Monday, March 23, 2009

Home-school Mondays, Finding a schedule that works

I remember when I use to do daycare I had a schedule. I followed that schedule precisely, mainly because it worked for the kids. I look back now and wonder why it seems as though it was easier then with six kids ( including grocery store trips with all in tow) then it is now with 3! And then in a moment of clarity I realized that I don't have a schedule now. So what? Who needs a schedule. I don't have state workers (since I was state licensed) dropping in at what ever time they wanted. I don't have parents coming in for interviews and my kids know what they can play with and cannot.
So why is it harder?

Back then I was dressed and the house was ready by 7:00am the latest, every morning Monday through Friday.

7:30 Breakfast cooked
8:00 Breakfast clean-up and wash kids hands and faces, check diapers
8-9:00 Free play
9-10:00 story time and talk about or act out the story
10:00 snack
10:30 clean up like before and then outside to play in the back yard till lunch time
11:30 Lunch
12:00 Clean up and get ready for nap time
12:30(45) - 3:00 Nap time
3:00 Change diapers, brush hair and play inside
3:30 Snack again
4:00 Free play or watch tv till parents come to pick them up

See, scheduled. And it worked. It was amazing. I look back at it in awe at how well those kids behaved. So why can't mine have days that go as smoothly? I don't have a schedule. A schedule is important not only to me but also to my kids. Kids thrive on a routine as well - it is comforting for them to know what’s next in their day, even those things they don’t like.

So here is what I am hoping to accomplish as a schedule. Lots of things can run us off the road so to speak. So now I am going to attempt to drive myself out of the ditch.

6:30 Get up and shower
7:00 Get Pumpkin up and have her get dressed and feed the rabbit, wake up
rest of kids
7:30 Breakfast
7:45 Make sure snack is packed for Pumpkin
8:00 Take Pumpkin across the street for pre-school
8:15 Get Princess and Peanut started on chores for the day while I clean up the kitchen
9:00 Start third grade home-school or have Princess start on her "Daily works" folder if I am not ready. This consists of at least an hour of work she can do on her own. More on that next week.
10:00 Snack time, they just think better if they stay fueled
10:30 Home-school lessons till it is time to go and get Pumpkin
11:30 Walk across street and get Pumpkin
12:00 Lunch time
12:45 Peanut and Pumpkin go down for a nap
12:45 Princess continues home-school, I clean up from lunch then go and help her/teach lessons
2:30/3:00 Peanut and Pumpkin are awake
3:00 Outside to play or a trip to the park to play and feed ducks
5:00 start to make dinner, kids are done for the day


I think this is do-able. I am following pretty much what we do. There are just some time constrictions. Also this helps me to see when two activities are to be done at the same time so I remember to tell Princess to go and work on school work. Ideally she would just know and she would remember to do it on her own rather than depending on her pregnant mom. Alas. She is a kid. lol

So what is your schedule? Do you have one? Share it. Maybe we can help to make each other's more efficient.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cooking with the kids Crockpot Meatloaf and Potatoes

Okay so this weeks post is not really cooking with your kids. I mean, if you wanted to they could mush up the ingredients and that would be a lot of fun for them. Mine love it! But this is more a cooking and getting to spend more time with your kids (or napping) and having a wonderful dinner.

With three kids, home-school, a business to run, dance classes to attend and another baby on the way is it any wonder that I actually own two crock pots? I love my crock pot, also known as a slow cooker.

So here is the recipe to share this week. Yummy Meatloaf and potatoes

An easy one-pot meal from the slow cooker.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds lean groud round or chuck
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped ( You can reduce this if you want, go by sight and what your family likes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons seasoned salt ( like Mrs. Dash or just use Sea Salt which is what I use)
  • 1 cup cracker crumbs or fine dry bread crumbs ( I use 1 slice of bread)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 envelope brown gravy mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 to 8 small potatoes, halved or quartered

Preparation:

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except potatoes. Shape into a loaf. Place in Crock Pot. Place potatoes at the sides of loaf. (If potatoes are peeled, wrap in foil to keep from darkening.) Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
Serves 6.

Now I must say that I have never liked what has come out of my crock pot when it was cooked on high. I always cook on low. The funny thing is that my husband always seems to forget this when he comes in to help. But he is always the one that listens and will put it back on low. :)

Also as a side note. If you are worried that your kids will not eat the veggies that are going in, substitute some of them. I love to add corn to mine. I also find that when I dice up the veggies ( as long as they are not watching ) they will eat them and not say a thing.

I will be wanting to use my crock pots more often as I get closer to my due date. Does anyone have a fabulous crock pot recipe book they would like to recommend? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Home-school Mondays I love cable

I have limited the channels that my kids can watch and where they can watch them and for good reason. Once what were safe children channels are now popping up with crude music videos with crude language between shows ( I kid you not!).

So why do I love cable? Because there are shows there that teach. Shows such as 'How it's made' and 'Rhino Rescue'. Currently we are watching Rhino Rescue together. It is heart wrenching and sad and happy all at the same time. More important it gives my kids a sense that there is more than just them and their immediate world, and to help where they can. They become aware of the just how lucky we are to live in America. Of the importance of following rules and the devastation that can occur when rules are not followed such as with poachers. It is a good lesson. It helps them to grow. It helps to further teach compassion and want to make a difference. That is why I love cable. Even though you will find my tv off more than it is on during the day. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Banana Current Bread


Being pregnant, is has not been easy lately to find food that my stomach is okay with. Sometimes all I have to do it look at it to know it will not be good for me to eat. Then I saw a picture of this Banana Current Bread and I could smell it cooking already! Is is a sweet simple snack the provides calcium, fiber and folate that my kids will eat. It also provides me with some important nutrients during pregnancy. It was a win win!



SERVES: 10
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
  • 3 large, ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup dried currants
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Whisk together first seven ingredients (all-purpose flour through salt) in a medium bowl; set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in flour mixture and mix well. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes; then fold a piece of aluminum foil in half and place loosely over bread to form a tent. Bake 30 minutes more, or until cooked through. Cool for 10 minutes in pan; remove from pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Home-school Mondays


With this pregnancy, more and more I am learning to slow it down. So what does that have to do with home-schooling? Everything.

More often then not our studies can get rushed and that really benefits no one. Not my patience, not her patience, not the attention that my other two girls need, and certainly not her retaining what she is learning. Life when she leaves me will be fast paced enough. This pregnancy has hit me with morning sickness as it is well known if you have read my blog before. But I am grateful for it. Yes, you read that right, grateful. It is making me slow down and since I have things have gotten much easier. Easier to clean the house, home-school two kids, run my business and visit the family I should be visiting more often while I can.

So that is my home-school tip for the day: Remember to slow down and smell the play-doh.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Home-school Mondays

Boy am I late! Here it is 5:00 and I am just sitting down to the computer and realize that I have not done a posting today! From the pregnancy books I have read, I should be better after the 1 trimester. Here's hoping.

My home-school thought for today is nothing new and it includes all of your family. Get everyone involved! If you are reading about the Gold Rush with your third grader then you can also read about it to your pre-schooler and toddler at the same time. Now my pre-schooler I can actually make up questions tailored to her. My toddler gets more excited if there is an art project that we thought of to go with it. She will tend to stick it out more. I am finding more and more that I like it better when I can do lessons that involve everyone and I really believe that it benefits the little ones. They get to see their sibbling behaving like a student and peanut here below like to raise her hand to answer questions. She will usually mimic what one of her older sisters said as an answer. It is so cute.

Home-school......it's a family thing.