Monday, August 11, 2014

Homeschool Preschool in Tiny Spaces

If you have been around the blog here for any length of time you may have heard that I am currently living with my in-laws.

If it were not for the set up of their house it would have be working as well as it is.  When I say well, it's not like Keith and I are not both daily - okay how much longer God?  We also recently closed out our storage unit - we were tired of storing stuff we didn't want anymore.  We blessed several families with our goodies and saved ourselves quite a bit of cash.  That meant though that I had to bring more stuff into our already tiny space.

We are also homeschooling preschool and we just didn't have a dedicated space to do things.  I was constantly having piles of stuff everywhere and toys lined the room.

So I made some changes. That were all spurred by one comment on this picture I posted on Instagram.

Would love to see how you set up your week.  -- umm, how can I show that? I take pictures of what we do, but there is really no set up or set out stuff.  Because we had no dedicated space. 

Until now.  Let me present our preschool corner!

The space itself is oh, 5 by 7, 6 by 8 - It's tiny.  There is enough room for me and the kids to closely work.  Not only does this corner now work for preschool.  It barricades a lot of my mother-in-laws stuff to keep it safe.  

Now for our tour.  

As you can see on the picture these things are on top of a set of plastic white drawers.  This bad boy needs its own post.  This is the Barbie command post.  Dolls, accessories, furniture - it's all in there.  It is not really in the preschool corner but it makes a good top shelf for these small things.

And although you can't really see it, behind this writing desk looks like a white set of shelves.  Well that is our Barbie house.  So the Barbie drawers need to be there too.

Then comes the tiny centers area.  In the most GHETTO, most unique cheapest storage shelving unit known to man.  You can't really see them, but on top there are two little buckets with chalk and dry erase markers for the writing center.

The top of this storage unit will also be where I keep our science center items as we use them for the week.

Then there is our work table.  As we are using the corner we are finding out that we need more light back here.  And we are finding out that Little Mister prefers to do work at the desk than the table.

More tiny centers with storage.

This final picture is on top of the quiet time drawers.  It is a great place for me to stick all the stuff that we are going to need for the week and just take one day to get as much of it together as I can.

Some people might think that it is a little looney to dedicate this space to school time.  But it is used for way more than just when we "play school".  It is used when we pull out playdough after nap.  It is used when Little Miss wants to play with "bigger girl" toys.  It is used for puzzles.

But moving things to this corner we were also able to spread things out into the rest of the room and separate playtime when needed.

I think the biggest blessing of living here is that I could honestly say that I don't need a big house to be happy.

Feel free to pose any questions about our corner or homeschooling preschool below!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tell Me About It Tuesday: One Holiday at a Time - Child Please!

That is a beautiful Fall image.  As this quickly approaches Hubsy and I were talking about our busy season  and Christmas - specifically where we are going to move toys to set up the tree.

"Well, you are going to want to put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving."

UMMM ... NOVEMBER 1st is more like it.  I love Christmas, it just makes me happier.  When I am having a bad day (like today) I will play Christmas music to lift my spirits.

I said, "but of course! You are lucky that I don't put it up November 1st!"  Then he laid my most hated disliked phrase on me.  "One holiday at a time.  Give each one the respect it deserves."  He continued to explain that just because I am not a fan of Thanksgiving that it's important to others.

Listen I get it.  Thanksgiving is that day of the year that we all get together to be thankful for each other and all the things the year has brought us.  blah blah blah (and if you love Thanksgiving and all it brings and this offends you I am sorry)

I choose to be Thankful for what God has given me DAILY.  I try to live a life of Thanksgiving. So for me, and I know this is just me, Thanksgiving is just a day to get through to get to Christmas.
Oh believe me I am thankful for my family, I am thankful for all the things that God gives me.  I am THANKFUL I won't get the "It's not even Thanksgiving!" crap anymore.  (Sorry for my bluntness - but don't put your disdain for Christmas on me.)  I am thankful that I get to sit with my hubby on a Thursday and watch a day of football.  Even if it causes more arguments than fried or roasted turkey!

When you live a life of GRATITUDE you don't need a specific day to tell the people you love you are thankful for them.

Rant over.  :)  I am off to decorate the Christmas tree.

Monday, July 28, 2014

{ABD} - Summer Style

{ABD} - I know I haven't written about them much lately -- mainly because we haven't been doing them.  {After Bed Dates} -- These started because we put dates on the back burner to revamp our finances and babysitting is the most expensive thing about dating.

July 3rd was a very cool (temperature) wise.  Keith and I had been talking about how one of these evenings we just need to relax with a drink and unwind.

We both are fighting off a pretty serious funk.  We are both stressed about things here at home and with our jobs.  I think we are both fighting off a mid-life crisis.

So I ran to the store and picked up some of those freeze and drink pouches.  He set up the fire.  We were ready to relax.

I love my coffee cups and gave up drinking coffee.  My thought is .. use them for everything.  Especially Lime Margarita on the rocks.

We were enjoying our evening.  Time with each other and relaxing.  We were not even joined by anyone other than this guy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

{Tell Me About it Tuesday} Mama, You Can Do It!

Recently I read a blog post about how us mom's need to put on our swimsuits (I am so sorry I can't find it now) and get in the water with our kids.  How we just need to suck it up and do it.  Now, I have never been one to love how I look in a swimsuit, even when I was a size 10.  Well, I was uploading pictures from Keith's phone and I found these from last year and our 6 weeks in Wisconsin.  This quite possibly could be the worst I have ever looked in a swimsuit.  

I am not going to lie, I wish that we could do that every summer.  The reasons we were there stunk and the reason we had to stay weren't the best either.  It was hard to come home and get back in the swing of life.  

Auntie braved the lake water.  Auntie and I split kids.  It was nice to be able to one on one with the kids.  It made things much safer in my mind.  Little Mr is 18 months in these pictures.  Little Miss is 3.  

This was little Mr.'s first real trip to a beach.  When you live in Wisconsin lake beaches are what you get.  An ocean beach is much to far.  Lake beaches ... that's another story.  They are abundant.  

The only time she would actually look at the camera.  Oh and this suit still kinda fits her.  It's official her brother is going to out weigh her by the time she is 5.  
Quite possibly my favorite picture. 

Although I had hoped to get them to Atlanta or back up to Wisconsin this summer looking like it's not going to be in the cards.  We will be taking a long weekend for Labor Day to recharge our batteries in the mountains.

I am so looking forward to a weekend with just my loves.

Maybe we can hit a day trip to a local lake with a beach this weekend.  They are not as abundant in this part of Ohio.

Monday, July 21, 2014

WAH Wednesday: Christmas Family Memories

Last Monday I talked to you about my pre-planning.  Well it is in full swing!

Last year I shared this list with you and I am bringing it back today. This is more of a list than anything else.  This list is meant to help you spur some ideas for creating more memories with your family.

We do two advent calendars.  First is our Christmas Book Countdown.  I wrap one book for each night leading up to Christmas. We start our advent calendars the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  This year I will be wrapping 26 books.   Yes, I have over 30 Christmas books.  I found the majority of the at a thrift store for $0.29 each.  I will be pick up a few new ones each year because some have been so loved they need to be replaced.  Others are just too long for right now.  I will find them at crazy times of the year and I will buy them.  I bought 4 Mother's Day weekend in Wisconsin.

The other is an activity that we do each day, like visit Santa, or Christmas Go Go Day (watching and dancing to ALL of our Wiggles Christmas DVDs).  This year we will also be doing our preschool activities.

We don't do all of these things, but this is a great list for you to get a jump start.

Serve others

  1. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  2. Collect blankets and give them to a homeless shelter. (Need to turn it up a notch - have a blanket making party.)
  3. Clean out your closets and donate to local agencies.
  4. Fill a box of formerly loved toys and donate to local agencies. (We must do this every year because of Christmas and birthdays being so close.)
  5. Bake cookies and deliver them to a local retirement home.
  6. Plan a “playdate” and let the other mom’s get some kid free time for shopping, wrapping or de-stressing.
  7. Purchase gifts from an Angel Tree.  (Gifts for needy children)
  8. Fill stockings and donate them to local agencies.
  9. Make a meal and deliver it to a needy family.
  10. Bake cookies and give them to people who have to work on Christmas Eve.
  11. Make edible gifts for the birds and squirrels.

Random Acts of Kindness

  1. Feed the meters.  Hang a Christmas card on the meter.
  2. Tape quarters to the toy machines at the grocery store.
  3. Give out gift cards to the local coffee shop in the mall.
  4. Go to a holiday display and offer to take pictures for families.  (You know Mom is never in the pictures!)
  5. Hand out Christmas cards to random people.
  6. Give rolls of wrapping paper and tape to your neighbors.
  7. Offer to load a full cart of groceries or packages into their car for them.
  8. Make extra dinner and invite the neighbors over, or deliver.
  9. Give out flowers to people while shopping.
  10. Hide dollar bills in the toy aisle of the dollar store.
  11. Fill stockings or old shoes with treats, go to a different neighborhood and leave them on doorsteps.
  12. Make ornaments and hand them out with candy canes.

Family Activity Ideas

  1. Go look at Christmas displays.
  2. Family Pajama Movie Night - be sure to make it complete with Hot Cocoa.
  3. Go to your local Christmas Tree lighting celebration.
  4. Christmas Carol Bath - Listen to your favorite Christmas Carols while taking a bath, complete the mood by hanging twinkle lights.
  5. Fancy Dress Dinner.
  6. Write a Christmas story.
  7. Dessert first dinner.
  8. Pajama Breakfast Dinner.
  9. Decorate a gingerbread house.
  10. Go to a live nativity.
  11. Go to a Christmas parade.
  12. Write and send Christmas cards.
  13. Decorate every door in your house.
  14. Write a family letter to Santa.  
  15. Get a letter from Santa.
  16. Hot chocolate and popcorn for a snack.
  17. Christmas Dance Party!
  18. Christmas Treasure Hunt
  19. Ornament Decorating
  20. Decorate Stockings
  21. Make a gingerbread house
  22. Decorate sugar cookies with icing
  23. Use cookie cutters to make a fun lunch
  24. Make a Christmas gift for a member of the family.

Christmas Crafts

  1. Cotton Santa Beard
  2. Paper Chain Garland
  3. Make Christmas Cards for Friends and Family
  4. Hand and Foot Angels
  5. Create an outdoor Christmas scene and use shaving cream for snow.
  6. Cone Christmas Trees
  7. Decorate Paper Cookies
  8. Beaded Candy Cane Ornaments
  9. Paper Plate Wreathes
  10. Shape Reindeer (only using circles, triangles and rectangles)
  11. “Stained Glass” Ornament Sun Catchers
  12. Create Christmas scenes and use glitter for snow.
  13. Make your own gift tags

Fill you Advent Calendar with:

  1. Christmas Jokes
  2. Christmas Books
  3. Christmas Quotes
  4. Christmas Scripture
  5. Christmas Coloring Pages
  6. Christmas Crafts 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Teach Me Thursday: Back to School with Teachers Pay Teachers

We have had such a busy week I am behind on blogging and sharing our preschool time with you. We didn't get to much this week.  We did some bug activities that did not go over well and some apple things.  I will try to share those next week.

I wanted to touch base on "Back to School" time and bring your attention to some of the items in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  That are great for this exciting time of the year.

We will be touching on this one next week, but many people use apples as a theme in the beginning of the year.  $10 value for $7.50.  That is like getting the File Folder Games for FREE!

With this one you really want to click on PREVIEW to see what you are all getting.  It is a full year calendar for pocket calendars.  Bonus cards for birthdays and holidays.

Here are a sample of the images used in the calendar and clip art available if you would like to make your own items. 

Fun Craftivity to help recognize the letters of their name. As they get older they can even write the letters themselves.

Possibly my favorite thing to do at the start of the school year.  I can't wait to do it with my two!  9 pages with great skills!  When you purchase the book you will also get a description on how 2 teachers used the book and how it was different for their different age levels.

One of my best sellers.  The pre-write pages can be used in a variety of ways.  16 different cards in all.

Do you have a Teachers Pay Teachers store?  Leave your link in the comments!  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When God Answers Prayer

As I mentioned yesterday I am in a bible study right now with an amazing group of women.  

At the end of our sessions we always ask if anyone has any prayer requests.  When no one spoke up our “leader” said, “So your lives are all perfect?”  I said, “Well I guess Keith has a job interview and it might be a better job than he has now.”  So we added that to the prayer list - better employment.  

I have been praying that things just change.  Whatever that looks like just help us make the changes that we need to make.  

So during my quiet time earlier this week I could not focus.  These thoughts just kept swimming around in my head and reading the bible was quickly becoming impossible.  I pulled out my journal and started emptying the thoughts.  

-- We closed out our storage unit.   Now saving that entire bill.
-- We switched our phone plans.  That is almost cut in half.
-- We are now saving $xxx on just those bills.  Why are we still seeming to be sinking?
-- God is providing for all of our needs.  Except getting a place of our own.  What is going on?
-- Could it be that you are doing the same things that got you into the situation you are in now?  
-- Could it be that you still haven’t made the changes you need to make for the big picture?  
-- Why should God answer our prayer for more when we can’t effectively manage what we have now?

And although it doesn’t seem like it.  This is really an answered prayer.  It is an answer to a prayer I have been praying for a long time.  SHOW ME WHAT WE NEED TO DO AND WHERE WE NEED TO CHANGE.  

God has shown me we over spend when we don’t use cash.  Although we need the bank account those plastic little cards cause problems.  Even when they are not actual credit cards.

God has shown me that we still haven’t mastered budgeting.  

God has shown me that if I would just stop being lazy (which is really just being selfish) things would be better because we would have the cash.  And ultimately more control of what HE has provided for us to use.  

We would eat out less if I make a plan for dinners and a plan for the grocery shopping.  If I would stop being lazy about finding coupons our budget would go farther.  Oh and if we eat out less we will be healthier and have more money.  Nice double edged sword there.

Well there you have it -- an answered prayer and although it wasn’t what I expected, it was just what I needed.  


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