Thursday, March 27, 2014

9 Valuable Things I Brought Home From Nashville (besides my family, of course)

Nashville style : )

Our family took a little road trip to Nashville this past weekend for the Teach Them Diligently (homeschool/parenting) Convention. 

I have wanted to go to this convention for a few years and this year it was a bit easier for us to go as we no longer have a nursing baby : ( and our toddlers are a bit more independent from mommy.

It was a great encouragement for my husband and I and quality time with our two oldest daughters. I am so grateful that it worked out and both sets of grandparents were willing to care for our two youngest daughters.

We sat through various sessions for two entire days and were able to hear a lot of wisdom in the area of Christian parenting and home education.  There were a few things that stood out the most to me that I wanted to share:

"Your embarrassment is not worth your kids' resentment."  [Kids have great hypocracy detectors so don't correct them in public for what you've allowed them to do/be at home.]
- Hal & Melanie Young

"The problem is not diagnosing your child's learning style, it's the lack of prescription for it."  
-Carol Barnier

"The overflow of your heart will fill the corners of your home."  
- Amy Roberts

"If something works, do it again!"
-Carol Barnier

"10 questions are better than 1 answer." 
- Socrates, (quoted of course - he wasn't there LOL)

You cannot export what you don't grow at home.
-Ann Dunagan (Harvest Ministries)

"There's no Superwoman, only exhaustion."
-Crystal Paine,

"School is never out! It's not an educational choice, it's a lifestyle." 
-Hal & Melanie Young

The greatest reminder that I came home with was:

There is no perfect curriculum, schedule or formula for homeschooling your children.  
Each family is unique in their talents, learning styles, routine, needs, and priorities. Remember why we are doing this in the first place!

I highly recommend this convention to current homeschoolers and anyone who is considering it. There are so many benefits to attending a conference like this:
  • connecting with other homeschool families and being able to relate
  • viewing a large exhibit hall with displays from a variety of curriculum/publishers 
  • the opportunity to hear from some of my favorite bloggers/writers
  • hearing a variety of topics that touched on subjects ranging from practical, inspirational, motivational and spiritual advice

Have you been to this or a similar conference? What are your thoughts? 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Laundry System Makeover

With six people in the house, laundry seems to be never ending. We have some new systems that have made doing laundry a bit easier and more enjoyable (if that's possible). Our laundry room previously looked like a major explosion, which was quite discouraging for me in regards to wanting to conquer laundry mountain.

Thankfully, my right brained husband is awesome at looking for creative solutions to our my organizationally challenged systems.  Yes, I think I have a Pinterest husband ;)  That's just fine with this left brained girl.  I'd so rather do the bills, budget and teach the kids. 

He found these plans for an amazing laundry cabinet.  This way our laundry baskets are built up and save floor space in our long, but shallow laundry room.  

He purchased the baskets and the little chalkboard tags at Wal-Mart and used a paint marker to write the labels. 

We keep our recycle basket on top of the cabinet. (Please disregard the unfinished trim and paint in the background. We have a LOT of ongoing updates/projects in this house). Also, the cabinet is not leaning, that's my photography. : ))

This is the side panel of the cabinet.  He added trim for aesthetic purposes.  He also added wheels so we can move in order to sweep/mop and to take these pictures, I guess. 

 I wanted to add our homemade laundry powder since it's part of the "dealio". It's almost gone, so time to make some more. However, I will say that it lasts forrrrrrever.  It is much safer than most store bought detergents and much more economical. Yes, my hubby found and made this too. (I'm starting to wonder who should be at home full time?!) LOL Anyway, here's the recipe:

Homemade Laundry Powder

3 bars Fels Naptha Soap (grated)
4 lbs. 12 oz. Borax
4 lbs. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
55 oz. Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
3 lbs. Oxy Clean Free Powder
Optional: Purex Crystals

Mix all ingredients together.  We use an old protein powder scoop and only add about 1/4 of it to each wash cycle.  

I hope this brings a little more ease and joy to conquering laundry mountain in your home!?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Quiet time bins

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Although most of us homeschool moms have willingly chosen to keep our children home an extra 6-8 hours each day, that does not mean that we are not normal human beings without a need/desire for occasional quiet and/or alone time.  On the contrary.  

I know this momma definitely needs some time during the day, when possible to relax, read my Bible, get some work done, have a cup of chai or Detox Tea, just THINK... or ALL of the above!  

Because many kids grow out of naps, but still need some down time and/or some alone time (whether they are extremely extroverted like one of mine and don't realize it), this allows them to have some focused activities if they would prefer not to take a nap or lay down.

These quiet time bins have worked out really well for times like these.  We don't necessarily do this daily, just on the days that we are home all day and everyone needs some separation and quiet time. 

My husband purchased these small purple storage bins for .97.  I add age appropriate activities in one bin for each child.  I change the bins or items around each time we use them.  The bins seem to make it a bit of a novelty as the kids get excited to see what is inside.

I'm quite sure there are different versions of these (as with most things) on Pinterest and online, but these are some of the ideas that we use for our quiet time:

Flash cards

(use your discretion regarding age as these can obviously be a choking hazard)


For older kids: word search, crosswords and connect the dots.

Other ideas not shown:


Color Wonder Books


Lacing Cards


Sensory activities

Playdoh (for the brave moms out there)

What ideas do you use for quiet time for younger children?