Archive for September, 2009


The Letter “F”

We are several weeks into our school year now, but last week was the first time that I was more intentional about my activity planning (partially due to being unorganized and partially due to just recently getting the rest of my curriculum in). The letter “F” was our theme for the week and I had fun putting together a collection of activities. It wasn’t anything extravagant, but both Samuel and I had a lot of fun with it. Here is a sampling of what we did:

Handwriting Without Tears is our handwriting curriculum this year, so we started by practicing printing our f‘s.

We read some of the Rainbow Fish books and did a simple, but corresponding craft


…we did counting, addition, and subtraction equations with goldfish…


…we read the Bible story of how Jesus fed the five thousand with just five loves of bread and two fish and discussed how that related to the upcoming food distribution and community outreach we were taking part in…

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…and (Samuel’s favorite) we made a fishing pole and went couch fishing for reading words that began with the letter “f“.


All in all, I think that Samuel had a fun time and he certainly did fabulous on all of his activities.


(Home Management) Two Day Activity Log

Do you ever have days where, as you crawl into bed, you wonder where your day went and what exactly it was that you accomplished? The hours fly by and at least most of the essential needs of family members were met, but it can become impossibly frustrating if you perpetually feel like you never move beyond that.

Try keeping an activity log for two to three days. You can do this by setting out a notebook and pen in an accessible location. When you walk by, quickly jot down your recent activities and the time spent on them. This is an exercise that requires a bit of a commitment, but the payoff is worth it. It can help you to pinpoint inefficiencies, wasted time, and places where priorities need to be readjusted.

You might find out that the essential needs of your family are just extra high in this phase in life or you might discover some significant points for readjustment. Whatever technical adjustments you make or don’t make, I think you will find that your log simply helps you to reclaim some peace and direction in your days.


(Classic Play) Couch Fishing

img_4733Summer or winter, couch fishing is always in season. It is a sure way to reel in a boat full of smiles.

There are many ways in which you can assemble a fishing pole, but one of the easiest ways requires only a wrapping paper tube, a few feet of string, and a clothes pin tied onto the end as a hook. Then be creative when it comes to the “catch of the day”. The kids can fish for prizes, new reading words on pieces of paper, or simple paper fish.

By positioning themselves on the couch, the kids can pretend that they are riding on a boat and drop their line over the back and into the imaginary water. All you have to do is help hook the “fish”.

*Tip – The “fish” provide a great opportunity to work in some educational concepts such as phonics, vocabulary words, or math problems!


“Not Me” Monday

We all have those days…or weeks. “Not Me” Monday was created by MckMama to give us an outlet to laugh at our own imperfections. Will you join me? When you are done here, you can head over to her blog and read about what everyone else has “not” been doing.


First of all, it was not me that embarrassed my husband last week with my “Not Me Monday” post about the breast pump in our kitchen cabinet. I’m always a very discreet person.

I am also always very prepared. Especially when the necessary preparation is obvious. It was not me, then, that packed up my family for a day of outdoor community service on a very rainy day without a single hat, jacket or article of clothing that would protect us from becoming drenched. Not me.

I am known as being a very decisive shopper, as I also mentioned last week. Therefore, it was not me that spent an hour in Victoria’s Secret this week simply try to assemble a mix-and-match panties purchase. You either like something or you don’t. So that would be ridiculous.

Above all, I always learn from my mistakes. So it could not have been me that preheated the oven with a brownie pan (with half-eaten contents and a plastic lid) inside. After my horrible experience of melting my son’s tractors in the oven, I would never again think about using the oven as temporary storage. And it wasn’t my empathetic son that tried to offer comfort throughout the day by saying, “Mommy, I’m so sorry that you melted your lid in the oven. I know it is so sad.”

What did you not do this week?


(Family Activities) Community Outreach

outreachFamily activities don’t always have to be about entertainment or sightseeing. Sometimes the most impactful events revolve around giving.

Have you thought about looking for opportunities to serve in your community as family activities? You can take part in food distribution or soup kitchens, serve in nursing homes or the pediatric department of a hospital, help with home repairs, go on short-term mission trips, send care packages to missionaries or sponsored children. The possibilities are endless, but the best place to start is right in your own community. Get input from your children on where they would like to serve. Then go serve together.

outreach2What if our kids grew up where giving and serving came as second nature to them? What if they didn’t think twice about relating to people of different skin color, cultures, or economic status? What if they viewed serving others as the norm? What if they grew up understanding that the Body of Christ is to be mobile and active?  Can you imagine the impact that they could have on the world?

It all begins with what you do with them today.


A few grains of sand

My nephew reminds me that life is an adventure to be explored. Sometimes the simple things are the most amazing.


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(Deep Cleaning) Window Washing

windowsOur days of warm weather are numbered now, making it a good time to think about tackling some of those last seasonal outdoor chores. The upcoming weekend might be a good opportunity to do just that!

Washing the windows is a warm-weather chore that the whole family can take part in. And don’t spend a lot of money on cleaning products. A hose, a few towels and microfiber cloths, or even just newspaper and some water in a spray bottle is all you need to get the job done.

On the cold winter days when you are housebound tucked into your cozy home, you will have a whole new appreciation for your clean windows.


(Money-Saving Tip) Coupon Folder

Having you ever been out and trying to decide where to go for dinner, only to realize that the Buy1/Get1 coupon you need for your favorite restaurant is at home on the kitchen counter?

Keep a folder in your car that is dedicated solely to restaurant coupons. When you get new coupons in the mail or print an online coupon, immediately put it in that designated location. This will help reduce clutter and guarantee that you are always prepared for that spontaneous evening out.


Library Fail

This morning I woke up feeling ambitious with aspirations of being an active and involved mother. So I decided to pack up my kids and take them to our library’s story time. We live in a small suburb, so our library isn’t anything grandiose, but for the most part, I kind of like it that way. Especially the part where they have very minimal late fees.

It was raining (again), but we managed to get inside despite many complaints about getting wet. See, I’m really not “pro-umbrella” now that I have children.  Everyone always seems to get more wet when I use an umbrella than when I don’t because of my inability to juggle babies, the diaper bag, pushing a stroller or cart, locking up the van, and attempting to keep everybody dry. The last time I used an umbrella, Samuel nearly pulled my pants down several times in the middle of the parking lot because I could not pry him off of my leg . Anyway.

We walk into the library, wet, only to find the kids section is closed due to a leaky roof. There were repairmen working inside the enclosed space, along with a group of workers who were dressed in something just short of hazmat suits wiping off the books. Weird. So, Samuel was intrigued, but then rather distraught when he realized that he had to return his Clifford video and was not able to go into the children’s area to get another. I was relieved to hear, though, that the story time was still scheduled.

See, I was all excited that I was presenting my children with such a classic and educational activity. However, that ideal was short-lived. Samuel insisted on sitting with me instead of on the rug with the other children, which was fine with me. However, we were not completely through the first of three books when he was begging to go home. Frustrated, I tried to engage him in the activities and stories, but he just sat back further in his chair and looked at me like I was crazy as I sang “5 Little Ducks”, without the kids, along with the librarian. Kaelynn was mildly amused.

So I tried for incentive #2: craft time. Samuel loves crafts and I thought sure he would be thrilled with that story time event. However, he was again insistent that he did not want to participate, although he did eventually get involved when he saw that they were decorating pretend cakes.

All in all, though, the morning was not exactly the hit that I was hoping for. So now I am left debating the merits of repeating attendance until the kids become comfortable enough to enjoy it or cutting our losses and just playing the backyard next time.


(Crafts) Craft Inspiration

img_4747Sometimes the best craft inspirations can be found right under our noses.

Chances are that your kids have a few favorite books that they like you to read to them…over and over and over. Or maybe there is a book that you want to introduce to your kids; a classic or one that teaches a timely lesson.

Bring that book to life for your child by using it as the inspiration for a craft. With many classic books, preconceived craft ideas are readily available via the internet. For example, Samuel and I were talking about the letter “F” in school today. I chose a fish theme for the day and thought of the “Rainbow Fish” book series. When I did a brief Google search for “Rainbow Fish craft”, I immediately found the idea for the craft you see pictured, as well as a free fish printable that we used as our starting point. Samuel was thrilled! He got to do a fun craft and was excited to discover the relationship it had to the book we reading.

So the next time you are looking for inspiration, your bookshelves just might hold the treasure you are looking for.