TUTORIAL:  Personalized Glittered Gift Mugs

With the end of the school year right around the corner, I wanted to make something cute for my kids’ dance teachers that wouldn’t break the bank. Between the two of them, there are close to ten teachers that I’d like to give to and with that many, the price can quickly add up. 
That’s when I came across these darling glitter mugs online (there are lots of tutorials) and thought, “How difficult could those be to recreate?” And to my delight, they are super easy to make, and extremely affordable! They turned out so cute that I decided to also make extra for the important women in my life for Mothers’s Day gifts. 
First make sure you plan in advance, because these take a few days to make, as well as a month before they are dishwasher ready. 

Here are the supplies needed:

  • Plain dishwasher safe, white coffee mug (I got mine from Walmart)
  • Glitter (your color of choice-I picked a turquoise and gold for variation)
  • Decoupage glue- (I found a dishwasher safe Mod Podge option)
  • Paint brush
  • Sharpie (if you plan to personalize the mug)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Painters tape

Step 1:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating, prep your mugs by cleaning them with rubbing alcohol. 

Step 2:

Leaving yourself at least 1/4 of the space clear at the bottom, use a Sharpie to write your message on the top 1/2 of the mug. If you make a mistake-don’t fret, just use a paper towel and rubbing alcohol to clean it and start again. 

Step 3:

Once your message is on how you’d like it, place the mug in the preheated oven and let it cook for 30 minutes. This will make your message permanent. 


Step 4:

Once out of the oven and cooled, put the painters tape completely around the cup (about 1/4 of the way up from the bottom). I also put the tape 1/2 way up the handle for an extra accent. 

Step 5: 

With a paint brush, start spreading your mod podge around the bottom of the mug and the lower half of the handle. Make sure to get every spot. Sprinkle generously the glitter on all of the glue, making sure every area is covered that you’d like glittered. 

Step 6:

 Once completed let dry overnight. 


Step 7:

Paint a second layer of mod podge over the glittered area and let dry agin for 24 hours. 

Step 8:

Repeat step 

That’s it! Wait about a week before you hand wash the mug and about a month before you pop it in the dishwasher. 

The finished product is adorable! For an additional option (depending on your budget), you can fill it with extra items, like candy and a Starbucks gift card. Or ingredients to make hot chocolate…have fun with it. Wrap the mug in plastic, tie it with a decorative bow, and voila… A thoughtful, personalized gift!!
Let me know if you make these and post a photo so I can see how they turned out!

How I Repurposed Our Baby Crib

Pinterest is seriously my BFF lately!  I have been trying so hard to figure out what to do with my daughter’s unused baby crib that is sitting in my eldest daughter’s room being used as a toy box. And behold Pinterest to the rescue! 

The crib was an expensive gift from my parents and the guilt of not using it for it’s intended purpose has been hovering over me, like an annoying fruit fly over a ripe banana.  Not to mention the constant jibes from my family that tease me about the “decorative furniture piece”, taking up space in my eldest daughter’s room. My mom has lightheartedly and graciously asked me when will my daughter use her crib, if ever.  I just sigh and say, “One day, Mom”. 

Well, one day has arrived and my daughter now uses the crib on a daily basis, just not to sleep in.  I looked up “repurposing baby cribs” on Pinterest and found a wealth of cute ideas.  But the one that spoke the loudest to me was a very EASY solution.  And I’m all about things being easy and practical.  

Not only was I able to come up with one purpose for the crib, but 2!  Now we were talking!!  A bench and a fabric storage compartment for my sewing fabric.  

  
First, the bench.  The crib (which could be raised to a higher setting for a proper height bench), but we kept it low, so my daughter could easily get on and off it by herself.  We even had the perfect corner nook in our craft/sewing room, in which it fit. Throw a cute blanket and some matching pillows and you’ve got yourself a chic repurposed sitting area. Now, my daughter has a cozy area to play while her big sisters and I are creating our newest project du jour.  

  
Second, a rack to hang our sewing fabric.  We took the front piece of the crib and placed it against the wall.  Voila, a storage shelf to neatly display our larger pieces of fabric.  I was quickly running out of space to put my fabric, so this solution was a God send.  And I even have a few more shelves to take advantage of!

What creative ideas do you have for your old crib?  I’d love to hear them.

Journey to a HEALTHIER Me!

My Journey

My whole life I have struggled with my weight.  From the earliest I can remember I had an extra layer of so-called Baby FAT, that singled me out from all of my peers.  In  all my school pictures, I was always the heaviest kid in the class.  This difference really started to affect me from as early as about 3rd grade.  I became self-conscious and my self-esteem started lowering.

This is also about the time that I developed an eating disorder.  I wasn’t anorexic or bulimic (I loved food way too much and HATED the thought of vomiting).  But I became an overeater and allowed food to be my best friend.

By the time I was in high school, I was 5’3″ and weighed close to 180 pounds.  It was at this time that I tried my first real attempts at losing weight.  I joined Weight Watchers with my sister and a friend, and we were all quite successful.  I managed to get down to a weight, where I now blended in with school friends, instead of being the “large girl out”.

But this battle was far from over.  By the time I was in my early 20’s my weight had ballooned to over 200 pounds.  I shudder to think that I was heavier at this time than I was 9 months pregnant with all three of my daughters.  On such a short frame, this was a lot of weight.

It wasn’t until after my first daughter was born that I really started researching proper nutrition and exercise lifestyles, that I was able to make a healthy transformation.  But what started as healthy, eating super nutritious and exercising soon turned into another compulsion.  I constantly wore a pedometer and was rigid about how much I exercised.  I would often spend 2 hours a day exercising and even then I didn’t think I had done enough.

Then I got pregnant again and I relaxed my diet and allowed myself to enjoy my pregnancy.  I went back up to close to 200 pounds again. After my second daughter was about 8 months old, the old exercise/get fit compulsion took over.  I was obsessed with getting fit.  I had a motto “130 by 30”.  I was determined to get down to 130 by my 30th birthday.

IMG_0446 (2)

At my lowest weight! 136 pounds.

 

 

I was training for my 5th 1/2 marathon at this time, looking and feeling fantastic (despite still not thinking I was achieving enough).  I got down (my lowest ever as an adult) to 136 pounds.  Looking back at pictures, I thought I looked amazing, but in reality I wasn’t satisfied.

I lost my “DD” chest and was at this time a saggy B.  As a gift, my husband agreed to me getting a boob job, to restore my previous, large and glorious “Tatas”.  Getting the boob job was probably one of the worst choices I ever made.  If I could go back and change anything, it would be to never have done this surgery.  It’s not that they didn’t look good, because they looked great, but because I started experiencing health issues I hadn’t previously had.

It was probably a coincidence in timing but a ton of anxiety, heartburn and other issues followed within a few weeks of my operation.  I could no longer even think about health and fitness, because I was so stressed out thinking about my health, and being angry at myself for having the surgery.

Within a couple of years I gained back 30+ pounds and then I got pregnant, with my darling baby.  Since I had already gained a lot of weight prior to my pregnancy, I did my best to not gain an exorbitant amount while pregnant.  When I gave birth, I was still slightly under 200 pounds.

Preg Pic

About 7 months pregnant.

After my daughter was born, I had one health problem after another.  I ended up getting a capsular contracture in my left breast implant, which is basically scar tissue built up around the implant.  This was from breastfeeding, and now give me a very lop sided appearance. So eventually, I’ll need to have my implants removed and I’m fine with that.

After dealing with multiple doctors making sure that it was only capsular contracture and not something more serious I now had new worries to deal with.  I had back to back viruses that really dealt a blows to my immune system after rounds of antibiotics.

Suddenly I was dealing with a new illness that I’ve never had before. I had symptoms of something called silent reflux which is constantly having thick mucous at the back of my throat, constant throat clearing, and feeling like I always have something stuck in my throat.

Sept 15'

Sept 15′

This brings me to a couple of months ago  where this new journey begins. I am determined to make myself happy and healthy. Researching all the time after different doctors told me they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. Determined that I have to fix the underline issue…because I cannot live like this for the rest of my life. I’m a firm believer that health issues are largely caused by what one is consuming.

So not knowing exactly what is causing my horrible post nasal drip symptoms, I believe it has something to do with my gut health.  For the first time in my life, I’m not focused on my weight, but rather my health.  I now will no longer measure progress by pounds on a scale (however that will be a bonus!), but rather by if my health returns to what it once was.  I’m positive that I will be able to bring about a full recovery and make myself healthier than I’ve ever been.

I started first by trying a low fat/low acid diet but didn’t see enough progress with that diet, so it was back to the drawing board.  I then tried a Paleo and no sugar diet for a couple of weeks.  Between this and the low acid diet, I managed to drop about 20 pounds in a little under 2 months, with nothing else other than diet change.  But these diets were super strict.  Stricter than I’ve ever done before (even when I was training for 1/2 marathons.

A few days ago, I celebrated my 36th birthday and it was the first year I wasn’t able to celebrate with food.  Imagine that, a celebration sans cake! Oh, it was so depressing.  I sat eating dinner out at a restaurant, me only able to eat lettuce and a bit of grilled salmon, while my family all devoured what looked insanely good (even the red velvet birthday cupcake that was brought to the table).

After throwing a mini pity party for myself, I decided to put back on my big girl pants and try and research more to find something that would work to clear my symptoms and leave me feeling energized and happy.  I didn’t enjoy the Paleo diet (coming from a vegetarian background).  I wanted to go back to a non-meat type diet, but one that had results to cure what I believe is ailing me.

So I came across a diet called 80 10 10, which is a low fat raw vegan diet. The thought of being able to eat fruits made me do a happy dance and I figured it was worth a try. The other strict diets weren’t working, so I may as well give this one a go.  I’m now on day 4 of this diet.  I’m determined to give it at least 2-4 weeks and see how my symptoms go, before I make any other changes.

Jan 29, 2016

Jan 29, 2016

So far, I’m enjoying this food.  I eat fruit all day and a big salad at night.  It’s strict, but compared to what I had been eating, I feel like I’m at a heavenly buffet, munching on the fruit of the gods.  I haven’t seen a subside in my symptoms however, so I’m cautiously observing before I get too in love with this eating plan.

I invite you to share in my journey to wellness.  Please click the “FOLLOW” button if you’d like to have updates on me getting healthy, fit and well.  I hope to be an encouragement to anyone else that may need it.

 

Valentines Day Chocolate Tutorial!

image

Easy Valentines Day Chocolate gifts:

I love making chocolate for friends and family. I don’t do it nearly enough, but when I do, I make sure that the chocolate looks just as good as it tastes.

One of my all time favorite things to make are delicate rose or heart suckers; both a perfect option for Valentines Day. These are not only super easy to make, they look amazing when they are finished!

image

Here are the supplies you will need to make these:
1) a heart or rose shaped candy mold (I use Wilton)-they sell these at most craft stores and even some Walmarts.
2) lollipop sticks
3) small candy bags
4) tulle
5) ribbon
6) chocolate melts-once again, I like to use Wilton candy melts

7) optional * if you opt for a rose mold, then get some floral tape to wrap around the stick for a more authentic look
8) optional *but definitely gives it an extra WOW factor* an accent piece, such as a small confetti or medium sized fake flower.

STEPS:
1) heat the chocolate. Pour a small amount of chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Heat until melted. Usually only a couple of minutes for a couple of oz of chocolate.
2) Once the candy melts have melted, merely take a spoon to fill the candy molds. Fill about 3/4 of the way and gently pat the mold on the counter to smooth it out and get out any air bubbles.
3) once all the spaces in the mold are filled with chocolate, take the lollipop sticks and place them about 1″ into the chocolate.
4) after all sticks are placed in, put the filled mold into a freezer (or fridge will also work, it’ll just take longer). In the freezer, it will be about 10 min to harden, the fridge will take closer to 40 minutes.
5) once the chocolate has hardened, place some wax paper down on the counter and turn the mold upside down to release the chocolates. If they are not coming out with gentle tapping, then simply run your finger on the plastic molding and the heat of your finger will coax the chocolate out.

image
6) now it’s time to wrap your chocolate. (Please note-if you are using floral tape on the sticks, do that before putting the bags on).  Put each lollipop in a small bag and use a twist tie to close (I like to cut the twist ties in half so they won’t show up once I’ve wrapped ribbon around them).
7) Next it’s time for the fun decorating parts! Cut a piece of tulle about 8″ long and wrap it around the bottom of the lollipop.
8) Take a piece of ribbon (coordinating colors of course) about 8-10″ long and wrap a bow around the tulle.
9) For the finishing touches, hot glue a fake flower in the middle of the bow, or you can even use confetti to make a design.

I hope you enjoyed that tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions.

What are your favorite things to make for Valentines Day?

American Girl Vegetable Tray (KID CRAFT!)

image

My daughters decided to use yesterday afternoon, while the house was watching the football playoff games, to make an American Girl vegetable tray.

There are some I’ve seen on Pinterest, however I think theirs turned out even cuter!

After I saw it, I thought it was so clever that I wanted to post about it. Mostly because I love how creative my girls can be. Without any prompting they take it upon themselves to go to the art room and go to town.

image

For this veggie tray, the supplies they used were:

1-water bottle
1- bottle cap
2- colors worth of beads
3- clay colors (green, orange, blue)
1- play doh color (red)
Hot glue
White paint
Mod Podge

Steps:

1) Cut the bottom of a 16oz water bottle into about 1/2 inch circle
2) Pour white paint into the bottle cap to fill it about 1/2 way full.
3) Drop in small specks of green clay into wet white paint (this is for garnish of dressing)
4) Mod Podge the bottom of the bottle circle, and then one by one added beads.
5) created from the Play Doh and clay different shapes for veggies.
6) Mod Podge the bottom of the remaining circle area and added clay veggies.
7) Lightly Mod Podge over the clay to give it a shiny appearance
8) Hot Glued bottle cap to the base in the middle.

image

Super Easy-Super Cute!!

Pinterest Party

 

I’ve just RSVP’d to my first Pinterest Party. I love all things Pinterest and when I read that one of the homeschooling groups I occasionally participate in, had a Pinterest Party activity planned, my kids and I were all in!

So what is a Pinterest party? It’s a party based on a certain theme where the ideas for that theme are chosen off of Pinterest. Everyone contributes to the party with something they found and recreated. I’m sure most are centered around food (what party is not) and it’s a chance to whip up one of those fabulous recipes (you know those ones that make us ordinary women envious of the super talented). Once you’ve made your culinary masterpiece (or lack there of-depending on your kitchen skills), you print out a recipe card for all the party attendees, so they can hope to recreate what was the original food idea.

The party we are going to is based on food and crafts. For the food, I chose something that does not need to be cooked but is still adorable.  http://www.nobiggie.net/string-cheese-snowmen/. I figured I’d get my kids involved as much as possible (since this was an activity for them after all) and this was a perfect food item to do that. And as a double bonus, no one can complain that they don’t like my cooking!

image

In addition to the Pinterest food we are bringing, we are supposed to bring a fun craft for the other kids to complete at home. We were instructed to choose one craft but get enough supplies for 4 families. Use a large sealable plastic bag to include all of the supplies as well as the instructions.

The project I selected was a homemade Tic Tac Toe game.http://eighteen25.com/2013/07/tic-tac-toe/

image
So in the plastic bag, I put project instructions, 10 rocks (which I was fortunate to find ones in my back yard that would work), a set of bamboo sticks, a paint sponge and 3 small paints for the kids to paint their rocks.

I was thinking how much fun this type of party could be for adults as well. The ideas would be limitless. I personally would do a dessert and paint party. Find something easy to paint, get some canvases and bring some fabulous sweets. How much fun would that be?!

If you threw a Pinterest Party, what kind would it be?

Embracing Imperfection

imperfect cover

 

There is definitely a struggle in our society to be perfect. Judgement is thrown around like a hot potato, being passed from one person to another in attempts to avoid it oneself.  The quest for me to be the perfect homemaker, parent, wife, friend, daughter is exhausting…because quite simply I’m best at imperfection.

I will never be that person that has their house arranged to entertain guests at all time.  Current holiday themed decor adorning my walls at the appropriate time? Nope, not me.  I have Halloween skeleton curtains up in my kitchen that haven’t come down in two years…why?  Because by the time we remember to change them, Halloween is just around the corner again.

Gourmet meals prepared like a Pinterest photo, not in my home….oh how I envy those capable of doing so.  Nope, I struggle to come up with food to serve each night like most parents.   Rotating between a few staple meals that inevitably make the kids groan and say, “Not again”.

mom

Being a perfect parent: impossible.  Everyone who is a parent knows this simple truth.  Yes, I struggle like most to be the best I can be, but my flaws and weaknesses still surface, because I’m imperfect.  My children are well aware of my fears in life and my neurosis that make me different.  But they are mine and if I don’t accept them and laugh about them, than I’m teaching my daughters that I’m ashamed-which I’m not.  I’m accepting of them.  I’ve learned to embrace my fears because they have made me wiser, more determined and more caring towards other’s struggles.

As for wife, you will rarely find me in make-up, with a look-good-for-my-man appearance.  Not because I don’t love my husband and want to look beautiful for him or myself, but because time is short and my priorities are elsewhere.  If I took the time to look perfect in my appearance (a reality that won’t be accomplished in the ten minutes I typically afford myself), that means sacrificing time spent doing something other than what I’m passionate about.

I’m not a perfect friend.  I may forget a birthday (unintentionally of course), or may ask a few days late how something important went for them.   I may let months go by without a phone call.  None of these are because I don’t care, but because I get busy with life.  But I promise this, if my friend needs me, I’ll be there.  Anyone who is close to me knows that.

I’m not a perfect daughter.  I sometimes give harsh criticism or may not be as supportive as I should be.  I may not designate enough time for my parents, when I’m balancing my own family…But I love my parents and try my best to have integrity and kindness that they can be proud of.  I try to exemplify the good qualities they instilled in me by being the best parent I can be.

nobody perfect

In life we are spread thin enough as it is, between balancing relationships, caring for our home, work, and raising up little people to be good human beings. We need to stop aspiring to the unrealistic dream of perfection and resign to the fact- with dignity, humor and humility- that we are imperfect.

In what ways are you proud to be imperfect?

Introducing Your Kids to the Stock Market (With a FREE Printable)

Stock Cover

Last year one of my kids favorite lessons we did in school was a Stock Market project. I love teaching my kids about finance and one of the ways I expanded their knowledge was by a very simplistic introduction to Wall Street.  This project worked great as a supplemental math work as well as exposure to a financial subject normally reserved for adults.

I tried making this topic as basic as possible to accommodate my then 6 and 8 year olds growing mathematical minds. I explained that publicly traded companies had share prices.   The share prices could go up or down based on if the companies were performing good or bad (like I said, for younger kids, keep it simple).

The basics of this project was to pick 5 companies and track their share prices over the course of 6 weeks.  You can do it longer or shorter depending on your kids enjoyment.  My kids loved it so much that I’m including this subject in this years lesson plan, and we will track a new 5 company’s stock values over the course of 2016.

Last year I made the project something my kids could get excited about by offering a small monetary reward at the end based on the success of the stocks they chose. If their stocks earned, they would earn. This of course is not necessary, but it did light a fire of enthusiasm for my girls.

Here are the steps for this project:

1.  Give your kids $1000 (pretend money).  We used Monopoly money (because it’s always more fun if the kids can use props or manipulatives to learn).

2. Have the kids choose 5 products and or companies they like. *Research with them to make sure the companies are publicly traded.  (That allows them to spend approximately $200 per stock).

*Last year some of my kids choices were Boeing, Home Depot, Disney, Coca Cola, McDonald’s and American Express.

3.  Once they have chosen their 5 businesses, create a spreadsheet (or use this spreadsheet) to notate the following:  Company name, ticker symbol, share price, shares purchased, and total stock value.

4.  Once a week, have your kids look up each of their stocks and fill out the spreadsheet.  They should be documenting new share prices and their total stock value, as well as total combined earnings or losses.

5.  As an added lesson, (we didn’t do this last year, but this year we will) is to research with your child why a share price may have skyrocketed or plunged, if all other stocks stayed the same. This will give a current event perspective to this project.

I really loved doing this project with my kids. The more I can introduce them and make them aware of complicated financial matters (but in a kid friendly manner), the less intimidating the subjects will become.

At what age do you remember first learning about the stock market?

Lesson Plan- Jan 4, 2016-Jan 8, 2016

pencil

Well, the holidays are over and it’s back to school time.  I was planning on schooling through the holiday, except we had some family things come up, that took us out of town for a few days.  I thought it’s better to just wait until the start of the new week to resume.  This way my girls got a bit of a school reprieve and hopefully tomorrow we can start refreshed and ready to go.

IMG_3282

Monday, Jan 4, 2016

Math: (Individual Subject)

CG- Singapore Primary Math-Book 2B- Online test

ZG- Singapore Primary Math-Book 4A-Text pgs. 54-55

Reading: (Individual Subject)

CG-Kanani (American Girl Book)

ZG-Diary of A Wimpy Kid (book 10)

Writing (Writing With Ease Book 2):Week 10, Day 4

Language (Duolingo):2 lessons

American Girl (Josefina): Welcome to Josefina’s World (pgs. 49-50); Book 6 Chapter 1

History: Magic Tree House Viking Research Guide Ch. 1

Bible (Old Testament for Kids): pgs. 37-39

 

Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016

Math: (Individual Subject)

CG- Singapore Primary Math-Book 2B- Finish Online Test

ZG- Singapore Primary Math-Book 4A-Workbook Ex 23

Reading: (Individual Subject)

CG-Kanani (American Girl Book)

ZG-Diary of A Wimpy Kid (book 10)

Writing (Writing With Ease Book 2): Week 11, Day 1

Language (Duolingo): 2 lessons

American Girl (Josefina): Welcome to Josefina’s World (pgs. 51-52); Book 6 Chapter 2

History: Magic Tree House Viking Research Guide Ch. 2

Bible (Old Testament for Kids): pgs. 40-41

 

Wednesday, Jan 6, 2016

Math: (Individual Subject)

CG- Singapore Primary Math-Book 3A- Text pgs. 6-8; Workbook Ex. 1

ZG- Singapore Primary Math-Book 4A-Text pg. 56; Workbook Ex 24

Reading: (Individual Subject)

CG-Kanani (American Girl Book)

ZG-Diary of A Wimpy Kid (book 10)

Writing (Writing With Ease Book 2): Week 11, Day 2

Language (Duolingo): 2 lessons

American Girl (Josefina): Welcome to Josefina’s World (pgs. 53-54); Book 6 Chapter 3

History: Magic Tree House Viking Research Guide Ch. 3

Bible (Old Testament for Kids): pgs. 42-43

Thursday, Jan 7, 2016

Math: (Individual Subject)

CG- Singapore Primary Math-Book 3A- Text pgs. 9; Workbook Ex. 2

ZG- Singapore Primary Math-Book 4A-Text pgs. 56-57; Workbook Ex. 25

Reading: (Individual Subject)

CG-Kanani (American Girl Book)

ZG-Diary of A Wimpy Kid (book 10)

Writing (Writing With Ease Book 2): Week 11, Day 3

Language (Duolingo): 2 lessons

American Girl (Josefina): Welcome to Josefina’s World (pgs. 55-56); Book 6 Chapter 4

History: Magic Tree House Viking Research Guide Ch. 4

Bible (Old Testament for Kids): pgs. 44-45

Friday, Jan 8, 2016

Math: (Individual Subject)

CG- Singapore Primary Math-Book 3A- Text pgs. 10-11; Workbook Ex. 3

ZG- Singapore Primary Math-Book 4A-Text pg. 57; Workbook Ex: 26

Reading: (Individual Subject)

CG-Kanani (American Girl Book)

ZG-Diary of A Wimpy Kid (book 10)

Writing (Writing With Ease Book 2): Week 11, Day 4

Language (Duolingo): 2 lessons

American Girl (Josefina): Welcome to Josefina’s World (Finish book); Book 6 “A Peek Into the Past”

History: Magic Tree House Viking Research Guide Ch. 5

Bible (Old Testament for Kids): pgs. 46-47

 

**Special Lessons/Projects/Field Trips for the week:

Start on ZG’s lesson: London in the 1800’s

Start on CG’s lesson: illnesses in the 1800’s

New Homeschool Group Park day

Start Stock Market Project

 

Homeschooling Resolutions for 2016

image

I think the last time I made a New Years Resolution, I was still in high school. They have always seemed a bit ridiculous to me. Some lofty ideas of how I can better myself, yet never following through and feeling like a failure by January 2nd. Ok, I’ll give myself more credit, by January 10th.

But this year I’m not resolving to lose an extra ten pounds, alright fine… 20 pounds (although, that would be a bonus!), or learn how to save a little extra money (with three daughters-yeah right!), but rather I’m resolving to make my educational goals with my daughters more challenging yet enjoyable.

Something different this year that I haven’t done before, is I’m going to ask them to make a list of what they want out of school this next year. What do they want to have accomplished when they look back at the end of 2016. I will ask them to make a list of twelve things they either want to learn about or large projects they want to create.

Once they complete these twelve goals, I’ll incorporate one item from each girl’s list into our schedule for each month. I’ll pick the first week of the month to add these items into our schedule. That way we start the month off with lessons they are excited about and it should give them encouragement to go the next three weeks before there next set of “their” lesson plans.

image

Next I want to start incorporating more field trips into our weeks. Last year, I tended to stay away from a lot of field trip based days because my baby was still little and it was harder for me to get out. But now that she is a toddler (yes, still a challenge) but now she shows so much interest and enthusiasm for learning that I know these days out will benefit her as much as my older kids.

What kinds of field trips am I looking to incorporate? Well, that’s another resolution… I want to go out of my comfort zone and do things that my kids would normally not do on an average day. Not just typical museums and zoos…but ones that put me out of my comfort zone, like touring dairy farms, caverns or landfills (yes those type of tours exist for homeschoolers). Those would not be the ones I’d normally pick because they don’t peak my interest, but it’s not about me (ah shucks-I hate when I come to that realization!)

image

In addition to more adventurous field trips, I want to start trying getting together with more homeschooling groups. As an introvert myself, getting together with a large group of strangers is not something that appeals to me. Yep once again, I’ve made it about myself. That’s so easy to do, isn’t it?! But I have noticed (maybe it’s the age) but my kids are becoming a bit more shy and more timid towards meeting other kids. I want them to know how to talk to kids as well as adults (which they are already pretty good at) otherwise I’m doing them a huge disservice.

Next, I’m going to add a “Home Economics” day to our lesson plans. Chores around the house and cooking, is an area I struggle with giving up control and I know that it is not benefiting them one bit to be so dependent on me doing everything for them. I know that they will gain so much confidence by learning how to help make the meals as well as contribute to helping out more around the house. And this skill set will serve them for many years to come. Yep, their future husbands will thank me!

image

I will make one day a week where we do a shorter school day and I’ll add various domestic lessons to start getting my girls more confident in their abilities around the house. I’m hoping by the end of the year, they will be able to make a full meal for our family (with my overseeing them), as well as various chores (that I don’t currently have them helping with).

Finally, my last resolution with homeschooling will be to not be so hard on myself. Like many homeschool parents, it’s easy to beat ourselves up and think that we are not doing enough. A long term way to do this is: I want to keep all items completed from each subject on Jan 1st in a notebook and at the end of the year, keep pages from all subjects in that same notebook. That way I can look and see in a quick glance the progress they have made to remind myself how much we have all accomplished.

A short term plan to recognize our hard work and be easier on myself will be by having two days a month where I have one child teach me and their sister, by being the teacher for the day. I think this will help two fold….1) by allowing them to see how difficult it can be to teach all day long will build a greater appreciation for me. 2) teaching to other people allows them to master the subjects they are teaching.

I think these resolutions will make great additions to our next school year. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish in 2016.

What are your homeschooling resolutions?