Nov 14, 2017

Draw and Learn Animal & Places Review



I love anything that keeps my 4-year-old busy while I work with my older 3 children. When I saw this Draw & Learn activity book available for review, I knew I had to try it out and I was not disappointed.

The book is huge and filled with beautiful colors and shapes. I would describe this book as a guided coloring book. The pages are filled with age-appropriate pictures that either need to be completed or colored. The directions are very easy to understand. It's a wonderful way to get children to think about details in pictures and be creative.







 






My daughter loved the pages that asked her to draw a picture of her mommy and daddy. On those pages, we talked about facial features and expressions. We also talked a little bit about emotions.

See activity book here

The lesson possibilities with this book are endless. The pages with the fish can easily turn into a lesson about fish and where they live. You can talk about the seaweed, rocks, and sand that are on the bottom of lakes and oceans.



This activity book is part of Timberdoodles Complete Homeschool Curriculum Kit for Pre-K. I give this activity book a 5-star rating. You can incorporate many different lessons with it or simply use it as is. Suggested ages are 3-6, but my 8-year-old son found a few pages he liked. The activity book is very affordable and you can also earn Doodle Dollars through the Timberdoodle website. 

I did not receive payment for this review. All opinions are my own. If you liked this review and would like to see more, please use the links provided to view or purchase the book. This helps Timberdoodle know how much traffic they are receiving through my link. Thanks for helping me!
Pre-K Curriculum Kit
Draw + Learn Animals + Places 



Nov 11, 2017

How To Store Breast Milk

I am very blessed to have an overflow of milk for my baby. I have so much that I am able to donate. If you follow me on Instagram you already know I am on exclusive pumping mom. In a day a can typically pump 64 to 74ounces. My baby only eats about 25 ounces a day.

So I put together this video to show you what I do with all my extra milk. I hope this helps anyone who is needing some ideas on how they can store their milk. This is the best way that I know how to store breast milk. If you do something differently I would love to know what that is!
Enjoy the video!

Nov 3, 2017

Homeschooling a Struggling Learner




Homeschooling can be very rewarding for both the kids and myself. I get to see all those "aha" moments and share in their amazement when they learn new things. We get to spend some great time together and I would never trade it in for anything in the world.

But, homeschooling can also be hard, especially if you have a child who struggles. My son is my struggling learner. He struggles with reading and math. Often times he gets frustrated during his lessons and cry. He gets very discouraged and second guesses himself making his lessons drag on for longer than they need to.

As his Mother and teacher, I feel discouraged as well and second guess myself. Am I doing enough for him? Am I giving him a good education? What am I doing wrong? How can I do better? Having my son and myself being discouraged is a recipe for disaster.

I have found a few things that work for us and I would like to share those things with you. I hope that you find my tips to be encouraging and helpful
  1.   Stay calm. Staying calm during those frustrating times will make things go much smoother for you and your child. I have made the mistake many times of not staying calm and that always makes the situation worse. I also feel terrible about myself afterward. So try taking a short break if you need it and go back to the lesson when you are calm. Your child may also need to take a break as well. 
  2. Try new things.
    If something seems to not be working or things just aren't "clicking" with your child, you may want to try something new. For my son, that was changing math curriculum. I also needed to add a few things into his lesson to assist him in understanding his work. 
  3. Take time off.
    Sometimes my son and I just needed a break. Instead of doing our usual lessons I would just read to him instead or let him go play outside. Skipping a day of lessons isn't going to ruin your child. I found it refreshing to take a day off. When we got back into his lessons the next day, he was more confident in himself.
     
  4.  Offer words of encouragement.
    This can go a long way. When my son is reading I say things like "good job, you got this, wow that was a hard word." My son smiles at me and finishes off his reading strong.
  5. All kids are different.
    Always remember that kids will learn at different paces. What works for one child will not always work for the other and that's okay! One reason I homeschool my son is that I know he doesn't fit in the typical box of learning. It takes him longer to learn things and he learns things in different ways. 
  6. Give grace.
    Give your child grace and yourself grace. If you have a bad day and end up losing your cool, give yourself some grace.


Oct 29, 2017

Not So Picture Perfect Family



I love seeing posts with perfectly dressed kids all smiling inside a clean and organized home. I smile and think to myself, "oh how cute." Then I look up and see my 4yr old dressed in last years Christmas dress with jeggings under it. My son is wearing the same outfit he went to bed in, and my 2 oldest girls are in sweatpants with messy buns. Oh, and also my baby just pooped. My house is a mess with throw pillows on the floor leading to a blanket fort. I'm washing the same load of laundry for the 3rd time, and who left the milk out all morning?!

That is what you can find on any typical Saturday in my house. Sometimes I feel like an awful mom for it. I beat myself up and start to compare myself with those seemingly perfect Instagram posts. I become depressed, overwhelmed, and a bit annoyed. 

But then I take a step back. My 4yr old is proud of herself because she got dressed with no help. My son went to bed with that outfit on because he fell asleep in the living room watching a movie with his dad. My 2 oldest girls are actually getting along. My house is messy because I decided to hold my baby all morning instead of clean.  And you know what, there is nothing wrong with any of that.

I think social media can be used for good but often times I feel the enemy using it against me to plant those negative thoughts in my head about being a bad mom. Comparing ourselves to others can be a slippery slope. Being inspired by someone on social media is okay, but we should never compare ourselves. A picture is only showing part of what is going on. I bet those moms are also washing the same load of laundry for the 3rd time. 

The apostle Paul said, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8)
This verse pops into my head when I start to compare myself or start to think bad about myself. It helps me to get back on track and keep my train of thought on good, positive things.

In short, we are not a picture-perfect family, and I doubt anyone out there is. We all like to highlight and share the best parts of our lives. And that is okay, but we are all a hot mess somewhere in our lives, and that's okay too!


Oct 22, 2017

Easy Nature Study




At the end of last school year, I started to consider doing nature studies with my kids. We have access to acres and acres of land behind our house. There's even a little creek that the kids often hike over to. Having access to all kinds of nature it only made sense that I start doing nature studies with them. 

Over the summer I picked up the book Pocketful of Pinecones. I love this book and its gentle way of teaching kids about nature. The book recommends getting the Handbook of Nature Study. This book is full of pictures and information to just about everything you could find outside. I highly recommend purchasing the Handbook of Nature Study.


To begin our nature study I put the baby in her wrap and we head out to the woods. I let the kids go to whatever draws their attention. It could be a leaf, a plant, berries, or even a bug. If it's something they can pick or put in their pocket I let them take it home with us. Once we get back to the house they explore their item and draw a picture of it in their notebooks. Aaliyah likes to look things up in the Handbook of Nature Study and will read aloud to everyone. A few weeks ago their Papa gave them Sunflowers. The kids took it all apart and explored all of its insides and picked off the seeds.

This is a simple and fun way to allow the kids to explore nature around them and learn things in the process. I plan to continue this with them throughout our years of homeschooling.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive payment if you make a purchase using this link.


Oct 18, 2017

Easy Halloween Sensory Bin


I have a busy 4yr old. She hardly sits still and always wants to be doing something. She often interrupts when I am helping one of the other kids during our school day. She is bored and wants something to do to feel like one of the big kids. One way to keep her busy is sensory bins.

This easy pumpkin sensory bin keeps her and her brother busy. She has lots of fun and it is working out those fine motor skills. I had her use tweezers to pick up each item and sort them into 2 different pumpkin containers. Here is a list of things I used to make this bin.

  • Plastic bin or some other container 
  • Big bag of rice. You can also use beans or noodles. 
  • Pumpkin candy
  • Candy corn 
  • Preschool tweezers (link below)
  • 2 Pumpkin treat containers 



This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive payment if you make a purchase using this link.

Oct 15, 2017

Candy Corn Poetry Tea Time


We have been slacking big time here for our poetry tea times. I try to do it once a week but we are in the process of purchasing a rental property. Things are a bit crazy around here so we did our tea time today.

It actually worked out well. We first did a nature hike and study and when we got back they wanted to eat. So I decided their snack would be our poetry time. You, of course, don't need to do anything fancy but I had everything I needed to make a fun treat.

I made these super cute candy corn fruit cups. I used pears on the bottom, peaches in the middle, and whipped cream on the top. To make it even more fun I put some candy corns on top. The kids loved it and they looked super cute in a wine glass.

On top of reading our poetry books (see those books here) we talked about the Holy Trinity and the three different parts. We looked at the candy corn and it's three different parts but how it all is part of the candy corn.

The kids had fun eating their treat and reading their poems. Even though things were kind of last minute it all turned out great. 

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