I Have Been Blessed

All about how God has blessed me. In my marriage, with my six children, through homeschooling, and our faith with recipes, large family living, and updates on our life.

Schoolhouse Teachers

I don’t even know where to start to tell you about all the awesomeness at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I guess I will start by telling you that somewhere along the line, I found out about The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and on a subscription special, began receiving their magazine. For someone who knew very few homeschoolers, had never been to an Expo, getting that magazine was an introduction into all the vast array of curriculum that is available. Fast forward in time, and The Old Schoolhouse magazine is now available online, and they have created a website for homeschoolers. The amount of content on there is overwhelming! (The good kind of overwhelming).

Okay, first, let me say they have made a Site tour Video to show all the wonderful things available. You should watch it, because I can’t imagine being able to tell you everything available there. Second, you should definitely check out these Sample Pages. Third, I think you should just go try it out because it only costs $1 for the first month. After that the price rises to $5.95 or you can just do a year subscription for 10% off and pay only $64.26. It’s worth it. It’s so worth it.

The number one top-of-my-list thing I love, love, love is their planners. I am slightly OCD. I love a well planned day. I love to see it all written out. Their parent planner is over 800 pages of forms for you to customize and use. And although the temptation is there, no, I do not print out all 800 pages. I only print what I want/need/can’t live without. There is also Student planners for Primary, Intermediate, High School, and a Special Needs Planner. I currently have the parent one, the Primary one, and the Intermediate one, that I plan to have Brendyn use independently, saved on my computer and I have a long list of the pages I want to print off! There is a form for anything I can think of, and that includes household as well as homeschool forms. The planners – I seriously love the planners!

Okay, so also there are lessons, tons of lessons, from Pre-K to high school. From Chemistry and History and Literature to Home Ec, Math, and Music. Writing, Technology, Special Needs, Lapbooking …. These lessons are updated monthly but are complete lessons. Then there is the Daily Lessons – grammar, math, writing, pre-k activities, this day in history and more. There is even a monthly menu to give you new ideas for your meal time rotation. There are so many lessons that you can use to supplement, or you could almost do all of your teaching straight from that website!

You also get the digital copy of the Magazine, free, as well as access to all the back editions. You get a Free Monthly E-book. You get access to their Schoolhouse Expo Webinars. Okay, it’s $1 for the first month. Seriously, have you signed up yet?!?

I already had a paid membership, but I did get one year added to my term for providing this honest review. We are so blessed.

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It Worked for Me

Here are some things I have done in the past (that I should probably institute again) that have worked for us in the past to streamline, organize, and create better harmony in our house.

Toy Storage – the solution to a Never-Clean Room: When the kids were having a particularly hard time keeping their rooms cleaned, and I was tired of seeing toys everywhere – we did Toy Baskets. I gave each kid a basket and put a name tag on the handle. Each kid was allowed to choose 10 toys and put them in their basket. All other toys got boxed up and went upstairs (which is our storage room.) Those were there toys for the week. Each night I had them turn in their basket to me with all ten toys neatly tucked in the basket….toys not in the basket got added to the upstairs collection, hence losing them a toy. On Mondays, they had the opportunity to swap out their toys for new toys. This worked for us because it meant there were only 50 toys in my house (5 kids after all!!!) and I saw real quick which toys never got chosen, which toys were favorites, and it fostered cooperation as the children often chose toys that went together. Maybe after Christmas we will institute this again!!

Another thing I should really do – Sometime before Adreya was born, Mom and I worked together to do a Once-a-Month Cooking Day. We cooked and cooked and cooked and at the end of the day had about 30+ meals to put in the freezer for quick dinners. I really need to do this again especially with Cassidy on the way. I should really plan this for a Saturday in January!!!!! One of the most simplest things we did on that day was to simply pre-cook hamburger, chicken, and taco meat. Even these small advances helped make for getting dinner on the table quicker! I also like the idea of making something for Austin for his lunches that can be tossed from freezer to cooler (like breakfast burritos or something.)

Motivated Mom’s Planner – I have probably bought this a couple of times (it is only $8). It is a daily (or weekly) House cleaning and Bible Reading Planner. It has a simple to-do list of what should be done around your house. If you do what’s on the list, the idea is your house will stay company-ready. I usually do pretty good in January, then slip away from it. I’ve bought the planner for 2012 and plan to keep up with it. I really appreciate the fact that includes chores I often don’t think of (change out kitchen  towel), but also includes the chores that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly, yearly right into the lists without me having to think about it. (MotivatedMoms.com) Like I’ve said, I’ve done this before, but often fall away. I’d really like to stick with it this year.

It’s the end of the year, and I find myself not only preparing for what the possibility of the new year can bring to us, but also really looking forward to the addition of one more!! I’ve decided that I am going to wait until after Christmas to start really preparing the house for baby Cassidy and just the thoughts of pulling out baby clothes, setting up a bassinet, etc. has me even more excited to meet her!

I am So Blessed!

Five Special Blessings to Me Today: Ice (I chew ice while pregnant as fast as I can freeze it!), Cooler Weather (at 30 weeks pregnant, I am happy to be out of the 80’s), A lighted Christmas tree when all the other lights are out, Clean Bedrooms (all 3 kids rooms are clean, or at least were clean at some point today!), Christmas Music

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Sweet Tea Concentrate

We drink a lot of tea in this house. Like, a lot! Probably a gallon or more per day. But I am the only one that makes it. (Sigh!) The bad part about sweet tea though, is it takes about 20 minutes to make (at least the way we make it – about 5 minutes for the water to boil, then 15 minutes for the tea to steep.) But it takes the same 20 minutes to make 1 gallon, or 4! I just don’t have the refrigerator room for 4 gallons of tea. (Said refrigerator room is currently being occupied by the 4+ gallons of milk we drink each week!)

So, I got to thinking…..(They do say, necessity is the mother of invention) …Why couldn’t I steep the tea and sugar, remove the tea bags, and then freeze it….When we needed a new gallon of tea, melt, mix with water, drink. Viola!

I went to my local Wal-Mart (this is where I go on vacation!!), and bought 8 (16oz.) freezer jars.

In each freezer jar, I added 3/4 – 1 cup sugar and 3 quart size tea bags (we use Luzianne!)

Then boiled my water, and added water to the top of the jar, let steep for 15 minutes, removed the tea bags, stirred in the sugar, topped off with water, screwed on the cap, and threw (or rather placed them gently) in the freezer!

I was a little concerned if it would reconstitute well, but I am happy to announce, it was perfect!

I see many more sweet tea concentrates in my future, and how great for a party. If you had one in the fridge, you could refill a sweet tea, very quickly.

I am always excited when I try something new, and it works!!

I am Blessed!

Five Special Blessings to Me Today: A hard-working husband!, Having just what we need before we knew we needed it, Soft kleenex tissues, five loving children, my The Old Schoolhouse (homeschooling) Magazine that came in the mail today!

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Chores, Schedules, Reward Charts, Oh My….

In my spare time (I can manage to eek out 3-5 minutes a day!), I have been revamping, redoing, and reorganizing what will soon be our *new* Chore Chart, Schedule, and Reward System. It’s a little bit MOTH, a little bit Chore Packs, a little bit Accountable Kids, and a little bit Lee Family Wisdom (i.e. – What works for us!)

I don’t have it all figured out yet. Well, I have the individual components *mostly* figured out. I just don’t have the BIG *this is how it all comes together* part figured out. I’m still thinking on it.

Each child will have 3 chore packs (morning, afternoon, evening) and there will be 5 ‘levels’ of rewards … (Black, Red, Yellow, Green, Silver/Gold). Trying to think of a visual *something* that represents each child, their chore packs, and what color they are on. That’s not asking too much is it??

If you have any ideas feel free to comment.

I HAVE BEEN BLESSED!

Five Special Blessings to Me Today: Finally making it to my second trimester and getting a little more energy, My very first ever Pregnancy Massage tomorrow!, A Wonderful Ladies Meeting last night, Friends, My Salvation

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Chore packs

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This falls in the better late than never category since my goal was to start these at the first of year. Basically they are chore cards they carry around. They see the chore, do the chore, move it to the back of the pack. They also will each have a timer to try to “beat the clock” at getting chores done. The oldest three all have age-appropriate chores to do. Although it wouldn’t surprise me if I need to make Adreya one too since the others will have them. Oh and no TV, Computer time, or Wii if the chores aren’t done yet.
Always love trying out a new system and this is actually just one component.
Five Special Blessings to me Today: Brendyn, Tyler, Madelynne, Adreya, and Wyatt
Have an extra blessed day today!

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