Enter your email address to receive free updates:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Follow us:
facebook twitter gplus pinterest rss

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Toddler School - Week 4 - Introducing Colors

This has been a busy week because of Christmas so there wasn't a great deal of school time. I did, however, begin to introduce colors using some of the toys that we already have.

Toddler School - Introducing Colors

Family Christmas Activity Ideas

We have had an awesome Christmas this year!  We started celebrating on the first day of December and did something fun every day. We listened to Christmas songs and watched Christmas movies. I made a ton of goodies! I also planned activities for the whole family to enjoy. If you are looking for some ideas for your family to enjoy for your next Christmas, read on!

Family Christmas Activity Ideas

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Toddler School - Week 3 - Getting Ready for Christmas

This week for Toddler School, I thought it would be a wonderful way to get ready for Christmas by doing some really fun Christmas activities with Baby Jay. She had a great time!

Toddler School - Getting Ready for Christmas

Friday, December 11, 2015

Toddler School - Week 2 - Library Fun

This was week 2 of our Toddler School journey. Check out Week 1 here. I was able to bring the kids with me to the Library where I work part time. Baby Jay LOVES the Library! There are so many things for kids to enjoy. I thought it would be great to incorporate the Library into this week's Toddler School.

Tot School - Library Fun

Monday, November 30, 2015

Beginning Toddler School

Baby Jay has started Toddler School. She is 19 months old now. This is just our time to play together. With a part-time job, 4 kids, homeschooling, and all the other activities we do, it can be difficult to find one-on-one time with each of the kids. This is a great way for Baby Jay and I to have our time.  Are you thinking about beginning Toddler School with your little one? Here is what our first week looked like.

How We Began Toddler School

Beginning Toddler School

What to Do With Old Crayons???

I work part-time at our local library. I'm blessed enough to be our Children's Librarian. We have Story Time every week for preschoolers and young elementary home school kids like Jay. Once a year, we replace the used crayons with brand new ones. We wondered what to do with all the old ones. We decided to make new ones! Want to do this for yourself? Read on!

This is how I made new crayons out of old crayons.

Recycle Crayons

Friday, October 9, 2015

How to Host an Easy Tea Time Party for All Ages

After reading Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman, Jay, my first grader, wanted to have her own Tea Party. I thought it would be great to include all of my kids plus another family. The kids range in age from 18 months to 15 years old. There are 4 girls and 3 boys so I needed it to feel a little less girly. I called it a Tea Time Party to help with that. With 4 kids, a part time job, homeschooling, and starting a new church, I also needed it to be easy.

Hosting an Easy Tea Time Party for All Ages


How to Host an Easy Tea Time Party for All Ages

Jay made an invitation for the family that we wanted to invite. I drew a tea pot on construction paper. She cut it out and glued it onto another piece of construction paper that was folded like a card. She wrote the invitation message inside and the names on the outside. Very easy. She really enjoyed making it.

We started with food because what's the point of a party without food, right? I bought a dozen donuts and cut them into four pieces. I also bought Little Debbie Marshmallow Treats and a package of Butter Cookies. My friend, the other Mom, made Pigs in a Blanket (they were very yummy!). 

Now for the tea. I ran a pot of hot water in the coffee pot. We had regular tea bags and Apples and Cinnamon Tea Bags. We steeped the flavor of tea bag we wanted in a cup, added sugar, creamer, pumpkin pie spice, or cinnamon, then some cold water from the refrigerator. We also had orange juice or grape juice if anyone preferred them over tea. 

I bought clear Chinet plates, Chinet napkins, and Dixie Plastic Cutlery. This was an easy and fairly inexpensive way to be "fancy" and kid-friendly at the same time.

For our Tea Time Party activities we played board games and the kids took turns playing the Wii. We all had a great time! 

For more Tea Party ideas check out my Pinterest Board It's Tea Time!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Peppermint Foot Soak

Do your feet ever get tired, achy, and hot? Lately, that's what I've been dealing with. I decided to do some research on a good foot soak recipe. I found a great recipe for a

 Peppermint Foot Soak.

Peppermint Foot Soak Recipe

It just so happens that I have Peppermint growing in my garden! I also have a Dr. Scholl's Foot Spa, like the one pictured below.

Peppermint Foot Soak Recipe

4 teaspoons dried peppermint leaves
2 cups Epsom salt

Add 1 teaspoon of mixture to warm water.

I picked about two handfuls of peppermint leaves, washed, and wiped off the excess water. I then dried them in the oven on the lowest setting for about 30 minutes. When cooled, I removed the leaves from the stem and powdered them with a wheat grinder. You could probably do this by hand or with a blender or food processor. You can also use Peppermint Tea Bags. Each bag is 2 teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Making Art With Nature

Jay had the best idea the other day! She decided to make a craft with items she found outside. With a stick, leaves, pebbles (and a little help from an adult with a glue gun) she made a butterfly. I think it could look like a dragonfly, too. Didn't she do a great job?

Making Art With Nature

Friday, August 28, 2015

15 Afternoon Snack Ideas

Even though we homeschool, my kids still really appreciate an afternoon snack. These would be great for after school snacks, too!

15 Afternoon Snack Ideas

Frosting and a Smile - S'more Snack Mix

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Jay's First Grade Curriculum

I have decided to pattern Jay's First Grade year after the Charlotte Mason Method of teaching. I'm still learning about Charlotte Mason, so I am by no means an expert. I thought I would share with you what my plans are for Jay this year.

First Grade Curriculum

For Social Studies, I found this Around the USA Study on Pinterest. I loved the idea, but wanted to do it a little differently. I will make a worksheet for each state that she can color. We will study one state a week in alphabetical order.

I found a book at our Library, The Big Book of America by Roger Hicks, that gives a brief overview of each state. It's in color so Jay will know what each item looks like for her worksheet/coloring page. I also checked out a book that listed recipes from each state that we can try. We will read a book about someone who is from our state-of-the-week as well. For Alabama, we will read Helen's Big World by Doreen Rappaport about Helen Keller.

For extra Language Arts, Tara at Embark on the Journey is working on 31 Days of Read-Alouds. I LOVE this! We will do one book a week. I will check it out from the library, print out the activity sheets that I'm interested in, and do a couple of activities that go along with the book. For example, our first week we are reading Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. She will do some of the activity sheets, we will make Blueberry Muffins, and make Blueberry Art with a potato.

For Science, we are beginning with the Outdoor Nature Challenge.

Each day, Jay will do a lesson in Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, a few math pages from the Houghton Grade 1 Math Workbook, and Scripture Copy Work for handwriting. We will read in her Picture Bible and work on scripture memorization as well.

We will also be working on the Little Helpers at Home book so that she can receive her award pins each month. This month she is working on the Dishwashing pin and the Baking pin.

This was our first week back to school and Jay LOVED it! 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Farm Updates

This is just a small update about the farming side of our life. The Hubby has done a great job on the garden. These are a few pictures.

White Scalloped Squash

Green Pepper

Okra Plants

Today's harvest

Below is a picture of our newest baby rabbits. The picture is slightly blurry because they are like little jumping beans in the nest box. They are about 3 days old here. Hairless and wrinkly, aren't they? In just 2 weeks they will have all their fur and their eyes and ears will be open. These guys are going to be cute!

Baby Rabbits

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

6 Tips for Camping with a One Year Old

Our family loves to camp. We are not hardcore campers, though. I'm not big on having the little ones out there in the extreme heat/cold or storms. We've decided to go again when the weather cools off here a little bit. We've had a heat index of 100 degrees or more for the last few weeks. 

This year we will have a 15 month old with us. I've been searching Pinterest for some tips to make things easier. I thought I would share with you some of the ideas that I'm going to try. After our trip, I will let you know whether they were a success or failure.

6 Tips for Camping With a 1 Year Old

6 Tips for Camping with a 1 Year Old

1) A tent to sleep in and a tent for the little ones to play in. Extra bugs and dirt can go in the play tent and stay out of the big one.

2) A Sound Machine to help everyone sleep.

3) A Baby Carrier that can also carry baby on back or hip for hiking trips.

4) Some kind of bug repellent is a MUST. I don't really want to put any bug spray or bug lotion on the littlest one, though. I would like to try these stickers.

Creamy Baby Oil also works wonders against mosquitoes. I'm not sure about ticks.

5) I love the idea of using Johnson's Baby Head-to-Toe Disposable Washcloths to give the little ones a bath before bed so they will sleep better.

6) The Pack and Play will be another good place for the littlest one to play so that I don't have to worry about her walking into the fire or something while I'm busy.

For more camping tips, check out my Camping Pinterest Board. Let me know if you've got any good tips for camping with a one year old.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Perfect Southern Biscuits

My husband and I LOVE large buttery biscuits! No matter how hard I tried to make them, I could never find the perfect recipe. Until the day that I did! I modified that recipe, of course. I thought I would share with you how I made them. Let me know if you love them as much as we do!

How to Make Perfect Southern Biscuits

Perfect Southern Biscuits Recipe

Add Self-Rising Flour to a mixing bowl. Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form. (The pastry blender makes life SO much easier!)

Blending butter and flour.
Blending butter and flour.

Add milk. Using a fork, stir until just moistened. Turn out onto a floured surface.

Dough ready to roll out.
Dough ready to roll out.

Lightly knead the dough with floured hands for about 30 seconds or until nearly smooth. Roll dough to 3/4 inch thickness.

Dough 3/4 inch thick.
Dough 3/4 inch thick.

I like to use an old soup can with holes cut into the bottom to cut out 12 biscuits. Place on a greased cooking sheet with sides touching.

Biscuits ready to bake.
Biscuits ready to bake.

Bake at 475 degrees for 13 minutes or until golden brown.

Golden Perfect Southern Biscuits
Golden Perfect Southern Biscuits

Spread butter on top and serve warm. My husband loves his biscuits with honey.

Warm biscuit served with honey
Warm biscuit served with honey

To print this recipe, pop-out the image below.

Monday, July 6, 2015

It's Time to Can Peaches!

My friend Kaity and I canned peaches for the first time this weekend. Things like this are definitely more fun to do with a friend! Since we had never canned peaches before we needed a little help. We found some awesome instructions on this post

How to Can Peaches

How to Can Peaches

Ingredients Needed:

Fruit Fresh

Equipment Needed:

Water Bath Canner
Jars, Rings, New Lids
Jar Lifter
Magnetic Lid Lifter

How we did it:

We had 3 boxes of peaches that were each a 1/2 bushel. We decided to can them in three batches. This worked well for us, but it took ALL day long. Good thing we were having fun, right?

1/2 Bushel of Peaches
1/2 Bushel of Peaches

Begin by washing the peaches.

Washing Peaches in the Sink
Washing Peaches

The peaches were then peeled, quartered, and pits removed. Use Fresh Fruit to keep them looking nice because this process takes a while.

Peaches peeled and quartered
Peaches ready for the jar

The water in the Water Bath Canner was heating during this process.

Water Bath Canner Heating on the Stove
Water Bath Canner

The jars were washed and kept warm while the lids were in a little pot of simmering water. Then it was time to put in the peaches and the hot water before placing them in the Water Bath Canner. (Make sure to wipe off the jar rims before placing the lids on.) Process pint sized jars for 25 minutes and quart sized jars for 30 minutes. Remove the jars and place them on a towel to cool. 

Canned peaches cooling on a towel
Canned peaches cooling on a towel

Let me know how your canning process is different than mine!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tips to Keep Your Family Safe in the Sun

Summer may not be officially here yet, but it has been over 90 degrees every day this week. Feels like summer to me! Which reminded me of how important it is to keep our children safe from the harmful effects of the sun. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one blistering burn as a child more than doubles the risk of skin cancer in adulthood. I have seen the effects of skin cancer on my Father-in-Law. I do NOT want that future for my children. 

Here are tips to keep your family safe from the sun this summer.

Tips to Keep Your Family Safe in the Sun

1) Sunblock - use a broad spectrum sunblock with at least an SPF of 15. Apply 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every 2 hours or sooner if swimming or sweating.
2) Avoid going outside or stay in the shade between the hours of 10am and 4pm when the sun is hottest.
3) Take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors during other times of the day.
4) Wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and hats.

These tips will greatly reduce the risk of skin cancer due to sun exposure. Your children will thank you one day.

For more tips, check out these two websites:

How to Keep Your Baby Safe in the Sun by babycenter.com
How to Be Safe When You're in the Sun by kidshealth.org

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Get Home Bag

Last week, I wrote about 20 items to keep in your vehicle in case of emergencies. You can read that post here. I mentioned a Get Home Bag (GHB) as one of those items. I thought I would go into more detail about what that is and why it is useful.

Get Home Bag

What is a Get Home Bag?

 A Get Home Bag (GHB) is a bag with all the supplies that you will need to get back home.

Why might you need a Get Home Bag? 

Natural disasters, weather related emergencies, or even terrorist attacks are some examples of when you might need to use your GHB.

How much to put in your Get Home Bag?

I like to have supplies that will last for at least 24 hours in my bag. The farthest I usually drive is 25 to 30 miles away from home. If I could walk 20 minutes per mile it would take 8 and a 1/2 hours to walk home if I walked steadily and did not take breaks. I will most likely have little ones with me, will have to walk off-road, and over hills.....we will have to take breaks! Therefore, we will be prepared to spend the night outside.

What kind of bag should you use as a Get Home Bag?

Get Home Bag
Lightweight, Water-Resistant Hiking Backpack

There are several different styles of bags that you could use as a GHB. I like to use a backpack (like the one above), but you could use a messenger bag, a large hand bag, or a 5.11 PUSH Pack. It's important that your GHB look normal. You don't want to stand out in the crowd. Someone who is not as prepared as you might realize that you have supplies that they want.

What should you put in your Get Home Bag?

Your GHB should be lightweight. Keep it under 15 pounds. With that said, here is a list of items that I like to keep in my GHB.

1) Emergency Tube Tent: this will keep you off the ground and out of the rain, wind, or snow.
2) Emergency Sleeping Bag: in addition to the tent, you will be warm and dry.
3) 550 Paracord: there are so many uses for cordage!
4) LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: you can stick this into a puddle, pond, or creek and drink without getting sick. Much smaller and lighter than water bottles.
5) 400 Calorie Food Bars: these are not what you want to snack on, but they will give you the energy you need to get home. Rotate these so that they do not expire.
6) Weather Appropriate Change of Clothes: these should be replaced twice a year. Extra pair of socks. Hat and gloves for the winter.
7) First Aid Kit: Homemade (be sure to include Moleskin - works wonders for blisters) or one like the Ultralight Adventure Medical Kit.
8) Knife: I like the Smith and Wesson Search and Rescue Fixed Blade Knife - this can be used for protection as well as cutting rope or anything else that needs cutting. This weighs a little over a pound, but can be multipurpose.
9) Protection - if you carry a gun, it should not be in your GHB, although you could include extra ammunition. You might put pepper spray or a tazer in your GHB.
10) At least 2 ways to start fire: I prefer a lighter and water-proof matches with Vaseline soaked cotton balls.
11) Flashlight with extra batteries. I like the small LED flashlights.
12) Map and Compass - you should also learn how to use these if you don't already know.
13) Multitool: these have pliers, knives, a can opener, and a bottle opener. Very handy tool to have!
14) Hand wipes and hand sanitizer.
15) Chapstick with SPF

Click here for a printable Basic Get Home Bag Pack List from Stephanie Dayle at American Preppers Network.

Each member of your family needs their own GHB (if they are old enough to carry one). I have two little ones so I will carry their food and clothes in my bag and they will share my tent and sleeping bag. This is something I hope we never have to use, but like I said last week: it's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. If you have any comments or suggestions, please don't hesitate to add them!

For more information check out these blog posts:
American Preppers Network's Get Home Bags for Everyday People. Why You Need One.
Tactical Intelligence.Net's Get-Home Bag.
The Prepper Journal's Prepping 101 - Get Home Bag

Sunday, May 24, 2015

20 Items to Keep in Your Vehicle for Emergencies

I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of time in my vehicle. I take the kids to their grand parents' while I'm at work, to the doctor, the dentist, to homeschool events, and to hang out with friends. I go to the grocery store, to my own doctor, to pay bills, etc. As a family, we go on field trips and vacations. You get the picture. I know I'm not alone in all this traveling. You do it, too. There are certain items that we should always keep in our vehicle "just in case." We hope to never have to use them, but it would be better to have them and not need them rather than need them and not have them.  

Here is a list of 20 items that the Hubby and I decided would be best to keep in my vehicle. 


Comment below if you have any other suggestions!

20 Items to Keep in Your Vehicle for Emergencies

Monday, May 11, 2015

Spring Cleaning Part 3 - The Bathroom

This is the next part in my Spring Cleaning Series. Click here for the Kitchen Checklist and here for the Living Room Checklist.

Spring Cleaning the Bathroom Checklist

We have only one small bathroom in our house for six people. I would love to have another bathroom, but one positive is that I only have one to worry about cleaning. Organization is a necessity with tight spaces. (We are not the most organized people on the planet.) We do try, though.

1) Empty, clean, and reorganize the linen closet. This closet holds towels, sheet sets, trash bags, cleaning supplies, extra shampoo and soap, razors, tooth paste, tooth brushes, etc. At this time, it's a good idea to throw out expired products, things we will never use, and empty packages (it never fails that there will be an empty package for light bulbs in there). After all that stuff is gone, it is easy to reorganize the shelves. They never stay that way for long, but I can only imagine how bad it would get if I never did this. I do the same thing with the under-the-sink cabinet and the over-the-toilet cabinet.

2) Remove items from shelves, clean, and reorganize. It's Kat's job to clean the bathroom every week. She does a really good job, but clutter still manages to accumulate on the shelves of the over-the-toilet cabinet. This is a great time to declutter, clean, and reorganize.

3) Wash the walls and dust anything on them. With a small bathroom, I don't have a great deal of space for items to hang on the walls, but I know that others do. This type of dusting is more in depth than the weekly dusting things get. Things need to be removed and wiped down with a soft cloth before replacing them.

4) Clean mirror. We use Windex and paper towels to clean our mirrors. Others like to use vinegar and newspaper. I've read of some using coffee-filter papers to clean mirrors because it won't leave anything behind. An interesting tip I read in "How Clean is Your House?" by Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie is to rub a little shaving foam all over the mirror and wipe off. Supposedly, the mirror won't steam up next time. I might give this a try!

5) Clean sink and fixtures. Again, these are cleaned every week, but this is a great time to work on built up limescale that has been ignored. You can use lemon juice to remove this from non plated faucets. Just rub on, leave for a few minutes and then remove thoroughly. (This is also from "How Clean is Your House?")

6) Clean toilet inside and out. Work on those hard to reach places that sometimes get overlooked. (Especially by teenage daughters ready to get done.)

7) Remove, wash, and replace shower curtains. Plastic liners can be washed in the washing machine. Just hang them back up in the shower wet. I like to wash and dry my cloth liner with my towels.

8) Clean tub and fixtures. You can use the same method for limescale in the bathroom as you can in the kitchen. I like to use Tilex to help fight the mildew. Ugh!

9) Sweep and mop floors. After everything else has been washed there will be dust and debris that has fallen to the floor. The last thing to do is sweep or vacuum it up and then mop with a good sanitizing mop solution. I really like Mr. Clean Liquid Muscle with Febreeze. It smells wonderful!!!!

I wish you good luck with your Spring Cleaning! I am beginning to think I won't be done with mine until Summer, but better late than never, I guess. Hahaha! To print a PDF checklist for the bathroom, move your mouse over the picture below and then click on the square with the arrow in it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Free Printable Kindergarten Memories Book

Jay graduates Kindergarten in a few weeks. We will be participating in a ceremony with our Homeschool group. I'm really looking forward to it! While searching for cute graduation poems, I came across an idea that I couldn't pass up. A Kindergarten Memories book! How cute is that? I put together one for Jay to work on these next few weeks. I thought I would share. Let me know what you think!

Printable Kindergarten Memories Book

Click on the PDF below to print!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Toddler Lunch Ideas

Baby Jay had her first birthday in April. She has always been a "good eater". You know, one of those babies that will eat whatever you give them. She has really enjoyed the baby food pouches. (So have I!) I think it's time, though, to rely less on those pouches and more on foods that she can pick up and feed herself. Especially since she doesn't always want to eat them anymore. My goal is to give her a good healthy variety of foods so that she gets all the vitamins and other good stuff that she needs.

Toddler Lunch Ideas for My One Year Old

Toddler Lunch Ideas

I work part-time 5 days a week. I'm very blessed that I can take the kids to their grandparents' house rather than a Daycare. (Not to offend anyone that takes their children to a Daycare. We do what we have to do.) I like to send breakfast and lunch for them so that it's not a hardship on their grandparents to feed them. They do provide the snacks, though, because one of their favorite things to do is spoil the Grandkids with goodies.

I really enjoyed packing Baby Jay's first lunch last night! It's the little things in life, right?

Toddler Lunch Box
Baby Jay's First Packed Lunch

I put left over fajita chicken, cooked carrots, cheese stick, and cooked diced fruit (all cut into small pieces) into cute mini GladWare storage containers that have SpongeBob on them. Again...the little things...

Toddler Lunch Cups
Toddler Lunch Cups

In the future, I plan on sending mini sandwiches made with peanut butter and jelly, tuna salad, chicken salad, and egg salad. She likes lunch meat cut into small bites, soft vegetables and fruits, and goldfish. I will send any leftovers that are appropriate for her age. She obviously couldn't eat a fajita, but she could eat some of the chicken. The other night she enjoyed Cheesy Spaghetti Squash with us. (Spaghetti made with spaghetti squash instead of noodles with mozzarella cheese melted on top).  There are so many ideas for us out there.

Here are a few links that I found helpful:

Chaos and the Kitchen: 100 Finger Foods for Infants
The Eyes of a Boy: Quick & Healthy Toddler Meal & Snack Ideas
The Culinary Couple: Eating with a Purpose

For more ideas check out my Pinterest board Toddler Meals.

If you have any ideas please share!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...