Friday, July 27, 2012

Review - SchoolhouseTeachers

I had no idea what to expect when I logged in to and I was shocked at all the goodies I found on this little site. I knew there were going to be planners, and I was checking back daily as I waited for them to be available, but I just wasn't sure what else to expect. is a subscription based site offered by This Old Schoolhouse magazine for only $5.95 a month. There is a variety of content on the site, including themed lessons by professionals, simple daily activities in most any subject, reading lists and arts and crafts ideas just to name a few.  As a member, you also get a digital copy of This Old Schoolhouse each month and can search through past issues too. They have daily, weekly, and monthly lesson plans that you can tweak to fit your family's goals. The site itself is very simple, but the information totally makes up for that. There are month-long courses on film making, many different copybooks and lapbooks and so much more and all are compiled by some of the biggest names in home educating. Pretty cool.

The more I looked around, the more I found. One of my personal favorite spots is the "Schoolhouse Dailies".  When we have a free 5 minutes, I have been clicking on there and grabbing a quick lesson on grammar, math, or researching something that happened on this day in history. One day, I was putting on makeup and pulled the site up on my ipad and taught P a lesson on contractions before she even knew she was learning ;) I love having little quick ideas at my fingertips for moments like that. How many of you knew that "Take me Out to the Ballgame" was written in 15 minutes on a train ride in 1908? Well, now you do :) They just put a new one up there with quick daily lessons on the Olympics that we are enjoying! There is even a monthly menu posted - what more could you want?

Oh, you want planners? They've got planners. People wait for these planners for months and now I know why. Over 800 pages of fully customizable and printable pages - oh my. I always have a hard time finding the "perfect" planner for the kids and now I have the ability to customize them for each child. I am so excited! C is starting Challenge so needs a little different layout than the younger two that are still doing normal elementary work. I have had fun filling them in, printing them out and adding them to my old binder. I loved all the extra things included in the planner files too, from story starters to a list of parables in the Bible. 

In my opinion, every homeschooler can find something here that benefits them. They claim that you could get your entire curriculum for all ages from this site, and they are probably right, however I'm only using it as supplement. The first month's subscription is only $1 so you don't have much to lose to try it out. If you try it, let me know what you think. I'm betting you will like it!

Click the banner below to see what other Crew members thought of this site.


Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Playing dress-up

Big Daddy took the boys out tonight to "Do Love" with the youth group, which left me and P home alone. I did some work. She watched some Strawberry Shortcake. We added mulch to the flower beds and watered. Then....I asked her what she wanted to do and she said "play with you, Mom." I am admittedly not a very good "player" but I suggested "how about a makeover?" and she was t-h-r-i-l-l-e-d.

I made her up and did what I could with her hair that has been slept on wet so worn in piggy-buns to church today. She asked if I had any prom dresses. Lol. I gave all those away before I had a girl to play in them...but I had my bridesmaids dress from my sister's wedding a few years ago.

So off we went....

"How do you walk in these things?"

One of her favorite past times is looking at herself in the TV reflection.

Time for a pedicure!

Always one in the bunch!

I said, "I can't see your eyes." She said, "Can you now?"

Fun night with my girl!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer of 7 continues...

During possessions week, my sister and her family were here so while we did have good intentions, and we did give away a ton of stuff, we continued the "possessions" week last week as well as doing our "media" week.

Since I gave up blogs as part of this week, I wasn't able to update until now. Wow. What a week. In short...all last week, our family fasted from:
  • Facebook
  • Netflix
  • iPods
  • iPad
  • Ds(s)
  • Wii
  • TV
  • Internet that isn't related to work
  • Blogs
pretty much all that was left was to sit in a tree

I'm kidding. But the kids did spend about 1/2 the week in this tree. They have a "shelf" up there and ate, read, played, and spied on the neighbors from there all week.

It was a-w-e-s-o-m-e. Ok, it ended awesome. The first two days, I was I didn't know what to do with myself. The kids didn't either. They read books. Lots of books. They learned to play Solitaire. With actual cards. (Previously, they could play on a computer or DS but to actually have to know how to play, that was all new to them. And they loved it.) We played cards as a family and just enjoyed the time together. It was great.

The first night, we went to be early....and slept. Lol. Normally, if we go to bed early, we turn on Netflix and attempt to find something decent to watch (we don't have cable) and settle on something to veg on. Instead we went to bed early...which made me wake up at 5am. I laid there praying and asking God what he wants me to learn this week. And when he didn't answer in 3 seconds, I asked again. Then He slapped me with "wait". Hmm....I'm not big on sitting around and waiting. I'm not used to it. My kids aren't used to it. If they ask me something and I don't know, they just tell me to look it up. Why "wait" and figure anything out on our own? But what else did I have to do last I laid there.....and waited. I had a great praise and worship time in my head that morning, and every other morning. And by Saturday, we had decided to sell our house. Really.

Since I could use the computer for work only, I got a ton of work done. Amazing what you can get done when you aren't wasting time reading what your friends had for dinner or wish they had for dinner. The world didn't stop spinning because the kids some something hilarious and I only got to share it with Troy. Believe it or not, I'm quite sure no one would have even noticed we weren't on FB if I hadn't bid them farewell ;) What is funny, after the first 2 days of wondering what to do with my time, I didn't miss the distraction.  It was actually really nice to slow down and wait. For dinner, I used a *gasp* cookbook, instead of google to find my recipe. I'm very pleased with how this week went like all the other weeks, there are definitely things that will carry over into the next weeks. Aspects of the fast that we need to make be permanent changes in our family.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Book Samaritan

Today, in our Summer of 7, we focused on books. I have been blessed to have been given a lot of homeschool curriculum both from my sister and from another family who is finishing up their homeschool journey soon. We loved looking through it and choosing the things that would work for our family and I've been hanging on to the rest, waiting for the right people to pass them along to. We also had a lot of books that we have finished up with that we needed to pass on to others, as well as tons of things I found from when I used to teach public school. Yikes. I found several crates of books and school things that I had forgotten about when we cleaned for our garage sale last month.

So, today, my sister and I loaded up the entire back of the minivan and still had one huge box that had to go in the front and headed north to Pawhuska, OK. Why Pawhuska you ask? Let me just tell you. There is an amazing ministry there called The Book Samaritan that I knew would put our books to good use. Per their website, "The Book Samaritan is a non profit organization that supplies homeschool materials to families the are unable to afford them." It is truly amazing the number of families they are able to bless each year. It is expensive to homeschool. No question. Add in lost jobs, illnesses, etc and it is enough to have some people sending their kids to public school out of sheer necessity.  The Book Samaritan receives letters from people that need help and does their best to fill the "orders" with curriculum that will meet their academic needs.

One of our friends, DT, lives in Pawhuska and introduced us to The Book Samaritan and it was an honor to get to help a little today. And I mean a little! The three of us spent two hours filling orders and got maybe 4 or 5 filled. It is HARD and gave me a huge respect and appreciation for all the work they do day in and day out. It was so fun to use some of the books I brought up there and send them right back out to people. As we worked, we prayed for the people we were filling books for and that God would guide us in choosing the right books for their needs. It was a great afternoon.

I told my sister I would "reward" her for working with me today by "letting" her be in my blog. HAHAHA. Quite the honor, right? Y'all give her some props for being a good sport about my whims. It was fun to hang out and get to serve together. I'm looking forward to doing it again soon!

Look at her...she is "as handy as a pocket in a shirt" sitting there organizing those books!

Money to burn

I took the kids out to "do love" this morning and love that they don't question my craziness, but just suck it up and do it. Some with a smile, some without, but hopefully they all saw the value in what we did in serving others.

On the way to and from our destination, we passed approximately 9 million fireworks stands. Ugh. I really, really, really hate buying fireworks. To me, it is just about the equivalent of actually lighting our money on fire. But I know they LOVE them so I sucked it up (seeing a sucking it up theme in our family?) and stopped. I only took $10 up with me. That's it. I told the guy helping us that we had $10 to spend and that is it and he was so kind to help, and add and re-add so we got right to our budget. The kids did a good job of getting the things they wanted and not asking for any more. I was impressed.

So we get up there to pay and it was $10.54 and T says, "Will we have to eat sandwiches all week?" Haha. I had taken the money out of grocery envelope, just because that was the only one I had with me. I'll reimburse it with some entertainment money but still, in the big scheme of things, it was only $10. I think the guy must have felt sorry for me b/c he quickly paid the extra $0.54 so we didn't go over budget. Lol.

Ironic that in a week of possessions, we buy completely disposable possessions. Here is what burning $10 looks like, minus one thing that we already did. Sickening!

On that note, off to take WAY more than 7 things to deliver them. I'll update on that later :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer of 7: Clothes/Possessions

Yesterday was the end of week 2 of our Summer of 7. This was our clothes week. Each of us chose 7 articles of clothes (not including undies!) to wear for the week. The kids each chose 1 swimsuit, 2 shorts/skirt, 3 shirts, and a pair of shoes. I chose 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of capris, flip flops, and 3 shirts (one for church/work, one T-Shirt for cleaning and sleeping, and one just normal shirt). That was just 6 but I didn't need a 7th so on Saturday, I wore earrings, which in hind sight, I should have picked on Sunday and worn all week. {That was the hardest thing for me - not wearing earrings.} Big Daddy even joined in choosing one t-shirt and shorts to wear every night when he got home from work, shoes (he got 2 for 1 on shoes since he was working), jeans that he wore every day to work and 3 polos that he rotated. He said he would rather swim in undies than waste one on his suit ;)

This was actually easy week for us. Even the kids commented on how easy it was to not have to think about what you are going to wear. You just get up and put on the one clean shirt and the other shorts. One of my kids, (I won't name names), thought we would just wear the same outfit all week and was disappointed when I told him he had to wear clean clothes every day, just the same clean clothes every other day.

On Saturday at dinner, we talked about what we had learned. While we didn't have any great spiritual revelations, we did get a few life lessons. Such as:

  • It is totally OK to sleep in the same pjs for a week. No one died or got scurvy because they didn't have new pjs each night.
  • As a result, laundry was next to nothing. Big Daddy didn't have to spend all day Saturday doing laundry, which was an added bonus for him and us. I kept it up all week...because I had to. And each load I did was  "small" instead of "super". 
  • The time and frustrating saved by not having to pick out clothes, come show me, get sent back up stairs to find something that fit/matched/wasn't stained/etc, made our mornings a breeze. No one was mad at me for not letting them wear their favorite shirt that fit perfectly...last year. It was lovely. You put on what was there. Period.
  • We realized how blessed we are. It was fine to wear essentially the same two outfits for a week, but what if that is all we had. Two weeks. Two months. It would get old fast! I got tired of seeing me in blue. We are blessed.
Clothes a good week to lead into week 3: Possessions. Oh man. Have we got the possessions. We moved from a 1450 square foot house to a 2400 square foot one and thought we would never be able to fill all this room. 8 years later and we are tripping over our stuff. Like Madame Blueberry, our house is so stuffed full of stuff that we can barely breathe. And yet we keep going to "StuffMart" (or is more like it for me) and getting more stuff. I'm sick of it!

So this week, from today until Saturday, each of us will give away 7 items. I would love to be able to actually give those to people that need them, and not to Goodwill so I'm working on that. I have one road trip in store for this adventure to share our overflow with others and am keeping my eyes and ears open to needs we can meet. Looking forward to paring down a bit and making more room for God and ministry. It is hard to have an "open door" home when we have to clear the "stuff" off the couch to even let people come in and visit. I would love to have a home that people feel free to drop by...I don't have that home right now. How many ministry opportunities am I missing by being buried under stuff?

I am so pleased that all my family is participating in each week with me. I know that God has His hand on this as I haven't met with resistance where I feared I would. I'm excited to see how He will work through all of this to bring us closer to each other and closer to Him. I'll gladly take your prayers as we begin week 3.