Happy Not Back to School: Homeschool Encouragement

Monday was the first day of public school where we live. Yes, already! Can you believe it? Of course, it wasn’t our first day of homeschool, because learning never really stops around here. ūüėČ

Anyways, I LOVE the first day of public school. Honestly I am downright giddy about it. I feel like a kid skipping school. Not that I ever did that to know the feeling, of course. ?

Not every homeschool mama is doing the happy dance this week, however. All the back to school posts on social media leave some feeling sad and left out. How about you?

Ever feel pangs of envy when you see photos of kiddos with shiny new backpacks, hopping on the big yellow bus? Or perhaps you catch yourself wistfully wondering what it’s like to have SIX WHOLE HOURS to yourself? ūüėČ

Of course, public school moms get their perks too! Sure, when my kids went to public school, there were things about it I enjoyed. But in the end, it just wasn’t a fit for our family.

If you’re already homeschooling, I bet you put a lot of thought into it too. You weighed all the benefits and drawbacks and decided home education was the best fit for YOUR family. That doesn’t mean you will never doubt yourself again, but there’s also no need to wallow in thoughts that don’t benefit your purpose.¬†?¬†(Furthermore, comparing your real life to someone else’s social media life is a sure way to feel crappy about everything, so just don’t even go there.)¬†?

If you’re feeling sad, remind yourself of why you chose this path. Then, celebrate what makes homeschooling awesome!

Like…

  • Letting growing kids sleep as long as they need to.¬†?
  • Making pancakes and eggs when you would be rushing for the bus.¬†??
  • Plenty of time for kids to explore their talents.¬†??
  • Teaching your children things they will use in real life.¬†?????
  • Freedom to travel.¬†‚úąÔłŹ??
  • Empty pools for the rest of August!¬†??

What other benefits can you think of?

homeschool, homeschooling, unschooling, benefits of homeschool

Personally, the first day of public school reminds me how grateful I am. I am thankful to have the freedom to choose what method of education is best for my children. I know not everyone in the world has that freedom, and many who technically have that independence don’t give themselves the autonomy to take advantage of it. Also, I know we may not always have these privileges to this extent, which makes me contemplate how we can make the most of the time we have with our little ones. You could say that the first day of public school is my personal Independence Day, that I celebrate in my own head.¬†?

In conclusion, it’s a new year and a new chapter in our lives that WE get to write. Exciting!!! What will you design for your family this year? ūüôā

Homeschool Musical

Very exciting news. We have a new addition to our family. Meet… um…

Oh yeah, it doesn’t have a name. Earl is my first instinct… hmm. Okay, for now we’ll just go with Piano.

Meet The Piano!!! 

homeschool, music, music appreciation, piano

I have no idea how that bird got there…

So, Beau has been taking piano lessons for two years now. Or is it three years? I have no idea. It’s all a blur. ūüėõ Anyways, he has gotten pretty good and it was high time for him to graduate from the electric keyboard.

homeschool, piano, music appreciation, tjed, sibling rivalry

Even Finn has gotten a little more inspired to learn how to play since The Piano arrived. (He has opted not to take lessons yet himself.) In a rare few minutes of being in close proximity to each other without fighting, Beau taught Finn to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. <3 ¬†Hey, if Beau teaches the other boys we will have gotten a 3 for 1 deal on lessons… I like it. ūüėČ

Anyways, I’m really excited (and hopeful) that having The Piano will help inspire a love of music in my kids. This is something we’ve tried to do in our homeschool, despite neither of us having any musical knowledge other than how to operate an ancient artifact called the CD player. So how do we do it?

One fun and inspiring field trip we did last year was going to the symphony. I for one loved it!!! We’ll definitely be going again this year.

music, homeschool, symphony, field trip ideas

Even if some people weren’t ready for all that culture. ūüėČ

Sure, it’s embarrassing when your kid is sitting at the symphony groaning and rolling their eyes, but there have been a few moments where you just pat yourself on the back and know you’re doing this right.

One incident… er… instance that comes to mind; we were at the juice bar ordering a smoothie. Finn chose the Purple Rain smoothie off the menu and told the barista he would like “the Prince One”. “Wow! How does he even know that?!” Yup. Possibly the proudest homeschool moment of the year. He can not only read the menu but translate the pop culture references. #winning ūüėČ

Or the time we were being super cultured at home, watching classical music concerts on YouTube. No one could hide their enjoyment of the Piano Guys and their renditions of Star Wars and Mission Impossible. And I think we can all say we were moved by a stadium full of musicians playing Ode to Joy, so much so that Finn and Dash decided to join in playing. With what instruments, you may ask?

They played Ode to Joy with arm pit farts.

And I must say, although Beethoven may have been rolling over in his grave, they really have a natural gift. #proudmoments

How do you inspire a love of music in your homeschool? Share in the comments!

xoxo

Jen

 

 

 

A Lesson In Positive Thinking

So maybe you didn’t know this about me, but I’m a big fan of Positive Thinking. I suppose no one is a fan of Negative Thinking, right? From what I hear Negative Thinking is really down in the polls, yet somehow he still gets way more press time than Positive Thinking. ūüėČ

The thing is, no one likes to think negatively, and yet, it happens. Psst… here is the big secret. Whether you choose to think positively, or negatively, it is a CHOICE. What goes on in your head is under your control. Yes, there are other factors and issues, but the words that play over and over again in your head are YOUR WORDS. And maybe someone else put the recording in there, but you are the one who presses play or stop, or just DELETE.

True story! When a thought comes up that makes you feel UGH, say DELETE. Try it, you might like it. ūüėČ

So by now you’re thinking, her poor kids. They have to listen to this positive thinking garbage all day long. Right? I don’t put up with any Negative Nelly-ing.

So last night, Finn says to me “Tomorrow is going to be the WORST day of my life.” Which naturally made Positive Mom want to scream “DELETE, DELETE!!!” I mean, I didn’t because that would be nuts, even for me. Now reading this, you may be concerned that something really dire is about to happen in Finn’s life. What could it be? A root canal? A rigorous test? Is someone dying?

Take a deep breath, it is none of the above. We are going to the pool with friends.

terriblepool

 

Horrible, right? I mean, you can do things other than have giant buckets of water dumped on your head, but… Finn hates the pool. Yup. And I understand. For an introvert kid with sensory issues, the pool can be a bit much. Still, he “usually” enjoys it once he gets there.

So, instead of screaming “DELETE!” I said calmly to Finn, “Please don’t ever tell yourself ahead of time how bad something is going to be. Never choose for it to be a bad day. You have the whole day ahead of you. The pool is only a couple hours. Decide it’s going to be a good day. What else do you want to do tomorrow?”

“Go see Banana Split” replied Finn. Umm… Banana Split is a turtle we saw at a state park in Florida 3 years ago…

“Well, maybe you will see a turtle. We do have turtles around here too.”

“I doubt it.”

“Well, you never know. You never know what good things might happen.”

“I know what good thing can happen that will make it a good day.”

“Great! What is that?”

“Someone will poop in the pool, it will be closed, and we won’t be able to go.”

And with that, he drifted off into a sweet slumber, dreaming of failed swim diapers and summer festivity shut-downs. Positive thinking for the win.

nopoop

Unless you choose the poop. I don’t recommend it. Thanks for reading.

 

KonMari vs. My Brain

Hello out there! I know it’s pretty awkward, but I think it would be best if we both just ignore the fact that I haven’t written on this blog in nine months. I’m about to give you a peek inside my brain which should really explain a lot. In a few minutes you’re going to be shaking your head in pity and mumbling something like “Bless that poor child for trying.”

And try I do. On August 11, 2015 I purchased The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. (I know the date, not because I’m organized, but because Amazon wants to remind me that I already bought it.) Thanks Amazon, you’ve got my squirrel brain covered and I appreciate it.

Anyways, for about 3 months it sat on my night stand in a pile of other books. Actually Danny read it. While it’s right up his alley (as an organized person), he instinctively knew not to push me to read it, probably realizing there’s a good chance it would make my head spontaneously combust. Finally I got around to reading it on my own. Not sure what pushed me to finally spend a weekend devouring it, but it probably had something to do with a rock bottom moment where I couldn’t find a matching pair of socks.

So, being the go getter I am *cough*, I jumped into purging my dresser and closets. It was kind of a clown car situation, I removed 3 full garbage bags of clothes and still was hard pressed as to how everything would fit back in.¬†Possibly some of my problem was with KonMari’s idea that most clothing items shouldn’t be hung on hangers, but folded. Why? Because you really like to iron everything? No, because your clothes are happier folded. Perhaps like myself, you’ve been a self serving brat and put your own happiness before the happiness of your t-shirts. It’s not too late to make amends, my friend. Shirts are very forgiving, particularly if they are made of non synthetic materials.

chooseyoumust

So the folding began. I was actually quite excited to come across these amazing little videos on Gwyneth Paltrow’s site showing how to FOLD. It was like a whole new world had been opened up to me. Folding. Neat rows of underwear. WOW.

Since this is all about minimalism, I was not permitted to blow money on drawer organizers. Kind of takes all the fun out of it, right? So I cut up some boxes to use as dividers (cause otherwise those cute little origami socks will just fall over, ya know?) This brilliant move led to cardboard lint all over my clothes. Maybe that planted the seeds of dissatisfaction in my brain. And the fact that I STILL was struggling to fit everything neatly in my drawers. I know, I know. That means I did not get rid of enough. The whole theory is that if an item doesn’t bring you joy, it doesn’t belong in your home. I am all for clothes that bring me joy. The problem is when you have 6 pink tank tops and 4 of them are downright delightful. Hmm…

I was still relatively pleased with the results. And Danny thought it was so cool he decided to KonMari his own drawers as well. But as a Born Organized person, his KonMari-ing was so much more impressive than mine. His folds were so professional looking. His drawers looked like artwork, swirls of color, fabrics neatly arranged to perfection. Just looking at it made me feel panicky.

Me: “I think your drawers are giving me a panic attack.”

Him: “There really is something wrong with you.”

Kindly, he agreed to putting away his own laundry so that I wouldn’t have to feel the pressure of maintaining the Sistine Chapel of clothing storage. And I tried to KonMari the boys’ clothes too. Kind of. But before I knew it, the laundry started piling up. I was procrastinating putting it away (even more than I always did), knowing it would take SO. STINKING. LONG. to make everything into little origami burritos. The idea of folding underwear started to feel like a ridiculous time burden I was not willing to impose on myself.

Look, I know it’s awesome opening your drawers and hearing the angels sing about your perfectly arranged leggings. But it’s also pretty awesome doing other things. Like exercising, preparing food, homeschooling children, reading a book, and running a business. Heck, maybe even WRITING something. Imagine that! ūüėČ All of those things come up higher on my awesome list than folded underwear. It got to the point where I just¬†could¬†not reconcile myself to spending one iota of time on neatening skivies when I could be fulfilling a greater purpose.

I recently heard someone say that you get much better results when you embrace your strengths and run with them than you do by focusing on your weaknesses. Apparently that’s scientific, but even if it’s not I plan on running with it. ūüėČ Organization is not my strength. I still can keep myself in line by not procrastinating and by using my planner. But I’m always going to be a little (lot) crazy, a little messy, and perfectly okay with wrinkled underwear.

So I’m a KonMari dropout. I don’t like to think of it as failure, I just choked a little on greatness. ūüėČ Keep trying to be your best self, friends!

chokeongreatness

 

 

 

I’ve Just Been Here Drinking Orange Creamsicle Tea and Not Writing Anything

Well this is awkward… So I haven’t written anything since… February? Umm…

Yeah. Sorry about that. Anyways, I’m back for the moment! Consistently Inconsistent, but I’m just going to ride the wave of creative energy while it lasts. ūüėČ

So, on the list of things I should have blogged about a year ago, but didn’t: I gave up sugar and grains. Like ALL sugar and grains. Not even a drop of honey or a grain of rice crossed my lips for months. And I felt fantastic! Energetic! Alive! The sweets didn’t tempt me. I was the Goddess of Self Control!

Until I wasn’t.¬†WHAT HAPPENED?!?

Lately I have been really backsliding; my sweet tooth is back with a vengeance. (It’s¬†not so much a single sweet tooth but a mouth full of sugar vampire fangs.) I suppose it was just a little bite of this here, a little taste there… Next thing you know you find yourself standing in the kitchen with a bag of chocolate chips hidden behind your back. “What am I eating? Oh, nothing good, you wouldn’t be interested…No, no, you don’t smell chocolate, Silly!…” Mmmhmm…

SIGH, once an addict always an addict. Like last weekend I thought I would indulge in some innocent looking organic trail mix, which was the bomb. The kind with plump cherries and dark chocolate in every bite… in a giant bag from Costco. It’s all gone now… @_@

After the Trail Mix Gluttony it was a downward spiral. Fast forward through a week of devil-may-care eating, I find myself rifling through the laundry looking for stretchy pants because nothing else is comfortable. Has that ever happened to anyone else, or is it just me who can gain 7 pounds in 7 days?

Never fear, dear reader, my pants will zip again! One thing I’ve found out about myself is I MUST HAVE TREATS. Either I will eat them, or bad things will happen… Trust me on this, okay? But ideally, those would not make me bust out of my clothes faster than the Incredible Hulk. And one of my favorite indulgences over the past year has been my tea. Yeah, yeah, I hear your collective groaning. TEA?!? REALLY?!? How good can stinking TEA be, Jennifer, that it is going to stop me from eating a Costco size bag of chocolate trail mix? First, word to the wise: Don’t buy the trail mix. The trail mix is pure evil disguised with a USDA organic seal. It will ruin you. And I want more… I wonder if they still have it? Wait, where was I? Oh, yes, the TEA.

The tea is GOOD. I mean, amazing, really. This is how I make it:

Arbor Teas Vanilla Almond Rooibos (This is THE TEA. Do not ask me if you can use another tea. Do what you want in your kitchen, but this IS. THE. TEA. Capiche?) ūüėČ SO… I make a cup of this tea with hot water and all, very complex, I know. But then the magic comes in:

  • A drop of stevia (to taste)
  • Grass Fed Half and Half or Heavy Cream or Full Fat Coconut Milk (As much as you want! Yay for fat not making us fat!!!)
  • A drop or two of Young Living Orange Essential Oil

Give it a stir and enjoy! Whether I am craving something sweet or am just a little hungry in between meals, some creamy-sweet- Young-Living-oiled tea totally hits the spot. We all know that tea has so many health benefits, plus add in the extra goodness in the Orange Essential Oil and you have a delicious drink that supports wellness too. ūüôā I know I feel and look better drinking this than back in my days of Hardcore Starbucks Addiction. Oh, and not to mention this choice leaves a little more coin in my pocket!

Young Living, Orange Essential Oil, Tea, Oily Families

So I hope you enjoyed this little idea for Orange Creamsicle Tea! I’ll write again soon and let you know if I can fit into my pants again yet. Maybe. Unless I don’t. Sign up for notifications and let it be a surprise. ūüėČ

Oh, and I’m ASSUMING you already have your Young Living oils? WHAT?!? YOU DON’T?!? Well that’s just crazy. If you are ready to finally jump in I would love to help you. Because while I’m a terrible blogger I’m actually pretty good at supporting people on their journey to wellness. ūüėČ So take advantage of the special Young Living is offering until August 14th and get $10 off your Premium Starter Kit! This is such a rare opportunity, the kit is already deeply discounted and almost never goes on special! And hey, I’m just feeling super generous so if you sign up on my team with your own Premium kit in July I will send you a free bottle of Orange as a thank you gift. Thanks for reading!

Oily Families, Young Living, Premium Starter Kit Special

Pirates, Dinosaurs, and Dogs: Great Books for Boys

Let’s talk books. ¬†Finding great books for boys has been a challenge for me. ¬†Everything I loved when I was a kid is met with “GIRLS??? WE DON’T WANT TO READ ABOUT GIRLS!!!”

Little House on the Prairie? ¬†“NO!” ¬†The Secret Garden? ¬†“NOO!” ¬†Little Women??? ¬†“NOOOO!!!”

Just when I was starting to lose all hope, my mom brought over¬†Treasure Island¬†.¬†Low and behold, they actually sat mesmerized through the first three chapters. ¬†Beau’s reaction said it all: “That book is so THRILLING!”

Thrilling!?! ¬†Now that’s a rave review! ¬†Did Finn like it too? (Finn liking a book is akin to Mikey liking the breakfast cereal, know what I mean?) ¬†Well, he doesn’t readily admit to “liking” anything, but he did immediately start making a Lego pirate ship, which he had to play with in the bathtub. ¬†He was pretending that the ship was sinking and the Lego pirate guys were fighting in the water. ¬†I said “Oh no, I hope they have a life boat!” Finn replied, “No way, this is like old times, Mom. ¬†Before they had stuff like that. ¬†Like IN THE EIGHTIES.”

great books for boys

Yup.  In the Eighties.  Lean times it were for ye landlubbers.

Here are a few other books the boys have loved, occasionally even to the point of admitting it. ūüėČ

Dinotopia, A Land Apart from Time
The illustrations in this book are seriously amazing. ¬†“I wish Dinotopia was a real place and I could live there” gushed Finn. ¬†Yes, Finn gushed. ¬†And if that isn’t a rave review I don’t know what is.

Dinotopia, The World Beneath

After devouring the first Dinotopia, the next in the series was an obvious choice! ¬†Right now we’re about halfway through it. ¬†You never know if a sequel is going to be as good as the first, but so far The World Beneath does not disappoint.

Because of Winn-Dixie
This was a random pick from the library. ¬†Beau sat down and read the whole thing in one sitting. ¬†This is the FIRST TIME Beau has ever been so engaged in a book that he could not put it down. ¬†Welcome to The Voracious Readers Club, Beau, it’s good to have you with us. ūüôā

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread
This one is by the same author as Because of Winn Dixie, Kate DiCamillo. ¬†I am now of the opinion that you can hardly go wrong with her works. ¬†I had no idea a story of “A Mouse, A Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread” could be so moving. ¬†Finn claimed not to care for it, but he would still yell “PAUSE!” when I was reading and he needed to leave the room. ¬†Paying more attention than he would like to admit??? ¬†Mmhmm…

My Side of the Mountain 
This is our current family read aloud, recommended by my husband as one of his childhood favorites.  I cannot be held responsible if your kids want to run away from home and live in a hollowed out tree after reading it.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
This has been one of my all time favorites to read aloud. ¬†I remembered it from my own school days, but I had no idea until I was a boy momma just how exciting snakes and mongooses fighting could be. ¬†My eyes have been opened. ūüôā BTW, it’s zero dollars on Kindle right now. You’re welcome!

So, there you have it, a few of our favorite books for boys, tested by some of the world’s pickiest little readers. ¬†And if you happen to overhear my kids singing “Yo ho ho and a Bottle of Rum”, you’ll know where they got it from. ¬†Of course these picks aren’t JUST for boys, I’m sure your girls would enjoy them too! ¬†(I know I did!)

So, what are you reading lately?

great books for boys

Beau and Finn wrote their names in the dinosaur alphabet during our reading of Dinotopia.

*Disclosure:  This post includes Amazon referral links.  When you shop through them your price remains the same, but The Ordinary Chaos gets a small token of gratitude from Amazon.  Thanks for helping support our site!

 

 

Back in the Saddle: A New Homeschool Schedule

Well, it’s the¬†¬†first¬†second¬†third¬†fourth Monday of January, and we are officially ready to get our Awesome on in 2015! Yippee! ¬†Okay, so as my strikethroughs might have indicated, I started writing this a week¬†two¬†three¬†four weeks ago.¬† This is getting ridiculous. ¬†But the Be Awesome in 2015 plan is still in effect, despite my inability to write more than one post per month.

After the purest form of slothfulness that was December, it felt good to get into our routine again. ¬†No one really fought it, shockingly enough, not even Dash. ¬†Sure there was the whole Walrus Stampede incident. ¬†Word to the wise, don’t run the Vitamix when there’s a walrus herd nearby…

homeschool schedule

I suppose I could elaborate on the stampede incident, but I’m just going to let your imagination do the work on this one.

I’m even more pleased to tell you that only once was blood drawn recently; during our Free Learn Time, which understandably was mistaken for Free For All Time. ¬†Since things are going so smoothly, at least when we aren’t being trampled by flippered marine mammals,¬†I thought I would share our current homeschool schedule! ¬†Not that our schedule is perfect, but I did recently revise it and I’m pretty pleased with how it flows. ¬†The idea was to structure for Awesomeness while also allowing for Human Weakness and avoiding Bone Crushing Exhaustion. ¬†Sounds promising, does it not?

So, without further ado, I present to you:

-Our Daily Schedule-

{7-8 am} ¬†Bible Reading:¬† If you aren’t still asleep (which you can be if you’re a kid), you are doing some personal Bible study.¬†BTW, I finally came up with this inspired idea after long struggling with certain people getting up WAY to early just to stumble their bleary-eyed selves the computer or I Pad and retreat into an oblivion of laziness. ¬†So, I figured, if you’re gonna be up, you’re gonna get a good start to your day, and what better way than to get inspired by some Scriptures? ¬†If you’re not up for it yet, stay in bed until…

{8-9 am} ¬†Breakfast, Wash Up, Brush Teeth, Get Dressed:¬†(Or if you are Finn, at least get yourself some clean pajamas. ¬†He’s a hard sell on “clothing”.) ¬†Don’t judge! ¬†I promise you he will not be wearing pajamas to work as an adult. ¬†Or he will make sure he’s the boss, just so he can show up in his man sized Hanna Pajamas.

{9-10am} ¬†Chores:¬† As much as it’s a pain in the rear, I try to make this “Family Work” where we work together on stuff instead of dividing and conquering. ¬†Because dividing usually means people forget what they were supposed be doing until they are found 20 minutes later in a pile of Legos, giving conflicting accounts about how they got there and what happened to cleaning the toilet. ¬†I also made a chore chart listing what needs to be done each day of the week. ¬†The boys like to look and see what jobs there are and plot how to get out of the worst ones. ¬†Winning!

{10-11am} ¬†Problem Solvers: ¬†This is really math time. ¬†But when I typed up the schedule I thought “Problem Solvers!” with an exclamation point sounded much more appealing. ¬†It’s all in the presentation, people.

{11am-12pm} ¬†Lunch & Read Aloud:¬† ¬†I’m not being cryptic here. ¬†They eat, I read to them. ¬†Or if I’m hungry, we all eat and then we read together.

EVERYONE loves read aloud hour. Um, where am I supposed to sit???

EVERYONE loves read aloud hour. Um, where am I supposed to sit?

{12-1pm}¬†Recess!!!: ¬†Woohoo! ¬†Er, um… not that I’m looking forward to it… it’s for the kids of course. ¬†I might use this time to catch up on some chores, paperwork, or emails.

{1-2pm} ¬†Free Learn:¬† ¬†Do you think it’s a little too close to Free For All? ¬†Maybe I need to rethink this…. ¬†Anyways, this is the time when we would do a science experiment or a project, but its fateful epithet was coined because this is primarily the time to research what you are interested in. ¬†For example, when no brawls are breaking out, Beau has been using his Free Learn time to practice piano and read up on how to train a puppy. ¬†Since we still haven’t gotten our dog, he is practicing on Dash. ¬†“Sit, Dash! ¬†Stay!” ¬†I told him Dash is not a dog. ¬†He said he’s trying to “handle” him. ¬†We really need to get a dog…

{2-3pm} ¬†Quiet time & Snack: ¬†After snack the boys can either read or write. ¬†We just got a brand new case of our favorite blank books so story writing is in full swing. ¬†On a perfect day, I would also be able to study or write during this hour. ¬†Let’s just say I am still working out the finer details of making that happen. ¬†(Hence, the month-in-the-making post.) ¬†It may involve hiring a full time maid. ¬†Who will work for free. ¬†Know anyone?

{3-4pm} ¬†Screen Time: ¬†Beau has been working on Scratch, the site from MIT designed to teach kids programming. ¬†Finn has been working on a variety of Angry Birds applications. ¬†Hey, you can’t win them all.

¬†After 4pm it really is Free For All Time. ¬†And make dinner time. ¬†I would like to start bringing the older boys in to learn dinner prep, but at this moment I’m starting to hyperventilate just thinking about it. ¬†Some might call this a short term gain for a long term loss. ¬†Or lazy parenting. ¬†I prefer to call it self preservation. ¬†Look, I need my moments of peace and quiet, occasionally punctuated as they are by melees and cries that Dash is stinky. ¬†Baby steps, baby steps…

So that’s it. ¬†I mean sure, we eat dinner, get bathed, read, go to bed, get up and ask for snacks, go back to bed, get up again, ask to build with Legos because we aren’t tired, etc. ¬† But I’m not anal enough to make a written schedule for that. ¬†And if I had one, it would take me until March to tell you about it.

You know what hasn’t happened much in January? Yes, like, besides writing? Exercise! I feel all squishy and yet completely unmotivated to rectify the situation. I need more sunshine, really. Don’t we all! So now you know what I need to improve on in February. More workouts, less melees, more seating availability for story time. How about you? How’s 2015 treating y’all? Drop me a note and let me know!

Feeling Ambitious: Goals for 2015

Okay, I’m not really feeling very ambitious today. ¬†I have a headache from eating sugar. ¬†And gluten. ¬†And beer with gluten and sugar. ¬†I mean drinking beer, not eating it. ¬†But UGH. ¬†And I think I broke my toe last night walking into a vacuum cleaner. ¬†I sound like a hot mess, do I not??? ¬†Don’t worry, I’m NOT going to show you a picture of my toe. Danny said it’s the worst thing he’s ever seen. ¬†He exaggerates. ¬†It is only mildly grotesque. ¬†I’ve been putting Panaway oil on it, which is helping. ¬†But let’s just say I probably won’t be wearing these lovelies this weekend:

2015 goals

Aren’t they pretty? ¬†Even in a size 10 1/2? ¬†You know, it’s not easy finding a size 10 1/2 shoe, particularly a PRETTY size 10 1/2 shoe that doesn’t look like they were borrowed from Hulk Hogan. ¬†Seriously, I have to compete with the cross dressers for what few are available and we all know cross dressers have impeccable taste in footwear. ¬†NO??? ¬†Isaac Mizrahi and Nordstrom’s Semi-Annual Sale took care of me on this one though. ¬†Now I just have to get the swelling down enough to fit into them again…

Alright, alright. ¬†I didn’t decide to brush off the old computer JUST to talk to you about where to buy pumps if you’re Xena the Warrior Princess. ¬†While I’m not into “New Year’s Resolutions”, there is something about a shiny new year that really does make you want to start fresh and do big things!

Yeah, yeah. ¬†So what if I probably said the same thing last year? ¬†I could look, but that wouldn’t be very productive now, would it??? ¬†It’s time to look FORWARD, people!

So, I really have been feeling pretty goal oriented lately, at least when both my feet are working and I’m not in a sugar coma. ¬†Here are some of my plans for 2015!

1) ¬†Get Dash potty trained! ¬†He’s THREE now y’all! ¬†Can you believe it? ¬†We started potty training and he is none too happy about it. ¬†Take for example, yesterday, when I caught him about to sneak off to his room about to do You Know What. ¬†I put him on the big boy potty, much to his chagrin.

“You Poopy Jerk!” (He was directing this insult at his duck faced¬†(don’t ask) potty seat.) ¬†Of course, I chided him for his nasty talk.

“I’m just SO ANG-GWEE!” Dash explained in his eloquent toddler lisp.

“How about if we get you a treat when you’re done?”

He raised an eyebrow. “A tweet?”

“Sure!”

He thought for a moment before replying, “Two tweets.”

Do you ever feel like your being played???

2) ¬†So, now that you see I have my hands full with Goal 1, on to our family goal for 2015… We are getting a DOG!!! ¬†If you were thinking I should complete Goal 1 before moving on to Goal 2, you are wise, my friend, very wise. ¬†But we’ve got serious puppy fever here. ¬†There was great disappointment today when we found out “Millie”, a precious Pointer mix pup had been adopted before we could get our application in. ¬†Of course I am happy that Millie has found a home, but OH, we were so looking forward to meeting her! ¬†Some of us wanted to cry and some of us did cry. ¬†I will not name names. ¬†But, alas, there are many more dogs in the world and we will keep looking for ours. ¬†Danny has in mind a smallish terrier. ¬†I have read up on terriers and while they are cute as can be, I just keep envisioning one terrorizing me and my Isaac Mizrahi pumps… I tried to talk some sense into him.

“It’s just that terriers seem a little intense…”

“Jennifer, YOU’RE intense.”

Touch√©. ¬†I am intense, but I don’t eat shoes. ¬†Although when I was a child I apparently had a habit of chewing on wood… explains a lot, does it not?

Anyways, a furry friend is in our future and hopefully my patent leather lovelies will be spared any harm.

3) ¬†WRITE!!! ¬†Well, you knew that was coming. ¬†I have thought a few times this year about just shutting this silly blog down. ¬†But darn, I really dig having it. ¬†And I do have things to share with y’all. ¬†Perhaps it’s not so much about the writing itself, as the doing what one is passionate about. ¬†It’s true, I’m intense and intensely passionate about a lot of things. ¬†And what gets me even more fired up is sharing my passions in a way that helps others, whether it be by making you laugh about dog poo or helping you break your sugar addiction or teaching you how to use essential oils. ¬†I’m a multi faceted individual. ūüėČ ¬†Anyways, maybe what goal #3 is really about is being more of my authentic self; a writer, a teacher, and a raving lunatic.

I really hate that I never got around to telling you about the time we spent on a deserted island after the plane crash... Oh well.

I really hate that I never got around to telling you about the time we spent on a deserted island after the plane crash… Oh well.

4) ¬†Hmmm… You know what? Forget #4. ¬†I had more ideas, but maybe that’s enough to start with. ¬†Because when I get overwhelmed my brain starts to feel all sticky and cotton candy like.

I will say I have used this past year WELL, even though I didn’t get around to writing about it. ¬†My health is much improved (when I don’t eat naughty things, which I usually don’t, HONEST!!!) ¬†I really have more energy and better clarity of mind than I have had in forever. ¬†And you all know that Brain Fog is a writer’s worst enemy, so just getting rid of the feeling of having cotton candy where my brain once was is a step in the right direction.

So, maybe it’s just the sparkly-ness of the new year, or the fact that I finally have a steady supply of my favorite Young Living oil, VALOR. ¬†(Fist bump to those of you who know what I’m talking about.) ūüėČ ¬†But either way, I’m feeling ready to make it a great 2015 where I will be cleaning up less kid poo and more dog poo!!! ¬†It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. ¬†Bring it on!

#valor #oilpower #revOILution

Detox Your Home Spring Series: No More Stinky Carpets!

Hey there! ¬†Today’s post is part of the “Detox Your Home” Spring Blogger Series. ¬†If you just clicked through from Amy’s Finer Things, welcome! ¬†I’m so happy to be part of this series which is featuring THIRTY recipes to help you kick all those nasty, harsh chemicals to the curb!

#detoxyourhome #oilyfamilies

Today I’m going to share how to make easy and frugal Carpet Deodorizer! ¬†I’ve been Green since before Green was hip. ¬†But there was a time when even I was green to being Green. ¬†Back then, my cleaning repertoire included sprinkling the floors with powdered “carpet potpourri” and letting the stench… er, scent… permeate real nice before vacuuming. ¬†Ah, I can almost still choke on the toxic chemical fragrance just thinking about it.

“Now REALLY, Jennifer. ¬†You’re one of those freaks who can’t deal with chemicals. ¬†Toughen up, it’s NOT that bad.” ¬†Hey. ¬†Who just said that???

Okay, listen up, Cynical Mystery Reader, let me tell you how I came to banish carpet potpourri from my home.  See, we had this little fur baby named Phoebe, a precious little seven pound Italian Greyhound.

detox your home #detoxyourhome #oilyfamilies

Poor Phoebe was a sickly little thing. ¬†She was would regularly have fits of wheezing, choking, and snerveling. ¬†(If you’ve ever heard a dog snervel you know what I mean, even though spell check insists that snervel isn’t a real word.) ¬†Oh, and she would puke. ¬†A lot. ¬†Which of course required more carpet deodorizing…

I think it was my husband who suggested that perhaps the carpet deodorizer was exacerbating Phoebe’s problems. ¬†What? ¬†REALLY??? ¬†I don’t think I believed it. ¬†I mean, if it wasn’t safe Walmart wouldn’t sell it to us, right? ¬†Hmm…

Well, just in case, I stopped using the carpet potpourri. ¬†Wouldn’t you know it, Phoebe stopped the wheezing, choking, puking, and yes, she even stopped snerveling. ¬†Perhaps you are skeptical that carpet deodorizer could really cause a dog to snervel. ¬†I mean, even our furry friends have to enjoy taking a deep breath of chemically concocted Peach Blossoms, or delighting their olfactory systems with the lab created scent of a Tropical Island Escape? ¬†No???

If you’re doubtful as to whether chemical fragrances could be harmful, check out this study, which evaluated whether or not fragrance products could produce acute toxic effects in mammals. ¬†Here’s an excerpt: ¬†“The emissions of these fragrance products caused various combinations of sensory irritation, pulmonary irritation, decreases in expiratory airflow velocity, as well as alterations of the functional observational battery indicative of neurotoxicity. Neurotoxicity was more severe after mice were repeatedly exposed to the fragrance products.”

That’s science talk for the mice were snerveling, y’all.

But seriously! ¬†As I took it, my little dog was like a canary in the coal mine. ¬†If chemical fragrances weren’t good for her, they weren’t good for us people either. ¬†Alas, I thought I would be forever banished to a life without pleasant aromas. ¬†But as it turns out, pleasant aromas existed in nature before labs started making them!!! ¬†Who knew??? ¬†Why, you can even buy them in the form of essential oils. ¬†They come in cute little bottles and smelling them makes you feel better instead of worse. ¬†So, here’s how to make your very own Carpet Deodorizer, scented only with pure essential oils!

detox your home #oilyfamilies

CARPET DEODORIZER

  • 2 Cups Baking Soda
  • 20-36 drops of Young Living Essential Oil

Place in an air tight container and shake well before each use.  Sprinkle over carpets before vacuuming.  I used 20 drops of Purification, which as I have said before, is my favorite YL blend for all things stinky.  Other suggested oils include Lavender, Geranium, Joy, Evergreen Essence, or Rosemary with Eucalyptus.

The time to test the recipe came after I made a grisly discovery in our guest room.  My toddler is at that age where he takes delight in undressing himself.  In this case, he undressed himself and shoved his used diaper in the closet.  Possibly weeks ago.  EEEWWW!!!

*gag* GET THE PURIFICATION! *gag*  QUICK!!!

I have to say, the scent really freshened up the place, which was no small task.  Another win for essential oils!

This recipe is courtesy of a great little booklet called The Chemical Free Home by Melissa Poepping, CNHP. ¬†Thanks to Melissa for letting us use your recipes! ¬†This little book is a fantastic resource for detoxing the home! ¬†And guess what? ¬†We are all offering a FREE copy of The Chemical Free Home to anyone {in the U.S.} who signs up with a Young Living wholesale membership premium starter kit now through April 7th!! ¬†Click here to learn more or contact the person who introduced you to the ‚ÄúDetox Your Home” Spring blog series! ūüôā

Next up is Kristi at Creative Kristi! ¬†If you have cats, you’re REALLY going to want to check out her post!

Be sure to check out all thirty posts in the “Detox Your Home” Spring blog series! ¬†You’ll find all the links here¬†courtesy of our hostess, Myra @My Blessed Life. ¬†Thanks for reading!

 

Keeping Boys Busy: The One With Play Dough and Puppets

Hey there! ¬†What have you been up to? ¬†Us? ¬†Oh, just the usual fun, keeping boys busy…

Don't you just love Play Dough???, keeping boys busy

Don’t you just love Play Dough???

Never mind.  I hate Play Dough., keeping boys busy

Never mind. I hate Play Dough.

Yup, so that’s pretty much what we’ve been up to. ¬†Clean the Play Dough up. ¬†Get the Play Dough back out. ¬†Clean it up. ¬†Get it out. ¬†Clean it up. ¬†Say were not going to get it out. ¬†Cry about it. ¬†Get it out. ¬†Cry about cleaning it up. ¬†Clean it up… but somehow it’s never quite gone. ¬†Look, I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I SWEAR that the bits of it appear on the floor overnight while we’re sleeping. ¬†Even though I swept before bed, in the morning I will inexplicably find the kitchen sprinkled with colorful bits of dough. ¬†How did I miss them? ¬†Were they stuck to the ceiling with gravity slowly working them back to Earth? ¬†Or is Dash up during the night playing while we sleep??? ¬†Hmm… it’s not an implausible theory…

Anywho… ¬†I promised you all pictures of our Sea Animal Stick Puppets project, and I know you were just waiting on the edge of your seat to see how they turned out. ¬†No???

seapuppetscollage, keeping boys busy

Hey, is that Manty-Manty? ¬†Or Manty-Manty-Manty??? ¬†It’s so hard to tell.

Aren’t they cute? ¬†This is what we used to make the puppets:

  • Poster board
  • Felt
  • Google-y Eyes
  • Yarn (for walrus whiskers)
  • Glitter Glue
  • Wooden Dowels
  • Tongue Depressor style sticks

Additional supplies:

  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Pencils

This is an easy peasy project!  First:  draw animals with pencils on poster board, cut them out.  Next: trace poster board animals on felt and cut them out.  Hot glue the felt cut outs onto the poster board cut outs.  Hot glue eyes and decorations (like walrus whiskers and manatee snouts) onto the felt.  Let them dry a bit, turn over the puppets and glue tongue depressors on the back, along with wooden dowels on the larger puppets.

Notice in the bottom right photo we had to touch up the glue where Dash was already tearing his apart. ¬†Perhaps these puppets AREN’T two year old proof. ¬†But really, what is??? ¬†Lastly, we decorated with glitter glue. ¬†Okay, that was just me and my mom, getting carried away with decorating the turtles. ¬†Even grown ups gotta have some creative fun, right?

Well, that was last week’s art class! ¬†Everyone enjoyed it! ¬†This week, the boys drew tree houses, which of course included things like laser beam security systems, elevators, and walrus pools. ¬†Because if there’s one thing we’re good at around here, it’s Thinking Big. ¬†And thinking about walruses. ¬†Yeah.

Well, I’ve got plenty more big thoughts to share with you all, even some that aren’t about walruses. ūüėČ ¬†But right now I’m going to check the ceiling for Play Dough.

Talk to you soon,

Jennifer