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Sunday, January 30, 2011

The First Thaw

I absolutely love the first thaw of the year and ours came in Lexington yesterday.  It's a day where neighbors leave their homes and start tending to their yards.  Children fill the park with laughter and tears over their first skinned knee.  You see shiny new bikes passing by, evident of Santa's generousity.  I can almost feel my vitamin D supply regenerating.  Babies get to have their first swing on the playground.  Families are out walking again.  Vehicles suddenly shine and seem to smile at the hosing away of winter's salt.  This is a day of rejuvination!  So fill up those propane tanks, gather your spring cleaning supplies, and search for your favorite sun hat because spring will be here soon...and I love it!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The road less traveled... the beginning of a co-op

It is easiest to follow the path that is nicely paved in life including when you parent.  Anyone who has ever been a parent knows that the path less traveled is sometimes the right answer even if more work.  We came to that decision when we decided to try homeschooling.  We again faced this unpathed road when we found that the co-op we plannd on using was not meeting our needs for homeschooling.  We were fortunate to have other moms share in this problem and three moms came together to form a co-op for 5 eager learners.

We began this co-op 3 weeks ago with great expectations and also fear of the unknown. After today's class, I am proud to say we are progressing.  We came together and successfully navigated through lessons on sign language, weather, math, and money.  Our kids then engaged in their own game of hide-and-seek further developing their blossoming friendships.  Our co-op isn't perfect but we are learning through trial and error while meeting the age specific needs of our cherished children.  Maybe some day this road will be paved ...

*Rain experiment conducted by teacher Kasey

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Favorite blogs

The world of blogging, much like the Internet itself, has become huge. You can find a blog on anything and everything and really spend hours reading them.  I'm often asked for my favorites but hesitate to say because I've barely touched the blogging world.  So I look at who I go to first every day and Money Saving Mom is always the winner. I have such a respect for her site, it's wealth of information and staying true to who she is.  So check it out and then let me know your favorites!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's what's for dinner tonight...

My hubby woke up this morning with the hope of bacon.  I woke up with a headache.  We compromised as married couples should and decided to have breakfast for dinner...

I love this meal because everyone is happy.  We had sweet potato/choc chip waffles, blueberry pancakes, eggs, bacon, cantelope, grapes and avocado!  mmmmmm

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Paralyzed by the cold

I am paralyzed this winter by cold weather.  Physically my body moves every day as it is suppose to but my soul is paralyzed by this continuous cold.  We moved to Lexington in part to get away from the cold, depressing Michigan winters.  I do have to say there is a significant difference here in that the sun shines most days but as I look at the temperature reading of 3 degrees this morning, my soul is paralyzed.  My creativity stiffled, my motivation stuck in quick sand.  Are you paralyzed this winter as well or do you embrace this cold weather and the opportunities barrels of snow provide?  I love a good snow fall, once, maybe twice but this year Lexington has had approximately 25" of snow compared to the average yearly falling of 15 and it is only January!

So what is one to do aside from running to Florida for the rest of the winter?  I think we all know how to break this paralysis.  Head to the gym, throw on some shorts, and run the track, swim in the pool, get that blood flowing.  Take a weekly trip to the tanning booth, not because you want to look like you live in the South, but because it will boost your serotinin levels.  Most of all, let those carbs go!!  They are winters enemy and most people overindulge in them during the holidays only to struggle with letting them go as the winter blues hit.  Boost your energy with a veg/fruit smoothie!   A few more weeks and Lexington should brighten with more sun, longer days and the hope of spring.  Until then, I'm going to bundle up the kiddos and head out for some Saturnday fun!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's what's for dinner tonight...

I like to call this the "lazy mommy dinner" because it is so easy.  All I do is take a link of sausage.  I usually buy it from Whole foods but it's going to be Eckridge turkey tonight. I chop them up into small links.  Cube a bunch of potatoes, throw a couple tsp of oregano, a little salt, and whatever else sounds good.  Coat it with coconut oil and bake it for about 45 min at 400 degrees.  So yummy!  You can throw in some harder veggies too, like sweet potato, cauliflower, eggplant, carrots....   be creative!  Let me know if you have a version of this for your family.

Homemade Easel

I wasn't going to post this because it is just that easy.  It is more the idea itself that deserves a posting as I wish I had thought of it ages ago.  My Tbear loves loves loves to paint!  She would paint every day if I had the patience.  I had every intention of buying her a tabletop easel for Christmas but the $20 here and $20 there added up quickly and there was no room to throw in an easel.  When I constructed this one for her, she was ecstatic!

We had two of those large coloring pages from Disney/Target and probably available else where.  The pages are kept neat  by a large piece of cardboard.  We had a 3rd coloring book slightly smaller.  I took the two large pieces, lined  them up at the top and secured them with heavy duty tape.  I tented these two and secured them at the bottom to the 3rd piece. I then taped her paper on and there it was!  My little Picasso was much neater in her painting experience and had lots of fun.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's what's for dinner tonight...

Tonight is turkey taco night.  I love doing taco night because no one can complain that they don't like what is on their plate.  I give each child a shell and tell them they have to put at least one thing in it. Roo always picks cheese while Bear loads hers up like mom and dad.  We then usually have a fruit plate to choose from and refried beans.  It's simple and it's what's cooking tonight!  (am I sounding like Rachael Ray?)

Fostering creativity in children

Last night Roo and Bear were jumping off our coffee table onto the floor.  My first instinct was to yell "what in the world are you doing jumping off furniture???"  As I was about to "put my foot down," Brayden asked for tape with a grin.  I immediately knew his creative juices were flowing so I decided to break the rules and see what my kiddos were up to.  Together, they grabbed some paper and drew bird wings.  They enlisted daddy's help to tape them to their arms.  What followed was 30 minutes of flyng off the table, flapping their new wings and talking about different types of birds. A creative moment was born!

So how do we help our children have these moments?  Some children are naturally more creative then others, but all children are creative.  Unfortunately our society bombards our little ones with video games, cell phones and other gadgets that promote passive play and hinder their creative juices.  Don't get me wrong, my kids both have Leapsters but it is a battle to limit their Leapster time.  It is easier for me to tend to Beaner when they play their Leapsters.  I have found, without fail, that when I take them away, creative moments appear.

When I was a child, we didn't have all the plastic toys and video games available today.  We made toys out of straws, forts out of hard books and blankets, and superman capes out of blankets.  I have discovered these same skills in my own children when there is nothing to play with.  They make sheep out of socks, stick people out of pencils, and wings out of paper.  We have tried to steer away from comercialized toys for our kids as we have noticed they limit creativity.  The old fashioned Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, and blocks always lead to creative play for my kids.  Finding the balance between their desire for commercialized toys and the need to foster creativity can be difficult for any parent.  I often have to remind myself, they will get over their disappointment and engage in the all important creative play if we as parents provide the right tools and the right examples.  So let's roll up our sleeves, build a fort and unplug those video games!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Work box pictures

Work box success!

We are on week 2 of our work boxes.  We opted for a storage system from Target that was on sale.  Our whole system was less than $30.  It almost looks like a mail box in our play room (picture to come).  For Rooster and Bear, it is like Christmas every morning.  They run to their boxes to see what mommy has in store for them.  Their dreaded handwriting worksheets have new found excitement when they get to move their little circle to the completed chart.  Rooster is suddenly zipping through puzzles that previously collected dust.  More importantly, it is adding structure to our school days.  Since little Bean is still fighting this stomach virus, the boxes allow me to tend to her while the kids self direct their school day. Since grandma is here, I have put Paperoni (Target clearance around $3) to work on fine motor skills.  Their boxes also have Shape Shuffle puzzles, Tag reading, workbooks, name practice, flash cards, children's bible, and books that were previously collecting dust, ie. Shel Silverstein's fabulous poems.  Since it is Martin Luther King day, I am having them draw 5 pictures of people who look different then them.  It allows me to see what they see and address the topic of diversity on this important holiday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The dreaded stomach virus!

It has struck, with a bang!  Poor Beaner has spent her day alternating between vomiting, diarrhea, sleeping and fevering.  It's not enough that she has to be on Amoxicillin for an ear infection, now this.  All mothers dread the stomach virus because unlike the common cold, there is nothing you can do to ease the discomfort other than love them.  I have to say I am grateful to still be breastfeeding the Beaner as I doubt she could keep down the electrolyte solutions my other two have grown to dislike.  I wish I could say I have some advice for new moms struggling with the stomach bug but nothing makes it easier.  They whine, they moan, then they vomit. I noticed that Beaner loses her fever after vomiting only for it to return until the next time.  I actually got some Tylenol in her this evening. I was smart enough to give it shortly after vomiting before she felt ill from her fever.  I recommend a designated "puke" bowl.  Your kids may even name it but they know to leave it alone unless it's their time.  Now I wait to see if the dreaded virus moves on to Rooster and Bear as I sit here wondering whether to grab the bucket...

What are your tricks for easing this nasty virus for your little ones?

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year...New Beginnings

Well January has fallen upon us and with a new year comes new goals, strategies and tools for improving the Murphy home. Let’s start with BTE Homeschool.  We are going to implement the work box system for Rooster and TBear this year.  As I continue to attachment parent my little beaner, Rooster and Bear need a bit more structure.  We are going to start with 9 boxes and see how this goes.  I am thinking of painting the outside of my boxes since they gratiously sent me so many with my xmas orders.  They make great paper size slots.  Some of the activities going into our boxes include handwriting assignment, Leapster Tag assignments, card games with eachother and mom, small crafts and some  basic math. I think Rooster is ready for a math program on line so we are going to look for a kindergarten one for him.  BTE Homeschool will also try a bit more structure this year. We kinda flew “by the seat of our pants” the first half of the year. Skipping some days only to make it up at night or on the weekend. Although we will maintain flexibility for fun, we are going to incorporate some chores in our days and set 1:1 time for school.  Rooster is going to take swim lessons with Dad and TBear will take Creative Movement classes.  One other area of much needed improvement is spirituality.  The kids haven’t been attending church or reading the bible and yet TBear was so happy to yell Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas. They are so impressionable at this age that I know I need to impress faith upon them.  We hope to increase our followers on this blog as its activity becomes more of a goal for us so please leave your comments, good or bad so we can continue to improve, grow, and learn!