I Shoulda Looked for a Watering Hole

I Shoulda Looked for a Watering Hole

In case you missed it last year (or the year before that) this is when I start to complain about the heat.  You would think that I have an affection for it after living in Texas my whole life, but no.  I despise it with a passion.  Them’s strong words but it’s how I feel.

Last Thursday James whisked me away for a romantic getaway.  And when I say romantic I mean 2 days with 5,000 other homeschoolers and a guest bed at my aunt’s house.  It was more about keeping up with a full schedule and less about roses with candlelight dinners.  But we do have the 4 hour car ride to look back on with fondness, if you like long, intense discussions about how we can be better parents and what to do about making a budget for next year.

One thing I struggle with when I travel in the summer is getting dehydrated.  I try to be careful, but there’s something about it that throws me off and by the time we were back home on Saturday night I was in pain.  My old-lady bladder was irritated and a headache was looming.

Getting dehydrated is no laughing matter (even though this blog post is funny!)

This is not my first experience with dehydration.  It happens to me several times every summer.  I know what you’re thinking, “Why doesn’t she just drink enough water?!”  I really wish I knew the answer to this question.

I expected my usual few days of recovery, so I flipped through my essential oils reference book to see if I there was an oil I might try.  Turned out that I had several of the oils suggested….just one of the many advantages of having a good stock.  I put one drop each of lemongrass, Thieves, spearmint and chamomile into a carrier oil and rubbed it over my bladder. Then I rubbed EndoFlex over my kidneys and drank 1/2 cup of NingXia Red followed by 8 oz. of water.  I felt better in about 5 minutes….no kidding!  In the past when this happens I feel awful all night and have trouble sleeping because of it.  I did the whole protocol again before I went to bed.  I didn’t want to risk it flaring up in the middle of the night and missing my much needed beauty sleep.

It really is a blessing to have remedies for these kinds of issues.  When small things come up I always see if I have an oil that can help me get through it more quickly.  In this case it knocked it right out and I was extra careful all day Sunday to be sure I drank enough water.  Maybe someday I will think about it BEFORE I leave for my trip and avoid it altogether.

Today is the fifth morning in a row that I have to get up and go out early.  It’s been a challenge to find time for exercise.  On Thursday I went for an evening walk instead of morning and on Friday I dropped James off at the convention we were attending and I went for a jog around the mall next door.  This morning I did a quick TTapp DVD and I will try to go for a bike ride later.  I have learned that there is always something I can do, even if it’s just jogging in place for 10 minutes or crunches on the floor.

If I, the laziest person in Texas, can do it then so can you!  I am rooting you on from my air-conditioned bedroom with a tall glass of Sonic ice in my hand.

Have a great week & stay cool!

An Easy to Build Outdoor Game

An Easy to Build Outdoor Game

For last weekend’s graduation party, we decided to build a new game.  We had all ages coming, so we needed something everyone could play.  I bought a sheet of plywood and some 2x4s and told my oldest son what I had in mind, but let him tweak it however he wanted. Here’s a picture tutorial for you…..

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Cut a sheet of plywood in half & draw three sizes of circles.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Just use whatever you have for the circles.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Drill a hole inside of each circle.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Just make sure it’s big enough to fit a jigsaw blade into.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Jigsaw out the circles.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Easy.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Make each half the same.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Get out the 2x4s.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Cut four the size of the plywood, about 4′.  Four at 3′, four at 4’4″ and the last two will be the finished width when you’ve attached them.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

You can change the sizes.  You just need four frames that are exactly the same.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Screw them together.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

1, 2, 3, 4.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Screw those to the plywood.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

It’s a great job for a son.  We attached one more 2×4 between the frames along the back for stability.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

One hour – done.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Two colors of paint is more fun than one.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

I used a daughter for this job.  We sanded the circle openings a little bit first.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

I didn’t take pics of us painting the X on the front, but it was just painter’s tape and a sponge roller.  Nothing hard. Then we sewed little bean bags with fabric scraps.  They should be loosely filled.  That’s a great job for an 11 year old.  You could use balls if you don’t sew.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

I made the numbers with plain paper and a die cut machine then just glued them on.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

Then play.

  An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

At any age.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

This was a hit for our party.   After a while the older boys played by hiding behind the boards like forts and pelting each other with the bean bags.  The younger kids ran around with the bean bags, there were lots of variations on the game.

An easy to build outdoor game that's great for all ages! -- The Pennington Point

It took a few hours and the total cost was $37 (but I already had paint and other supplies).

Have fun!

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Graduation – Check!

Graduation – Check!

A high level of activity over the weekend has put me into a state of joyful exhaustion.  We have been building toward this weekend for the past 18 years.  Graduating 2 of our daughters has been such an emotional ride.  Happiness at being finished with their schooling and such grief that it’s over.  No more days of mommy school outside on the patio, weaving weeds into wreaths for our hair while we learn.  Although I have to admit, we haven’t done that for years.

This makes 5 graduates under my belt with only 4 more to go.  It’s a weird feeling having graduated more than half of our children.  I should have some kind of sash with badges on it for each child.  I could wear it to homeschool conferences.  And Miss America pageants.

We had about 50 people here for a small ceremony and dinner, then ended the night with the worst fireworks display in history.  The founding fathers would have been ashamed of our shabby little show.  Even the sparklers were a dud.

We didn’t do a ton of preparation for this party.  The grass was mowed and the porch was swept, but no big decorations or fancy table settings.

The girls did set up a table with some of their memories and accomplishments.

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

My little cuties…..

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

After James and I said a few words the girls thanked Mom and Dad and all of the guests, then sang a song they wrote together.

  homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

We served up some delicious bar-b-que and sides.

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

I ordered brisket, chicken, potato salad and beans from a local place and we added chips, green salad and both wheat bread and gluten-free bread.  We also had a trough full of cold drinks.

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

The morning before the party we put ice cream into mason jars and put them in the freezer.  We filled little bowls with various candies and toppings so they would be ready to serve.  We made labels for everything and had it all ready to go.  When it was time to serve dessert we put the ice cream into tubs of ice, opened the toppings and it was ready!

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

We had trail mix, gummy bears, dark chocolate m&ms, milk chocolate m&ms, peppermint patties, peanuts, sprinkles, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and whipped cream.  Oh…..and cherries of course!

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

As the sun went down and about 30 the people were still around, we pulled out the fireworks, also known as “an hour of lame”.  I thought I was ready with 2 new lighters and plenty of ammo.  My friend Sara also brought some fireworks to add to the what we bought.  But she and I have no idea what we’re doing when it comes to pyrotechnics and nothing we bought amounted to anything exciting.  Plus the lighters weren’t working right so it took about 5 minutes to light each one, creating a serious lull in the festivities.

I tried to keep the crowd from revolting by handing out snacks, but it didn’t work.  There was quite a bit of complaining, mostly from me and Sara.

Despite the lack of fireworks excitement it was a wonderful evening.  Great friends.  Great conversation.  Kids playing together.  Celebration.  What more could I ask for?

homeschool graduation -- The Pennington Point

Have a great week!

Sweating is Not My Thing

Sweating is Not My Thing

We have been working in the yard for the past few days getting ready for a big party tomorrow.  Two of the girls are graduating so we are having a small ceremony with family and close friends.

I don’t like yard work.  I am not one of those people who enjoys sweating and getting my hands in the dirt.  I hear people talk about how satisfying it is to get their hands dirty and all I think is, “Yuck.  Haven’t they heard that cleanliness is next to godliness?!”

I also don’t like tomatoes.  Just a random bit of info that I thought you might need to understand that I don’t care for yardwork.  It seems like people who love that also really like to grow tomatoes.  That’s just my assessment from the other side of the glass.  By that I mean inside the house where the air-conditioning is.

What DOES interest me is having a beautiful yard.  So sometimes I do actually have to sweat and get dirty for that to happen.  Thankfully I have a full crew so our family rallies together like a little machine and gets the job done.  Then we jump in the pool.  Because lounging in the cool water does interest me.

An as an update on our green swamp, it is crystal clear and staying that way.  I used the advice from a website called Trouble Free Pools. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but now it’s going fine.  It has been freeing to be able to do this myself without the help of the expensive pool store chemicals.

Back to the graduation prep, there’s also plenty of inside work to be done.  Bathrooms have to be cleaned and stocked, tablecloths have to be ironed and someone has to cut a watermelon half into a Pinterest worthy fruit bowl.

Being a true Texas gal, I am ordering bar-b-que from a local place that slow cooks it all night into a melt-in-your-mouth slice of heaven.  The whole meal is going to be gluten-free in honor of the 2 graduates who both are GF.  It’s been a challenge, but I’m up for it.

I decided on an ice cream bar instead of cake.  This morning I’m having one of the kids scoop ice cream into small mason jars so it will be ready to just pull out and serve.  No bowls and scoops and drippy messes.  Seriously y’all.  I am making it as easy on myself as possible short of hiring servers and landscapers.  Which I tried to talk James into but he insisted it wasn’t in the budget.

He and I don’t see things the same way.  I see a whole week’s worth of exhausting work ahead and he sees coming out of his office on Friday night to a beautiful yard and prepared food.  But then, I see the money in the bank account as just magically appearing, and I don’t think he sees it like that at all.

I am looking forward to hanging out with my people and laughing about the old days.  There’s nothing like an evening with the people who knew you when you were 12 to keep a girl humble.  It will come as no surprise to any of them that I don’t like to sweat.  When I was in the second grade I insisted on signing up for girl’s softball then cried through the entire first game because it was hot.

It’s gonna be fun.

Have a happy fourth!

Am I Sleep Walking Now?

Am I Sleep Walking Now?

It’s the age old question asked since the cavemen chiseled wheels out of enormous rocks and attached them to sticks: WHY does driving all day make you SO tired?!

I spent all day Saturday and half of Sunday driving home from Kansas City.  My children, so precious, slept in the car so they felt just fine when we got home.  I listened to an audiobook for a few hours, but that started numbing my mind and making me feel drowsy.  Thankfully I had my Sonic ice and Mandisa albums or I might have fallen asleep at the wheel.

When we finally got home I announced that we would take 30 minutes to “speed unpack.”  It was a whirlwind of half eaten packages of food, blankets, dirty laundry and cords.

Oh the cords!  I miss the days of cordless travel.  Now we’ve got phone cords, car chargers, earbuds, computer cords…..plus I travel with an extension cord because apparently hotels haven’t figured out that we need to be able to plug 14 things in at once.  Why on earth do they still just have one lamp base outlet for the whole room?!

Within half an hour we had literally put away every single thing from the trip and, as much as I wanted to hang out with my kids that I hadn’t seen all week, I fell into a nap that even Sleeping Beauty would not have believed was possible.  And I slept for the next 24 hours, breaking only to go for a walk at 6:30 the next morning.

I don’t actually remember it.  I only know that I went for a walk because I found selfies on my phone from 2 miles down the road.  I’m pretty sure I slept walked the whole thing.  I hope I didn’t do anything embarrassing.  Like take my shirt off in the middle of the street.

But the rest time is over because this Saturday we are having a graduation for two of my girls and I have lots of planning and preparing ahead.  We’ll be having 45 people over for dinner on Saturday night plus have a bit of a ceremony.  This is our fourth graduation.  This one will be much smaller than what we did for our son a few years ago.  We try to do whatever fits the personality of that child and the 2 girls that we are graduating this weekend wanted a smaller affair.

After that I.AM.SITTING.DOWN.FOR.A.WEEK.

I may spend all of Monday and Tuesday in the pool.  I have a lounger that has been begging for me to spend some quality time with it.

Have a great week y’all!

Getting the Deck Ready for Graduation!

Getting the Deck Ready for Graduation!

This post is sponsored by HomeRight and contains affiliate links.

A great deck washing tool and a giveaway!

Well, it never stops around here.  The next weekend after we get home from Kansas we will have a graduation celebration for two of our daughters.  Yep, I have advanced to graduating 2 at once.

As we get the yard and house ready for this party, I wanted to get the deck really clean.  Between the chickens pooping on it and leaves staining the deck, it looked pretty bad.

So I handed one of the boys a HomeRight Deck Washer.

Using the HomeRight Deck washer to get the deck super clean!

You attach the hose to it and it keeps a flow of water on the deck while you scrub.  There are 2 settings so we used the zero pressure for my son.  I didn’t need high pressure in this case, but I am definitely thinking of a few other places that I can use that feature!  I was really happy with how well it cleaned.

He thought it was fun!

Cleaning the deck with a HomeRight Deck Washer

He loved the constant flow of water.

Using the HomeRight Deck washer to get the deck super clean!

And my deck is squeaky clean and ready for the party!  Is it wishful thinking that it will stay that way for another week?

Using the HomeRight Deck washer to get the deck super clean!

And, you guessed it, I get to give one away!  Enter below to win your very own Deck Washer…..

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Long and Winding Road

The Long and Winding Road

I didn’t write my regular, fascinating Monday update yesterday because I was driving.

In fact, have been driving for the past 2 days and sadly I am the only driver in this bunch.  Our belief in not letting our kids learn to drive until they are mature and enough to carry that responsibility comes back to bite me when I’m on one of these road trips.  I find myself thinking, “I wonder if I could just plop one of the girls in front of the wheel on a long stretch of nothing and tell her to hit the gas.”

That’s how I learned to drive.  I was 14 and my grandfather was taking me home after spending the week with him. It was a three hour drive and about 20 minutes in he pulled over and said, “You drive.”  I had never even sat behind a steering wheel before.  Coincidentally, that is also when I learned several new curse words, since I spent the entire time going about 40 miles an hour and hugging the side of the road.  I skimmed at least 2 mailboxes with the side of his truck.

When we hit my neighborhood he had me pull over and let him slide across so my parents wouldn’t see me behind the wheel.  A few days later I let the cat out of the bag and told them I had driven all the way home.  It was too exciting not to tell everyone.  I don’t remember if they were angry or grateful, of maybe a little of both.  There had to be some relief at not having to do the dreaded deed of teaching me.

Of course, that was the days of the horse and buggy and the highest speed limit was 55mph.  You couldn’t do that today.  We have speed limits up to 80mph in Texas plus the modern day police don’t take it as lightly when they pull over a teen with no license.

I kind of miss those days.

Especially when my legs start cramping up after 8 hours behind the wheel.

I kept humming the Beatles song, “The Long and Winding Road”.  My kids always suspect I am making up these old songs when I get to the parts about pools of tears or “yeah, yeah, yeah.”  They can not imagine that actually being a hit song and they will say, “Mom!  If you didn’t make it up then it must be one of your awful 80s songs?!”

No….smarty pants!  The 80s songs go like this, “867530-ni-eeen-yeeen…..” over and over and over.  So there.

We will be here in Olathe, Kansas all week for the OYAN writer’s workshop.  In fact, if you’re in the area, my friend Connie at Smockity Frocks and I are hosting a meetup on Thursday night.  Leave a comment or message me on Facebook if you want to come and I’ll send you the info!

Have a great week!

 

Summer Home Tour 2014

Summer Home Tour 2014

It’s time for the second annual Summer Home Tour hosted by the lovely Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage (and one of my bestest friends).  If you’re here from Traci’s place….welcome!  I love her style!!!

I just fixed up my porch for the summer, which inspired me to fluff up the rest of the place.  I’ve been so excited for you to come for a visit.

A gorgeous patriotic front porch!

I painted a houndstooth rug to make guests feel welcome, and so we could easily wash the chicken messes off.  Chickens are soooo charming, until they poop on your porch.

A painted rug on the porch! Cool!

Come on through the screen door and sit a spell…..

A beautiful front porch for summer! -- The Pennington Point
With 9 kids, we need a lot of seating and there’s not much space.  It’s not easy to do in this little bitty house, but there’s always an extra seat for you!

A gorgeous summer home tour! -- The Pennington Point

I made the coffee table with a furniture dolly I found at a flea market, some galvanized pipes and the glass top from my old coffee table!  It’s happiness disguised as wood and metal.

A Coffee table made with an old furniture dolly and some galvanized pipes.

I think I’m in love.

A gorgeous summer home tour! -- The Pennington Point

It’s always nice to see things from another angle.

A gorgeous summer home tour! -- The Pennington Point

My painted piano is one of my favorite pieces in the house.

A gorgeous summer home tour! I love this painted piano -- The Pennington Point

This summer I went with an outdoor theme….birds and bugs and butterflies.  I was going for a look of “kids exploring the summer season”.

A gorgeous summer home tour! -- The Pennington Point

I carried that theme into my dining room/homeschool room, which is open to the living room through 2 wide doorways.

A gorgeous summer home tour! -- The Pennington Point

One of my girls found a speed limit sign at a resale shop and snatched it up for me.  She knows just what I like!

A gorgeous summer home tour! This speed limit sign on the mantle is great! -- The Pennington Point

A turn to the left and you see my chalkboard wall.  We change it out seasonally. (And in case you’re wondering….the table is a ping pong table with a vinyl tablecloth over it.)

A gorgeous summer home tour! Love this ping pong table as a dining room table.  -- The Pennington Point

I recently added the gorgeous shutters to the dining room from blinds.com and I love them with a passion.  We added trim to them, like we did in my bedroom.  Come back soon ‘cuz I’m gonna show you how we did it!

The long desk is where my kids use their computers (that’s what the little cabinet below holds) and do schoolwork.  It doubles as a buffet when we have parties or holiday meals.

A beautiful chalkboard wall in this summer home tour.

Oh!  And did you see the lights we made?!

Make lights from wire baskets

The chalkboard wall is full of painted jars and leaves and things the kids might bring in from their outside adventures.  I spray painted the mason jars….eeee!  Cute!

A gorgeous summer home tour!  Love this kids' summer decorating theme.... painted mason jars and outdoor touches
The other side of the room is where we do school lessons.

A gorgeous summer home tour! This is the homeschool room, very organized. -- The Pennington Point

I keep all of our school supplies in these baskets.  It’s great to have everything right there when we need it.

A gorgeous summer home tour! And organized homeschool space.  -- The Pennington Point

Back in the living room you may have noticed a ladder…..lots of people ask what’s up there.

A gorgeous summer home tour! -- The Pennington Point

It’s a loft where 2 of my boys sleep.  But even more importantly, it’s where we keep the Legos.  5 boys and many years worth of teeny, tiny, overpriced, messy….oops…..sorry….I’m getting off track.

There’s a bed on each end of the room with storage in between.  I actually got quite a bit of storage in there considering the room has serious limitations.

A boy's loft and Lego room.  Small space with big ideas!

The loft has only one real wall, so we built shelves to fit along the entire thing and boxes to fit on the shelves and voila!  Lego storage.

A boy's loft and Lego room.  Small space with big ideas!

The wood on the floor is the door…..so fun!  And there’s a little round window in the wall.  It’s a really cute room.

I used these fabulous metal cabinets from IKEA across the other side of the room so each boy has one for his personal stuff.  On each end we built a shelf that faces the bed so they have a place for their nighttime needs like clocks and books and pieces of trash.

A boy's loft and Lego room.  Small space with big ideas!

Then we built a shelf in the center to hold all of the manuals and instructions that my boys insist on keeping.  The whole thing makes one long surface on which the boys can create Lego masterpieces.

A boy's loft and Lego room.  Small space with big ideas!

Through the kitchen and out the door, you get to the luxurious poolside lounge.  Last year’s cushions didn’t survive the Texas weather, so I had to change it all up.  I have some plans to improve it even more, but this is what it looks like right now….come back in a couple of weeks for an update on the cushions and throw pillows!

A gorgeous summer home tour! This backyard deck decorated with junk is a favorite!  -- The Pennington Point

I found these turbines in my neighbor’s trash one morning when I was walking.  You can bet I grabbed them up and carried them home!

A gorgeous summer home tour! This backyard deck decorated with junk is a favorite!  -- The Pennington Point

It’s such a great place to hide from the kids….oh, um….I mean relax.

A gorgeous summer home tour! This backyard deck decorated with junk is a favorite!  -- The Pennington Point

On the opposite side of the yard is my husband’s office.  The kids and I surprised him in February with a front office makeover while he was out of town.

A gorgeous summer home tour! Outdoor office makeover. -- The Pennington Point

The last space I want to show you is my little office.  It used to be my son’s Lego room, but as you saw, we moved all of that to their loft bedroom.  Then it was a place where the kids could study, but they didn’t really use it much.  Now it’s my office.  Things change quickly around here.  Don’t blink or you’ll miss something.

The chest under my desk-table is filled with special things for the boys to play with when they are hanging out in there with me.

A gorgeous summer home tour! Love this small office space.  -- The Pennington Point

It’s where I sit and try to think of something eloquent to say.

A gorgeous summer home tour! -- The Pennington Point

Well that’s all folks!  Thanks for stopping by and be sure to head over to the rest of the homes and check out all of the gorgeousness!!!  You’ve got to go see Lindsay at The White Buffalo Styling Co….she’s awesome!

A gorgeous summer home tour! -- The Pennington Point

You can see last year’s tour featuring other rooms in my house HERE.

Monday, June 2nd

The Shabby Creek Cottage
The Nester
At The Picket Fence (Vanessa)
Thistlewood Farms
The Inspired Room

Tuesday, June 3rd

The Handmade Home
My Fabuless Life
Finding Home
In My Own Style
The Hunted Interior

Wednesday, June 4th

Inspired By Charm
Jennifer Rizzo
Madigan Made
Makely School for Girls
Funky Junk Interiors

Thursday, June 5th

Jones Design Company
Beneath My Heart
The Pennington Point
White Buffalo Styling Co.
Southern Hospitality

Friday, June 6th

At the Picket Fence (Heather)
Desert Domicile
Tatertots & Jello
Home Stories A to Z
Live Laugh Rowe

Sometimes I Just Have Things to Say

Sometimes I Just Have Things to Say

Some days, like today, I write an extra post because have things to say.  Important things about not having any decent food to eat and that I bought a new shirt yesterday.

After my being gone for almost 2 weeks, I think the kids forgot that my food shelf in the fridge has to be restocked.  I have had to scramble for things to eat around here.  I hit my low on Wednesday when I ate a can of tuna with some cashew crumbs for lunch.  Normally I have a pretty strict rule that we only go to the grocery store on Monday and whatever we forgot we just live without for the week.  But this was more than I could stand.  I broke from the rules and went to the store on Thursday.  It was either that or pilfering the trash for apple cores.

I went to Sam’s to and while I was there I looked through the clothes.  I have been on a hunt for t-shirts that have normal length sleeves.  I am sorry to say that I have extra skin under my arms now that, if you are at just the right angle, look like bat wings.  OK, really from any angle.  I have no desire to frighten small children by exposing these things, so under a sleeve they shall remain.

And I was so happy to find that Sam’s had some shirts with decent length sleeves, so I picked up a couple of them.  I would have gotten more but some of the colors leaned toward the coral family and that’s a color that, while it is supposed to look good on everyone, makes people ask me if I need to lie down.  Bat wings AND a death pallor…..just give me a belly revealing top for the perfect triple threat.

This weekend James and I will be at the FEAST bookfair in San Antonio working the THSC booth.  In case you don’t know, THSC is the statewide homeschool organization and we are big supporters of them.  If you’re in the area, stop by and say hello.  I love chatting it up with friends while James does the real work.

Oh….and I almost forgot to tell you the best news…..James passed the Bar Exam!  We just found out and I am so proud of him I could bust. 

And one last topic before I lose you completely, next week I have a great Young Living giveaway coming up and if you sign up with me you get a lot of extra entries.  This is a great time to get the family started with essential oils since the kids are out of school and you’re enjoying the summer.  AND next Thursday night I am doing a web chat with my friend Brandy to talk more about the oils and how we use them.  If you have any questions this is a great time to ask!

Have a fab weekend!

 

Homeschooling with Babies and Toddlers Around

Homeschooling with Babies and Toddlers Around

This week for homeschool month I want to share some ideas for you moms trying to juggle teaching older kids when you have babies and toddlers around.  It sure is a challenge….but you can do it!!!

Tips for homeschooling when you have babies and toddlers around!  PLUS a giveaway!

Babies: When I had a new baby (which I did for almost 2 decades!), I always kept a rocking chair in the room where we did our school.  That way I could comfortably hold baby and teach at the same time.  I also would take school into my bedroom or the nursery when necessary.  This season is really about being flexible.  Take 20 minute breaks while you nurse.  Relax and enjoy your baby.

Toddlers: Once they are big enough to move around and play a little, it’s a whole new situation.  This time takes training and work and patience.  Here are a few things I did while I was homeschooling and raising toddlers.

1. Teach them to play alone in small increments.  Depending on their age, they can play in one spot with just a few toys for 10 minutes or so.  I’d keep a special set of toys that are a favorite set aside for this time.  I’d spread a blanket or create a spot where they have to stay, give them the toys and tell them to stay there until the timer goes off.
2. Fifteen minutes of sibling time.  Yes, an older sibling can play with a toddler for 15 minutes while you work with other kids.  It should be time with a purpose that is teaching the toddler and keeping them safe.  This time is not for the older child’s enjoyment, but for them to serve. (I used a timer a lot during these years to remind myself not to expect them to be still and quiet for too long)
3. Work during nap time.  Toddlers tend to have regular nap times that you can count on, so why not use a little of that time to get some school work done?
4. Tactile activities.  Toddler respond really well to doing things with their hands.  A 9X13 pan filled with rice or a sink with water and bubbles can entertain a child for 10-15 minutes.
5. Videos.  Yep, I’m just gonna say it.  There are some days when I needed to really occupy the littles to get a big chunk of school done.  I tried not to do this more than twice a month.  So if I was going to use electronics, I just tried to be sure it was “educational.”  Here are a few fun ones:
*I Will Trust God (a sweet, simple message about trusting God)
*My First Signs (learning sign language)
*What’s in the Bible? (a really cute series)
*Creation Proclaims: Climbers & Creepers (a little older, but great lessons about creation!)

AND I am giving away a copy of “I Will Trust God” to one blessed winner!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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