Sunday, March 2, 2008

Thanks for taking the time to comment on my first post. Thanks also for being patient with me as I'm not really into the habit of this yet, but I know I will be soon :) I wanted to paste a comment here from Kathryn that I thought was great:
"These two activities came from a Valerie Bendt newsletter I got this week...
Set Up Activity Centers for Your Preschoolers:
Wash the Doll Clothes
Preschoolers love to imitate Mom and Dad. Here is an activity that is sure to bring hours of fun. Be certain to place a towel or two on the floor! Once your child has washed the doll clothes, or other small items such as socks or wash cloths, he or she can blot them on a towel and then hang them on the line!
Beans, Beans, Beans!
Here is an inexpensive and fun-filled activity. Buy several packages of dried beans such as black beans, garbanzo beans, and kidney beans. Pour them into bowls and provide your preschoolers with measuring cups and scoops for lots of fun! A small plastic tub or pool helps keep dried beans in one place. Store beans in a plastic container to use again. Kids love the sound and texture of the beans. (Not intended for small children who may put the beans in their mouths, noses, ears, and so on!)
Also this tip I love because I always seem to be in the middle of working with Layton and everyone decides they are hungry...While preparing breakfast, pack a lunch box with healthy snacks for your preschoolers. Then when they say, "I'm hungry!" you can tell them to go and get their lunch boxes and have their snacks. This helps to prevent interruptions while you are working with an older child."

I'm glad she mentioned "dried beans" because I would have been getting my can opener out. Ewww...

OK, this weeks topic is organization. Sometimes I can think deep, really, I can, but most of the time I just want something practical that makes my day go smoother. I know I would love some VERY simple organization tips that are easy to implement, so I'm sure other women would also. Here's my tip and I can't wait to read some from you!!

I found that out of all the tasks involved with getting the children ready to go somewhere, the hardest was socks. Remember, I have four girls which means that hair fixing should have topped the list but nooooo, it was those socks that would always make things difficult. I would send them to their rooms to get socks on and they would come out with mix-matched socks. I would tell them to get socks that match each other. They'd head back to their rooms and then 10 minutes later some out with bright green socks. I guess I needed to be more clear. "Put on some socks that match each other and that match your outfit." OK, so I would send them back upstairs and 10 minutes later they would yell down, "I can't find any socks that match!!" And so it would go. So, in desperation, I created the sock basket. It's a basket. It's sits by the door. It holds ALL the kids socks. Simple. I LOVE IT! The kids love it. It works because it's putting the socks at the place where we put them on anyway. I used this basic principle in other areas of my home as well. I couldn't believe how many item I kept in a certain place just because it went there not because it was where I used it. Once a week, one of the kids has the chore of organizing the sock basket which simply means they pair up socks that have been separated and toss any that somehow found their way in the basket without a match. It seems that most friends that come to my house say something positive about the sock basket, so I thought I'd share that. How 'bout you? Got some simple home organization advice that you can share? Let's hear it...

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I decided to start a new blog where I post ideas, tips, and solutions for moms, wives, and homeschoolers. You don't have to be all three to get something out of this blog. It would help if you're at least one of these, or if you at least know someone who is one of the above, or even if you've ever met someone who is one if the above- that would be good.

Anyway, I want this to be interactive where we share things that have worked 4 us to help make this calling of wife and/or mother and/or teacher more efficient, more enjoyable, and easier. Maybe a tip here or an idea there could make it less hectic, less frustrating, and may make you less likely to throw in the towel on any of these roles.

Because I have another blog that I update regularly (and because I have six little people who call me mom) I'm only going to update this weekly. I'd like to post an idea or tip on a certain subject then you can read it and then:
1) glean from it
2) learn what not to do
3) post related ideas as a comment for other readers to see. This way everyone is contributing and all I'm doing is getting the ball rolling.

Here's an example:

I post about "what to do with toddlers while you're trying to teach your school aged children". I share my idea of locking them in the closet.
In the comments:
Reader A says maybe putting them in front of the tv would be a better option.
Reader B says an intriguing learning game would be even better.
Reader C says the closet didn't work 4 her because her toddler is a little McGuyver who can
pick locks.
Reader D says she's going to report me to the authorities and ban my blog.

See everyone got something out of it. Let's give it a try and see if we just can't help each other out as we navigate these uncertain waters as women. One of my life theories is that there are plenty of women who have gone before me that I can learn from. I don't need to reinvent the wheel. We're going to make enough mistakes as it is, let's save each other from a few. Let's share what works 4 us...
(When you leave a comment you can choose to be notified when someone leaves a follow up comment. This would be a good option to choose here so you can see what others have to say about the idea. If you think this idea works 4 you, please pass the blog address along. The more people we have commenting, the more ideas we get, the more sane we become!!! It's a positive cycle- get it? :)

OK, so let's start with the toddler idea. I don't want to exclude non-homeschooling moms, so if you don't homeschool but have any ideas, please share them. If you're not a mom, you may have some insightful observations to share- so please don't be afraid to speak up.
I'd say juggling the different ages while homeschooling is one of my greatest challenges. I'm always looking for new ways to "engage" (code word for "keep them from demolishing the house") my little ones while I work with the older ones. Here are my observations on this:
* Every good solution that I've come upon for this dilemma only works for a maximum of three weeks. Seriously! Things are constantly changing, and so I need an arsenal of weapons, uh, I mean ideas, to use.
* Guilt plays heavily on my mind here at times, too. I don't want to just pacify my little ones while I pour into my older ones. You almost never feel like you're giving enough to everyone (but somehow they turn out OK :). I really don't want to lock my youngsters in the closet and I'd not like the TV to be the only choice.

Now here are some ideas that have worked 4 us:
* When I'm working with my 5 years-old, my three year old has "blankie time". We put a blanket out on the floor and put out some toys and activities that we keep up and use only for blankie time. We use a lot of different toys but some that we put out regularly are Mr. Potato Head, the keyboard, nesting blocks, magnetic dress-up dolls, board puzzles, and, of course, books. When the little one is in blankie time, she isn't allowed to interrupt my time with her older sister and she MUST stay on the blanket. Those are the rules. When we first started, I would set a timer so she would know when her time was up. She wasn't allowed to ask- she had to wait for the timer. We usually did it for 20 minutes. Now, she enjoys blankie time and doesn't usually ask so I have gotten out of the habit of using the timer. But believe me, she didn't like it at first- she had to learn and now she thinks it's great. I've tried lots of other ideas but this is what we're currently doing and for now, it works 4 us.

How about you- any past, present, or future ideas?? Don't hold back- we all need each other and can learn a lot, even from others' failures. So who's first....?