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Taking a Break from Homeschooling

Stopping to enjoy the summer, relaxing and becoming rejuvenated will do worlds of good for you and your homeschool. I know the temptation is to dive right into looking at catalogs and begin to think about the next year. But, what about taking a mental vacation for a while?  How about doing something you enjoy or doing something that will encourage you? If you like to read, this book comes highly recommended and I just ordered it for myself!

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie is a great encouragement to us. This short book has words of wisdom to help in the homeschool journey.

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Do you like to cook or bake? What about trying out a new recipe or baking a batch of your favorite cookies? I got an Instant Pot and have been trying out some recipes this summer. Since I am not teaching and have a little more free time right now, I have been looking at recipes to make. I am not so harried in trying to get something on the table between school and trying to spend quality time with my hubby in the evenings. Can you relate? ūüôā

If you are not sure where to look for ideas,  All Recipes has a bazillion recipes to try. You can also do a google search if you have particular foods or diets to consider and you will find more food blogs that you can possibly go through in one day. How about treating yourself to an hour a day of reading food blogs? You are bound to find at least one or two that are just the kind of cook you are for you to follow. I like to check out Smitten Kitchen for vegetarian dishes.

Maybe you would like to concentrate on getting in shape. There are free apps to help you with that. Here are the ones I have on my phone currently:

  • My Fitness Pal- This can be used to be a daily food and water journal, record your workouts and the calories burned. It can also set up a plan to help you lose weight and measure your progress.
  • Cylemeter or Map My Ride- these measures how far you bike, the elevation, how many calories you burned (yay!), etc.
  • Daily Workout Apps- This free app has routines for abs, arms, butt, cardio, legs, and full workout.

What about your personal relationships with friends and hubby? Just getting to talk to another adult is a vacation in itself when you have been with your children every day. I know you love them beyond measure, but I always appreciate my children more when I have a break from them.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get together. Does your city have free summer concerts? What about grabbing a frozen yogurt or a cup of coffee? How about reading a book and then discussing the parts you enjoyed? You can always rent a movie and pop some popcorn. If you are looking for movie reviews for you or your family, Plugged In is produced by Focus on the Family and I appreciate their help in making informed decisions with movies and other media.

Have a great, relaxing week! ~Lisa ~

10 Steps to Decluttering

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I have to admit that this blog is written as a reminder for ME as I sit here at my desk suffocating under three large piles of papers that I have let accumulate since school began. I would have to admit that is about 7 months of papers, so it sounds better to say it the other way around! I have been at this for several hours and thought this would be a great time to give myself a pep talk and write this post. Perhaps you might be in the same situation as me and I can give us both ideas to power through and get things done.

  1. Do not beat yourself up! You may have a cluttered mess, but life happens and many days it is a victory to have made it through school and getting dinner on the table. Have today (or this week) be the time you get things decluttered so you can have a clean slate. No condemnation or guilt; it does not help!
  2. Break the task into smaller tasks. I am just going to tackle putting all of the papers in one pile away before I tackle the other two piles. I think by filing papers where they belong I will see some progress and it will encourage me to continue. If you are not working on papers, but clutter throughout your house, start with one area of your home.
  3. Set a goal. This morning I want to get the largest stack of papers put away and I plan on coming back this afternoon and filing the other two piles. What is your goal? To see the kitchen sink again? That is a great goal! Put the dishes in the washer or wash them while having some of your favorite music playing.
  4. Set the timer. I am setting the timer for one hour and see how much I can finish in 60 minutes. I am going to reward myself by taking a 10-minute break before I go back to tackle the clutter.
  5. Find a place to put things. “A place for everything and everything in its place.” is a great adage. Since I am working on papers I am putting things in binders- particularly two subjects that I teach. I told Dale that I have probably been responsible for the harvesting of a small forest with all of the papers I have for my classes. Think of a system that will work for you and stick with it.
  6. Throw away, give away. If you are decluttering, ask yourself, “When is the last time I used this?” If you really haven’t used it within the last few months consider giving it away or throwing it away. I have one trash bag next to my desk for the papers that I will put in the recycling bin when I am finished. I feel better knowing that they will be recycled instead of wasting them and throwing them away.
  7. Put away. Discipline yourself to put away whatever it was you got out. Is your family contributing to the clutter? Set the timer for 15 minutes at the end of the school day and have everyone assigned to an area. Play lively music and have everyone clean up for that amount of time. By making it short and lively everyone can pitch in and help make your house clutter-free or less cluttered.
  8. Celebrate your success and admire your work. I admit, I NEED this because I want to feel like I didn’t just work here for several hours (or days) and not take the time to look around and savor the moments of a clutter-free area.
  9. Treat yourself! If that is calling a friend and sharing the good news of your accomplishment or sitting in the area that you just cleaned up- Do It. It will help you…
  10. Choose another area to declutter and start the process all over again!

I must get back to work while I am motivated. ūüôā PS- The above picture is not my desk, but it is close to what it looks like!

Have a great week! Lisa

 

 

The Dirty Dozen & Clean 15

No, I am not talking about the hygiene of your children. Each year, Environmental Working Group that specializes in research in the areas of toxic chemicals and other environmental issues releases a list of fruits and vegetables. These lists inform you as to which have the highest amounts of pesticides and toxins. Did you know on the 2017 list that strawberries are #1 in harmful chemicals?

I know firsthand that buying organic foods can be expensive, but I look at it this way, I would rather pay more to eat healthier than be sick and pay a doctor’s bill. I appreciate that there is a small printout that I keep in my purse and pull out when I am shopping. I can avoid paying extra for food that is fine to eat and buy organic fruit and produce that is otherwise high in pesticides.

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May you have a healthy new year!

~ Lisa ~

Breakfast Ideas for Your School Day

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With all of the details of homeschooling, it’s easy to throw something in the microwave and call it a meal. But, by carving out some time and a little bit of planning, you can have some pretty tasty meals for you and your family. I thought I’d start out by offering¬†some breakfast ideas and recipes that can either be made the night before or are quick to put on the¬†table for when your scholar arrives at the table, ready to eat.

Smoothies are my breakfast staple since a variety of veggies can be hidden within the drink and it still tastes good. The expert in our house in creating delicious smoothies is my husband, so here is one that he is currently serving. It is loaded with lots of vitamins and sweetness so even your picky eaters will enjoy it. Add a piece of whole grain toast or fruit bread to compliment this creation.

Dale’s Sweet Kale Smoothie

Servings: 2

1 handful of kale (torn bite sized pieces)

1/2 c. berries

1 carrot

1/2 c. nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/2 avocado or banana

3 Medjool dates (or 2 Tbs. honey or sweetener of your choice)

1 c. milk (cow, almond, hemp, or cashew)

Optional: Superfoods such as white mulberries, hemp seed, chia seed, or flax seed may be added, but not necessary.

Blend well and then add 10 ice cubes to give thickness to your shake. Divide drink among two cups.

Of course, you may take out the kale and add an apple or peach instead to your smoothies. Your daughter may turn up her nose at the color since it will have a slightly green tint. ūüôā

Healthy Baked Oatmeal 

Even if your son usually bulks at oatmeal, this tasty breakfast oatmeal recipe will be sure to hit the spot! Serves 12

  • 3 c. rolled oats
  • 2eggs¬†(beaten)
  • 1‚ĀĄ4 c.¬†oil
  • 1 c. milk (your choice of type of milk)
  • 1‚ĀĄ4 c.¬†¬†brown sugar
  • 1‚ĀĄ2 c.¬†applesauce¬†(or 1 mashed banana)
  • 1tsp. cinnamon
  • 1tsp. baking powder
  • 1tsp. vanilla extract

    Directions

    1. Mix together oil, sugar, and eggs.
    2. Add rest of the ingredients and thoroughly mix together.
    3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes in a greased glass 9 x 12 pan
    4. Serve warm and it is delicious topped with milk and bananas or with yogurt, berries, and other fruit.                 Source: http://www.food.com

Breakfast Pops

Here’s a great way to use those popsicle molds you have buried in the¬†pantry. ūüôā yields 10

Ingredients

  • 2 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. strawberry jam
  • 1/2 c. blueberry jam
  • 1/2 c. chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 c. blueberries
  • 2 c. Honey Nut Cheerios or granola
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, milk, honey, and vanilla until fully combined.
  2. Fill pop molds, alternating yogurt mixture with jam, fresh fruit and cereal, about 1/4 cup of each at a time.
  3. Freeze for 6 hours or up to overnight.
  4. Remove pops from freezer and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Remove from molds and serve.                                      Recipe and picture source: delish.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting School

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When thinking about the first week of school, consider easing into routines and subjects. Sometimes setting a new routine can be one of the most difficult things to do after you have had a break from school.

Consider starting school midweek. As far as setting a routine for school, I always began school on Wednesday.  That way we had three days of school instead of a full week. It was an easier transition for the children AND for me.  We could get used to the routine in a more gentle way than hitting the school year full force.

Get a good night’s sleep.¬†The day will be much better if you allow time for everyone (including you, Teacher) to get a full night’s rest. Going on little sleep makes it difficult to concentrate and focus. I know from personal experience! ūüôā

Start every day at the same time. Whether you plan on starting at 8:00 or 9:00 (or later), have everyone ready to begin school and stay consistent. The first week may be begun an hour later since you are easing into things, but I actually found that when I did that, my sons were not happy with me when they had to get up early the following week. Instead, I shortened the day that we finished school, and I made sure that emphasized that. lol

Eat breakfast. For years I would skip breakfast and then have to listen to my stomach gurgle, keep my mind on my work,  while always wishing it was lunchtime. That was not that smart and now I have my husband to thank because every morning he makes us a delicious, nutritious smoothie that he either puts on my desk or hands to me as I am flying out the door to teach. Breakfast breaks your fast and sets you on the road to teaching and learning.

Go over your schedule. I think it is good to preview the day with your daughter or son, even if you just say, “This morning we are going to be learning our numbers and practicing our ABC’s.” ¬†Your child knows what is going to be happening and you have said it, providing some accountability to yourself as well.

Begin with a few subjects. As far as subjects are concerned for the first week, I just concentrated upon reading and math. I found a good read aloud book to begin our day. With everyone beginning the school day on a pleasant note, we then went into math. Reviewing formerly learned concepts and providing successful experiences will set a positive tone for the year.

Celebrate the beginning of your new school year. You can end the day with a fun activity, a special dinner, or a board game your son or daughter likes to play.  Relax before going to bed so that you are ready to begin again.

You are a remarkable teacher and mother. You are going to have a great year!

~Lisa