Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Works for Me Wednesday: Flashcards Gone Haywire

As a homeschooler, I've collected various manipulatives for the children.  I often forget about what I have collected because I've not had a great way to store things.

I've started going through and working on a better storage place for many of our things. 

As I was starting to work on things, I was faced with our flashcard bucket.  It's an old icecream bucket but we simply had too many flashcard sets to make them fit nicely.  The lid is long gone.  And some of the boxes were showing serious wear and tear.  (The Target dollar spot is an excellent place to find flashcards if you are looking for them.  The other place I check is the Dollar Tree.)  One set is homemade.

Enter Pinterest.

I found these index card holders on clearance at Walmart.  (Yes! Clearance in August!  Public school hasn't even started here, yet!)  They were .50 each.  There were several colors but I bought black because I figured if I needed to add more boxes, I could probably always find some black ones. 

Then I walked to their storage area and looking for a container to neatly hold the index card boxes that also allowed me to see the labels I planned to put on the spines. 

Then while watching TV, I took out my trusty label maker and went to town.  Now I can see them all!

Here are the boxes. I nearly have enough flashcards to fill two boxes.

(Love the photobomb courtesy of Julianne? LOL!)

 I'm on the hunt for a money flashcard set, possibly some more geography based ones, and periodic table/element set.  I am still looking for our sight words cards. 


Works for me!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Prayer Hands Keepsake

I try to pray for my children before my feet hit the floor in the morning and as the very last thing I do at night.  I pray periodically during the day depending what is going on.

But, recently, my little guys have awoken before I have which has messed up my rhythm.  And I'm dragging myself to bed after falling asleep reading my textbooks.  Sometimes my prayers are a cop out.

"Dear Lord, please let them listen tomorrow! Amen!" 

I want to be better than that.  I want to prayer powerful, insightful thoughts.

Enter cheat sheet time. 

Thinking back to my Pinterest account, I remembered this link and decided to put it to use.  Who knew you could actually DO the projects you pin?  Ha.

For this project, I used a pad of scrapbook paper and what I grew up calling a "brad."  The proper name is apparently "brass fastener."  Who knew?


I looked through the pad of papers and chose girly ones for the girls in "their colors" and boyish looking ones in "their colors."

We do a fair amount of color coding.

Lainey is pink, Julianne is purple, Xander is blue, Solomon is green, Isaiah is yellow.

Then I traced their little hands onto the paper.  Isaiah was sleeping, so I skipped him.  I can add him in later.

It is okay if they aren't perfect.  You can fudge it later. LOL

I cut them all out.  Yes, Solomon does have short stubby fingers like that. 

And stacked them up.

And poked a brass fasterner through.

You can fan them open and look at their hand sizes.

I wrote prayers for each of the children on each finger.  Five things to remember to pray for are on the white side of the paper.  Some of them are sensitive in nature, so I'm not going to show you those.  

I can't wait to put these in practice.

I plan to make more in the future years and then I can compare their hands to the previous one.

What's that?  A double duty project?  Works for me! 


Monday, August 19, 2013

A Simple Beautification Project

So one of my quirks is that I really, really, really like clear counters in my kitchen.  It calms me when the chaos of life is removed from the horizontal surfaces in our home. 

Since we don't have a pantry in this home, it has been a challenge to keep the counters clear.  My cabinets are full and I really am a minimal kitchen tool girl.  I don't like a zillion small gadgets that all have to be cared for and stored.

Let's face it.  I have five little people that have to be cared for.  Most of the time I can find some replacement tool to work in a pinch and do double duty.  So no, I don't have an egg slicer, a lemon zester or a food processor (among other things.)  We cook and eat just fine without them.

I also had to move around some things to make better sense and save steps in the kitchen.  Steps=time.  And we all know about how much of that I have. 

Once I reorganized our kitchen, I wanted to make it pretty.

I've been storing our kitchen utensils (spatulas, tongs, ladle, metal spoons, etc) in a large metal can.  I think it is a 5lb tomato sauce can.  Yeah... we roll like that.  I know you are jealous.

I've always intended to do something to it to make it prettier.  But quite frankly, function is valued over aesthetics in my eyes.  It worked and until now that is all that has mattered.

But enter Pinterest.  I saw this pin and knew how I could make it prettier and still leave the functionality.

So I put the items on my list and gathered them on my next shopping trip.

I found the sisal rope in the home improvement section of my local Walmart.  (Don't judge, I was running in with four kids while Brandon had an appointment with Xander in the office park next door. HA I much prefer Tar-jay.)  It was less than $5 and for this project I used about half.

Here is the said can that needed some pretty all over it.  Don't you just love my 80's backsplash?  It has gold glitter flakes in it and is busted underneath the microwave.  I know you are jealous. Bleh.  It is on the Hit List, along with those grungy electrical outlets.

I started at the top.  I put a little bead of hot glue and then laid down the rope.  Folks, this isn't rocket science.  I am NOT crafty. LOL

And then I kept going and ended up with this.  I gave the rope a little hair cut because there were little pieces sticking out everywhere and it bugged me.  I have a fair amount of OCD in this brain.  No shame in admitting that.  I also most likely have a bit of ADD. So not every hair was trimmed.

Seriously, this a 10 minute project. I had to stop to referee the heinous crime of someone's block tower being knocked over.  The rope could have been closer together in some areas, but as the artist I'm going to claim that is "character."  See what I learned from all of my artsy fartsy friends? 

It is much better than what I started out with.

Bam.  A tiny project knocked off of my list.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Keepin' It Real

I've always been a keepin' it real kinda girl.  Don't sugarcoat things for me.  Don't tell me that things are all sunshine and roses and that flowers and unicorns.  As Brandon says, don't set me up for the "okiedoke."

This life is messy.  And at times hard.

That has never discouraged me.

I typically rise to the challenge.  But there are days that I look at things and want to say, "HOLY MOLY OLY!  What have I gotten myself into?"

I submit Exhibit A:

That is my homeschool planner.... and ONLY has our school lessons and medical appointments in it.



Monday was HORRIFIC.  I battled for FOUR hours to get 22 problems completed. Then I got a migraine. Brandon called that afternoon and I had to fight tears to talk to him.  I finally caved and stopped school, turned on the tv for my heathens... I mean children, and went upstairs to take a hot bath... that turned out lukewarm.  So I went into our office and shut the door to take my aggression out on a box of unsharpened pencils... and gave myself a blister because OF COURSE my electric pencil sharpener was broken and no one told me and I thought I'd sharpen a box of pencils with a handheld manual sharpener.

Smooth move, Steph!

Brandon had an equally terrible day at the office but showed up at approximately 6:30 with gyros from our favorite Greek restaurant in hand.  I tagged out, stuffed my face and went upstairs to bed.

Love that man.

Tuesday was MUCH better.  I woke up with a renewed spirit, my students woke up eager to learn and we knocked out over a day's worth of work.

Wednesday morning, I woke up a bit nervous.  Xander had speech that afternoon, which meant that we were going  to lose 2 hours of homeschooling time and we were meeting his new therapist.  I packed what we could and off we went.

The day wasn't as productive as the day before, but it wasn't a total loss either.  Part of the issue is that the girls had completed a good portion of their seatwork and we needed a computer to finish the rest.  Lesson learned.  I'll more carefully manage their mornings on therapy days.

In the next few weeks, we add another weekly therapy for Xander.  He'll have two hours of therapy a week that will cause us to lose four hours of HOMEschool time.  The girls have dubbed those hours as "ROADschool."  I'm sure we will find a routine soon.  And now that I think about it, this method of ramping up has worked out in our favor.  Maybe I'll put it in my notes to "ramp up" next year too.

Then came Wednesday night when we checked into our university and print the schedules and syllabi.

I shouldn't have done it so late at night when I was already fading fast.   I had just gone to the gym for a 2 hour work out and watched Big Brother so I was a little spent.

To say it plainly, "Y'all... I may not be able to check in again until October!"

I have a ton of work to complete over the next 8 weeks.  I'm taking three classes.  An Online Learning computer course (required), Developmental Psychology and Introduction to Substance Abuse.  I'm excited to finally get into classes for my major, but this is not a online degree mill and therefore a ton is expected.

I'm glad we knocked out some house projects because that will come to a screeching halt and instead our time will be filled with completing assignments, writing papers and studying.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh did I forget to mention that?  Brandon is also returning to school.  Although he is only taking two classes to my three, I do not envy him.  He is in my Online Learning class and he is taking statistics.


Lord, help us.  

If you think about us, pray for us.  I'm not really sure what we've gotten ourselves into.

This too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall pass. 


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Year Uno

Happy first birthday, Isaiah!  I'm so excited to celebrate your first birthday!  You, my sweet boy, are exactly what our family needed to heal.  I'm so glad that we were blessed with you!  God knew what we needed best!

You can light up a room with a flash of a smile.  Your laugh cuts through tense moments immediately. 

I love how you are so studious and watch your siblings so carefully.  You are studying their every move.

Nighttime is still my favorite though.  You *still* hum in your sleep, just like you did the day you were born.  You usually sleep on your tummy with your tush in the air.  Sometimes you rub the back of your head with your hand until you fall asleep. 

Your eyes squint just like mine when you smile or laugh.  And so far everyone says that you look like me.  My usual response is that it *only* took five.  Tee hee!

Sweet boy, you have been prayed for by many.  I can't wait to see how you change over the next year and all of the other years you have in your future. Know that Daddy and I only want the best for you.  We are your soft place to land and always will be.  

Love you to the moon and back, times infinity,