and the hours I spend in business, plus my expenses.
I also had a nice surprise a week after entering my business data, when GoDaddy sent me an email with my profits for the week! Sweet! That is so handy- can you imagine using that with direct sales, or a small etsy shop???
What I like most about this program is that it automatically lets you view your Schedule C, and gives you a running total for quarterly (or yearly if you don’t file quarterly) taxes that will be due based on your profits. How easy is that!!!??? Especially since I’m trying to keep my profits down (and in home child care, you can claim a lot of household expenses that you wouldn’t normally write off on your 1040 EZ*). So this is like a running total of how many more expenses I need to add in there so I don’t go owing so much to Uncle Sam.
The fact that this program tracks personal and business expenses, gives you a Schedule C, tells you when you need to file quarterly (and how much), and is so easy to use makes it well worth the $99/year listed on the website. It’s accounting software AND a personal accountant wrapped up into one cloud-based data file!
Watch this one-minute video for a little more from GoDaddy:
This week went by fairly quickly. It wasn’t an outstanding week, nor was it a boring week. But it’s over, and here comes family time, Peanut’s last basketball game of the season (whew!) and the chance to prepare for another week with my beautiful children.
Monday came the introduction of the new math program we’re using. School went well- and so quickly, and I’ve gotten completely sidetracked from doing preschool with Bubba.
Tuesday was the Pajama Party and movie day with our homeschool group. After trying to figure out the technology and which computer would work with a DVD and be compatible with the church’s AV system, we found that we wouldn’t be able to watch the VeggieTales movie that I had brought. No fear, though, we just streamed Netflix. Gotta love Netflix.
Wednesday came the next installment of our Pursuit-For-The-Perfect-Curriculum. Spelling Power arrived, and I kind of dove right in to the placement for Peanut. I’m thinking I’ll be giving the Manual an hour of my time this weekend and perhaps even watch the DVD that comes with it to explain the process. I’m fairly confident I’ve placed her correctly (I did follow those steps to the letter,) I just need to solidify my idea of how the program actually works.
Thursday was a different kind of day. I think the whole Nesting complex is combining with my utter exhaustion of this winter, and I wrote out a three page list of all the things I want done around the house. But I started in Bubba’s room. Shame on me for not taking pictures. But imagine taking out every. single. toy. from his room and piling them up in the living room. Picture a 4-foot by 3-foot pile about two and a half feet high. It disgusted me that he had so many things in his room. (I am so leaning towards minimalism sometimes.)
Then I vacuumed and shampooed the carpets. Then we went to the pile (and I had to stop Bubba from jumping into the pile for fear of hurting himself and crushing his things) and we organized everything. Peanut brought up two boxes from the basement- one for Doesn’t Belong in His Room, and one for Not Keeping Any More. We sorted all the things, making a pile for all the toys that went back in his room. Then we methodically placed his toys back. I dug out a basket for the cars, the dinos went back into their bucket, all the Pirate toys went on the correct shelves, and I brought back the toddler bookshelf from daycare days.
Now, his room is delightful and much easier to clean. We’ll see how it is next week.
Today was another up-in-the-air day. At 8:30, I called my sister to see if they’d had breakfast yet. Then I told her I was coming for her four year old, and I took him and my two kids to McDonald’s for sausage and the Playplace. They played for over an hour. I also met a nice lady with two little boys. One of which was a Cheetah who wanted to attack any children he saw playing. Fun times. I mentioned something about homeschooling to her, and she asked me some questions about it, saying she was thinking about homeschool for her older boy. I had the thought that I wish it were that easy to drop comments about my faith and witness to people like that. Because Moms who want to homeschool are almost like people searching for God sometimes. They’re afraid to ask, afraid to commit, afraid to jump off the public school bridge. If only we could be so bold to share a little about Jesus like we do with our school choices.
After McD’s, we stopped by the grocery store, and then home, where Peanut finished school in an hour. Wait, is that right? Yep, an hour. What did I do here? I switched math and spelling, and now school takes an hour? I feel like I’m missing something, or I’ve forgotten a subject somewhere in my closet… Maybe it’s because we’re nearing the end of our My Father’s World year, and things are just slowing down.
Looking forward to next week, and hoping to find ways to make it GREAT!
A couple months ago, I started thinking about what our homeschooling day will look like next year. Bubba is going headfirst into pre-reading preschool activities, Peanut will be advancing in her studies, and there will be a new little munchkin to cuddle, feed, change and love on.
One of the decisions I had to make was in the subject of Math for Peanut. I had heard about Teaching Textbooks from various web reviews and from a friend who uses it with her seventh grader. The thought of a computer program doing the teaching for math was very appealing.
The website has placement tests (most math curriculums do for homeschool) and Peanut did exceptionally well on two different tests. I was confused at her placement in the curriculum, so I gave the company a call. They were extremely helpful, and they also suggested using the sample lessons on the website to give my daughter a feel for the program. Peanut loved it.
I found a Teaching Textbooks Curriculum Sale group on Facebook, and purchased the appropriate level at a discounted price. When I told Peanut that it would be arriving in the mail this week, her eyes lit up and she looked so excited. I looked at my husband and asked him if he thought we should wait until next year and have her finish the curriculum she’s using (I mean, there’s only two months left in our school year!) He said, “Not with that look, just let her start it.”
So with that, she’s started Teaching Textbooks, and she’s loving it. She’s working at her own pace, the computer is checking her work, telling her what she’s getting wrong, telling her how she should be doing the problems, grading her work, and keeping track of it.
I loved our old curriculum, and it challenged Peanut, but she started getting bored with it. I would find her staring out the window, doodling in her book, and not getting answers right because she just didn’t care. This new curriculum is cutting at least an hour (sometimes two!) out of our school day. It’s amazing the difference a little change has made.
I’m not prescribing it for everyone- not all texts work for all kids, but I would like to encourage parents to not fear change, no matter how far along in your school year you may be. A little change may mean all the difference in whether or not your child is learning something!
This week has not gone quite as planned. But that’s okay. The beauty of homeschooling, right?
Monday, we were planning on a trip to the mall for some running around the play place with a friend of mine and her children. (Peanut was planning on taking a book because she feels weird playing where only littles are supposed to play.) I also needed to stop by Motherhood Maternity and pick up some things since my body keeps getting bigger. Not only do I now feel pregnant, but I look it also.
I woke up Monday morning and it was nasty out. So we postponed until next week. It’s not that I mind driving in the snow, but I just really didn’t want to shovel off my car. Lazy me. By the end of the day, it was 40 something degrees out and everything had melted off the car. Figures.
I did, however, sign up for the 30-day trial of ABCmouse.com for Bubba. He really likes having something on the computer to do. I actually like this program, and am seriously considering keeping the subscription after the 30 days. Not to replace one-on-one interaction, but it’s cute and he enjoys it.
Tuesday came along and it honestly felt like the longest day of my life. We startd with lessons. Then at 11:30, we drove to the church for our homeschool class. (I co-teach with two other great ladies.) We did our unit on Money, handed out baggies with a predetermined amount of play coins, and set up four tables that were “stores” where the children bought snack at the grocery store, a book at the bookstore, candy at the sweet shop and a few toys at the toy emporium. The kids all loved it, and it went really well.
Straight from the church, we headed to the public library, where Peanut was in her first ever book club. She loved it. They read Anne of Green Gables. I was really surprised at how involved Peanut got in the conversation. The forum was set up for kids grades 3-6.
After that, we went home, had a quick dinner packed up to eat in the car, and I drove Peanut to basketball practice. That got over at 7:30, and you’d think we were done with the day, but NO, I had to go grocery shopping still! Ah well, better get it done, right?
Once that day was over, Wednesday came and the weather WAS AMAZING. I think it almost hit 60 degrees outside. I threw curriculum out the window and sent the kids outside to play for who knows how long. The kids had a great time, and got some much needed fresh air.
Thursday came and went with an impending blizzard that caused everyone to panic and close things down early out there in the real world. Peanut was excited because she saw real hail coming down. I asked her to go out and get the garbage can from the curb, and as soon as she grabbed the handle, there was a giant clap of thunder that stopped her in her tracks and caused her to turn around looking for whatever caused the noise. When she saw me in the window, (laughing at her) she figured out what it was and smiled as she brought up the can. So she got a weather lesson in Thundersnow. I’m still not convinced we actually had a blizzard, but the weather was weird, nonetheless.
Oh yeah, and we actually got a day’s worth of schooling in.
Friday I made a first birthday cake for a friend. So the day was kind of weird with that happening. But peanut got to ice the leftover pieces. She did a pretty good job for her first time!
I have been making our own dishwasher soap for our home for a little over a year now, and I have been very satisfied with how it cleans our dishes. I run my dishwasher at least two times a day. We snack and eat often, and I don’t spend money on paper plates, so we use a lot of our dishes every day. I’m not very good at keeping track of who used what drinking cup, and our cat has a tendency to drink water out of glasses that are sitting around too long, so unclaimed beverages go into the sink if they aren’t claimed.
I varied the dishwasher detergent recipe I found here, and added some store-bought dishwasher to help with the lack of phosphates. In my opinion, it adds a little extra strength to the homemade recipe.
I did some research, and there are sites out there that says to avoid the water spots on the dishes, you can use Lemi-Shine to add citric acid. I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work that well. I order Citric Acid on Amazon whenever I’m getting low. It comes in a plastic bag, but as you can see, I just recycled a lemonade jug and refill it when it gets in. The only downside to this product is that it doesn’t have anti-clumping ingredients (not too much of a downside in my opinion), and all I do is sift out the big clumps, put them in a Ziploc and let my three year old beat them until they’re powder again.
Borax and Washing Soda can be found at Walmart in the laundry detergent aisle. I’ve found Borax at grocery stores, but Walmart seems to be the most reliable when it comes to Washing Soda. I’ve tried other stores, and they just don’t carry it reliably.
If you’re ready to try your own dishwasher detergent, gather your ingredients, a large bowl to mix it in and a container with a tight fitting lid to store it in.
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
1 cup Dishwasher Detergent (any brand)
½ cup Citric Acid
½ cup Kosher Salt
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Store in airtight container. Use according to your machine’s instructions. I never had the instructions for my machine, so I put two Tablespoons into both the rinse and wash compartments (four Tablespoons total) and run on normal wash.
For a rinse aid, I fill the compartment with plain white vinegar.
This Video is circulating around my Facebook Feed:
Peanut is a Rabbit Lover. We have a twenty-something pound Californian Rabbit in a gigantic cage in her room. Her “lovey” since she was born is a yellow rabbit (well, it used to be yellow-it’s well loved) named Hoppy.
I saw this video and assigned her the task of a creative writing exercise. It was cute and I thought she’d love it. After she watched the video, I told her I wanted her to write about it, and her face fell through the floor. NOT the reaction I was expecting.
She came back with five sentences squished together, no regard for spelling, grammar or punctuation.
Insert character lesson here. 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” This is the verse that came to mind.
She came through, however. Not as wonderfully articulate and creative as I had hoped, but nevertheless, she did as she was asked.
I’m thinking creative writing assignments are going to be a struggle with this child. Unless I ask her to write about My Little Ponies or Ninjas or Rainbow Unicorns. She writes those in her free time. She even writes comics about them. Which is wonderful. And I encourage it. Those topics bore me to tears though. I loved writing assignments as a child. I loved writing assignments as a teen, and all through college. I even thought I wanted to major in English when I graduated high school. This child, however, has different interests. I guess we aren’t as much alike as I thought we were.