Our School Day Switch up!

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Since the beginning of the school year {August 2012} We have had the same schedule 9am-3pm with breaks every 3 subjects/projects. Guess how many times we actually completed the entire days work? VERY seldom. We would start every day out with momentum and excitement but after that first break it was like pulling teeth…the day would quickly go from happiness and excitement to groans of annoyance and cries of frustration. What’s a mama to do? In November/December I reevaluated our school day work load. I also incorporated new fun learning games, like Time Bingo, a game called Pizza Party that is all about fractions, and other fun games. That really seemed to help…we were getting more than 50% done, heck I’ll take that! Now it was the coming back to the school room after lunch that was the problem…it was a BIG problem. I needed a change!

In Late December I was chatting with a few other Homeschool moms and the “What’s your school day look like” question came up. There were a HUGE range of responses…everything from 8am -2pm to 1pm -5pm and everything in between. One of my very dear friends response was very interesting…it was EXACTLY what I had been toying with starting! Her kiddos do school Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am-12pm {Our kids go to the same program on Thursdays!}  I was so excited to chat with her and tell her that I was planning the following Monday to begin 8am-11pm! She was VERY encouraging and gave me a little bit of a break down of her day.

Here is a very basic break down of our day

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This is our regular schedule, however some days we switch it around and do Math first, then History, then reading.

Since we started this new schedule we have finish 100% of the planned school work…EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!! YAY!

I asked my 8 year old son what he thought of our new schedule and he told me that he loves it! Having our school day starting and ending all before lunch has opened up so much more time to do things as a family. We are going on family daily walks after lunch {my hubby works from home} we are able to have playdates and field trips without the worry of interfering with our school day! And for me personally…I’m able to to read and actually do my bible study homework! I can even run on the treadmill!  It has been so wonderful for us!

So what about you? What does your school day look like?

Smiles & Blessings

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Let’s Talk Mentors…Mama Mentors!

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Being a mom is hard…right?!? Feeling like you are going it alone is even harder!

Do you ever feel like you just want to cry?  like you want to pull your hair out? like you’re going crazy?? You might be in desperate need of a mama Mentor!

 What’s a mama mentor? A mama mentor is a woman who has either teen or grown children, who is well seasoned in the art of parenting toddlers, young children and grade school aged children! A mother who is a loving and encouraging towards other mothers naturally! I can virtually guarantee that you have at least one woman that fits every single attribute that I just said! Approach her and talk to her about becoming your mentor! But, we’ll talk about that a little later.
When you need a mentor…
There are times when the stress just takes over you just feel like you can’t go one more minute without just bursting into tears, you know when the craziness of your day has taken over every fiber of your being and you are just a giant ball of emotion… It’s times like that with every mom with young littles needs to have somebody that they can call up, that they can text, that they can go to their house and say “I need you I need to talk to you” (it’s great to have your mom and your sisters around but sometimes it’s really good have a third-party friend/mentor who is not directly related to you.  They often have a different and {needed} take on the situation then somebody who is related to you that may be biased about it!
My mentor…

I have been blessed with an amazing mama mentor she’s the mother of children from 20 – 30 years old. She is nothing but supportive of me. I know that whenever I’m having a rough time with any situation at any age and with any of my kids I can go to her and she will have such an amazing bit of encouragement to give me and I know that there’s nothing that I can throw at her that she hasn’t been through! It is so encouraging for her to tell me the story about one of her children who was just a total crazy maniac as a toddler and then she can tell me what he’s like now as a grown-up, she can tell me how she learned that one particular style of discipline was not right for one child but it was right for another child… Something that I deal with on a daily but basis all of my children respond differently to different types of discipline
I love having her as a sounding board, I can tell her my feeling, emotions, ideas & frustrations and I know I will get honest positive encouragement and feedback!
There are times when I just want to sit down with her and tell her that I don’t feel like I can handle it, I don’t feel like I can handle the temper tantrums in the masses and just the absolute craziness that occurs in my house…that’s when she holds my hand and tells me “I know exactly how you feel” and my heart knows she truly knows exactly how I feel… There is no substitute for that!
There are times when I can tell her a particular story and she smiles and says “you know I remember when that happened with_____” and she has her own story of how she dealt with pretty much the exact situation and that is so encouraging and comforting to me in those times of need whether it is stress, anger, happiness, sadness, any emotion.  I mean you name it she has encouragement right there ready for me!
Honestly there have been times when I’ve thought “oh my goodness I am the worst mother on the face of the earth, my kiddos are out-of-control” I turned my mentor to tell her theses these feelings and she laughs and she tells me” oh my gosh your kids are exactly how little kids are in
Amazing mother” I just can’t describe to you how that makes me feel inside! Her words make me feel rejuvenated.  Her presence is a giant blessing to my heart!
So how do you go about getting a mama Mentor?  It’s easy, is there a woman with grown children in your life that you admire? that you look up to? Often times these are women in your church, in your Bible study in any group setting that you have maybe even a friend’s mother!
Have someone in mind? Take her out to lunch, take her out to coffee ,sit down and chat with her, tell her that you are looking for a mentor, tell her that you would love to have somebody like her to encourage you!
You’d be surprised how many women would be so blessed and honored to mentor a young mom who was going through what they have gone through and that they’ve survived!
If you don’t approach her she will never know and you may miss out on such an amazing mentor/mentee relationship that God has in store for you!
So there you have it! My thoughts and my feelings about having a mama mentor in your life!
I hope that you consider having a mentor in your life and if you were mom with grown children I hope that you really consider becoming a mentor to a mom with young children!! We need you in our lives!
Smiles & Blessings

Ooh Some Exciting News!

I have some exciting news!! I’m now apart of the Moms of Master Books review team. What is a mom of Master Books? “We are a book review team committed to share the news about great books that help parents #TeachtheTruth from the Bible to our children.” I’m so excited to be apart of this awesome team! Master Books of New Leaf Publishing Group is the world’s largest publisher of creation-based resources including apologetics, home school resources, reference titles, and quality children’s literature.

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I’m so excited about this!!! What does it mean for you? You will be able to see mine and the other mom’s reviews on all kinds of different books!

These Adventure are some of my favorites!!

The Complete Zoo Adventure

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The Complete Zoo Adventure

 

The  Complete Aquarium Adventure

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The Complete Aquarium Adventure

Keep an eye out for more exciting changes and my reviews for Master Books {my first one should be in March!!}

 

Smiles & Blessings

One week into Lent

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So I wanted to give a little bit of a lent update:
Last Wednesday {2/13} was the first day of Lent. This is the first year that we decided to participate! {Read more about our participation in Lent HERE} We decided to give up all drinks except water and sweets for Lent! It’s almost been a week now and I have so much more energy!! I’m not sluggish at the end of the day because of all the sweets in the drinks in the food that we are eating! I have even lost a few pounds which I’m really excited about!!
We also have stopped getting angry and yelling – every time I find myself getting upset I immediately seek God and start praying!  I have really seen a difference in my mood and honestly my kids moods too! Our home is over all calmer and happier!! AWESOME!!
What’s all this doing for my relationship with Jesus?  I have found myself praying and spending so much more time with God! I’m not consumed by what’s going on and getting upset or getting angry.  I’m not hyper and unglued and unable to focus because of all the sweets and all the sugar, I feel so much more calm and connected with God! I feel like I have the relationship that I’ve longed to have again!! In addition, This week I am starting my women’s Bible study in Ephesians and I’m really excited about it! I have even downloaded a daily devotional from my favorite you version app on Ephesians and another one on Galatians! If you don’t have the you version app I would highly recommend it it’s available in App Store!
 I’m really happy that we decided to participate in Lent.  I feel like it has drawn me so much closer to the Lord and showed me that those things that I felt like I was relying on are so unnecessary and not something that I need to rely on nor need in my life!!
How about you did you decide to participate in Lent? How’s it going? I’d love hear!!
Smiles & Blessings

Crazy Cute Craftiness: DIY Nail Polish Caddie!

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There are always TONS AND TONS of craft ideas floating around in my head! Today “Crazy Cute Craftiness” was born!

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We all have those items lying around our homes…you know the things you aren’t using any more but you think ‘hey maybe I could use it for something…someday’ For me it is a rotating spice rack we got as a wedding gift {12 years ago} The spices and have long since be used, the bottles have disappeared or gotten broken…so it sits in the way back of a cabinet..taking up space!

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Ummm this is really sad isn’t it!!?

Then there is my nail polish…oh the nail polish! I LOVE painting my nails! I usually change the color of my nails once a week…unless we have a date night! You know what that means…I have a TON of nail polish!

For years this is how I have stored it…in a plastic storage container that I can put under the bathroom sink.

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I decided that I need a better solution for both my old spice rack taking up needed space and my plethora of nail polish…Thus the birth of the “Nail Polish Caddie!”

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What you need:

Scissors

pencil

hot glue gun and glue sticks

Cardstock or heavy weight paper {any color…I just happened to have this recycled color}

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Step 1:

Trace the bottom of the rack on the paper

{you want to make sure that you are tracing around the part where the spices sit…it should he two little bars about an inch apart}

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due to tight spaces you might not have a perfect circle…just fill it in so you know where to cut!

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Step 2: Cut 2

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Step 3 : Cut each circle in half

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Step 4: Cut smaller half circle out of half creating a little “floor” {Be sure to measure the width of your rack where the spices would sit…mine was an inch}

If yours is like mine these little floors will a little long so clip the ends until it fits to your liking

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Step 5: Heres where the hot glue comes in…run a small bead of glue on the top of each bar, gently place the floor on the glue…please be very careful hot glue has burned me many times!

{This will just give it a little extra hold…it isn’t necessary but I would recommend it}

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Step 6: Load that baby up!! On my particular spice rack there was a little center area…it fits remover perfectly!

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So there you have it! 6 SUPER easy steps to create something pretty stinkin cool! I think it too me about 15-20 minutes from start to finish! Now my nail polishes fit perfectly on my bathroom counter and hardly takes up any room…which my hubby LOVES!!

Smiles & Blessings

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Christians and Lent

Lent is giving up something with a desire to draw closer to the Lord!

Not all Christian churches observe Lent. Lent is mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist,Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by Roman Catholics. We are non denominational and although it is not necessary to observe Lent, there is no reason why Christians should not observe Lent if they so choose. It is just another way to remember Jesus and what he has done for us.
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This year my husband and I have decided to participate in Lent…in the sense of…Giving up something that we do every day and replacing it with spending time reading the bible and praying!
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My husband and I are both giving up all drinks accept water, sweets and anger/yelling!! Obviously this is not like giving up, say, a tv show {when the show is on instead of watching you could read the bible or pray} so when I feel my self getting angry I step back and ask God to help me relax. As for giving up sweets and beverages other than water…here is our thinking…sugar tends to make us wired. We find ourselves unable to relax or/and concentrate…enter reading the bible…mind wandering…frustration because you just aren’t getting it! Without those sugary treats and drinks we will both have a easier time focusing!
What is Lent?
Lent is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. Ash Wednesday (2/13/13) marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count). {This year Lent is 2/13-3/30
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus – his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. My personal thought is: give up something you REALLY like, then when you start thinking about it you instead spend time in the bible! Thus giving up something to draw you closer to the Lord!
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:25-27
If you choose to participate
Things you could give up for Lent:
Television (or specific shows or channels)
The radio
Favorite foods (pizza, ice cream, etc.)
Eating out
Alcohol
Soft drinks/caffeine/coffee
Smoking
Clutter
Debt (using credit cards)
Certain books/magazines (read ones that will help you grow spiritually)
Social Media sites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.)
Blogging
Negativity/Stress
Gossip
Anger/Yelling
Lying
Swearing/foul language
Addictions
Procrastination
Working overtime (unnecessarily)
After the decision has been made you need to follow through…sometimes that means every single morning you wake up and ask God to help you!
Spend time with God either in prayer or reading the Bible! For example someone who is giving up a particular tv show could spend the time that they would usually be watching it reading the Bible!
You can even get your children involved with these ideas for kids: (Replace something with Family Bible study time)
Television (or certain shows)
Video games
Computer (games, social networking, etc.)
Fighting with siblings
Being disrespectful to parents
Lying
Soft drinks
Sweets/Candy
Like I said at the beginning…choosing to participate in Lent, it a way to draw us closer to the Lord!  Are you participating in Lent? I’d love to hear what changes you are making!
Smiles & Blessings