Monday, February 28, 2011

They are Watching

Today as I was walking through our kitchen I was stopped by this row of shoes.

I have to admit my first thought was, "Why are these shoes not in the shoe basket?" Then I realized the big black shoes had been placed there first and the well worn sneakers and brown Mary Janes had been purposefully lined up right next to the black ones. 

See we can tell our children lots of things with our mouths, but their little eyes are watching what we do. So we have to be careful where we walk in our shoes, because we have little ones following right behind.

(In case you were wondering, I completely forgive the wearer of the large black shoes. After all, he left them there last night upon returning from Sonic with a Red Velvet Blast for me. It's the least I could do.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Orphans - part 2

On Monday I shared that God was showing me ways to love orphans and in turn join in His work. I want to share a few of the things he has laid on my heart.

Right Now
First he reminded me that I am helping care for orphans when I come along side friends who are awaiting the day they will bring their little girl home. They are giving an orphan a forever family. This feels more like a privilege than anything else.

Another way is to sponsor a child through Compassion International or World Vision. Not all of these children are orphans, but often without sponsorship they live like one. We have a little boy we sponsor. God has reminded me its not just about sending money so he can go to school, but also praying for him and writing to him. Letting him know we truly care about him and hope he knows how much God loves him.

Someday Soon
The next few things are next steps for me. The first is one I feel called to act on soon, volunteering at a pregnancy resource center. Now you may be thinking I thought this was about caring for orphans. Well if young mothers are not given good council and support often their babies will become orphans. Then those children will go without the unconditional love parents are meant to provide. Also, we often forget that the young mothers may be orphans themselves. They may have little to no contact with their parents and they need someone to come along side them during this scary time.

The second thing is becoming a Court Appointed Advocate through CASA. This is something that God has laid on my heart off and on for the last few years. This will still be a few years out as I feel my children need to be a little older. Check out this website for more information. These volunteers are so important.

I am not sure where this last one fits in. It is actually going on a short term mission trip to an orphanage. This was laid on my heart after I read Choosing to SEE. Mary Beth talked about holding and comforting a little baby boy who would most likely be in heaven soon. Then when I read my close friend's blog post, it was confirmed. Shawna was praying for someone to comfort her little one, and I am sure other parents are praying a similar prayer. God wants me to go hold babies, and show them what it means to be loved.

Now I wait until my little ones are not quite so little. God is meeting me each step of the way. Even though I don't see how I'll fit one more thing into my days I know when I step out in faith he will bless my small efforts. See God will use my heart for orphans. How does God want to use you?

I'll leave you with another powerful song.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Teaching Tuesday: Calendar Fun

One of my favorite resources to teach with is the calendar. It is something we take for granted, but children are often fascinated with the calendar. There are so many skills that can be introduced and practiced using the calendar. I am using a classroom calendar set I was given as a gift from my supervising teacher at the end of my student teaching experience in her classroom. I was so excited when I received it because I had been introduced to the beauty of Calendar Time in the classroom of one of my all time favorite teachers. I never sat as a student in her classroom, but she was my brownie leader and I then spent lots of my observation hours for my degree in her classroom and part of my student teaching. You could purchase one of these sets at a Teacher's Supply store or office store (I saw one at Staples this weekend). They also have several on Amazon, here is one example. You can also print a calendar from the computer or make one with poster board and cut out your own shapes for the days. even has an online calendar game.

Each day she would have the students gather around what seemed like a giant calendar for Calendar Time, it was one of their favorite parts of the day. I won't give you every detail, but will highlight a few of the things we did during that time. These are also the skills I have my kiddos practice each day with the calendar.

1. Patterns - The calendar starts blank at the beginning of each month. Then the students put up the next piece as the new day arrived. For example, right now our calendar has the pattern heart, frog, heart, frog, etc. So the kids have to decide what comes next in the pattern.

2. Number order - After the pattern has been determined, they have to find the piece with the correct number. See today would be a heart with the number 22 on it.

3. Then we determine what day of the week it is and say the date together. "Today is Tuesday, February 22, 2011." You can expand this idea by then asking, "What day was yesterday?" or "What day will tomorrow be?"

4. We also place holidays and birthdays on our calendar. Then as the day approaches we can count on to see how many days away the event is, or what day of the week it will occur on.

The repetition is great for young kids and yet they don't realize all the math and practical skills they are learning. Next week I'll show you how to introduce algebra skills with the same type of calendar. The calendar is a great way to have all the kids doing the same activity, but at various levels.

And happy 5 months Levi! You are growing up so fast. (No worries it's a play spider.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekly Challenge: Week 3

I decided I would tackle three binders, as part of this week's challenge over at Bowl Full of Lemons. I missed week 1 due to computer monitor issues, so this seemed like a great time to play a little catch up. The first two binders I had, but they needed an overhaul and the last one had been a dream of mine for some time.

1. Home Management
This one keeps all the odds and ends I need to keep track of organized. I use the binder and my Palm Pre smartphone to keep things in order. I use my phone for my daily task list, shopping list, calendar, and contacts so you won't find those sections in my binder. Also my hubby keeps track of our budget and bill paying so I didn't really need a section for finances. Here are my dividers:
  • Meal Planning
  • Schedules - like for lessons, library, etc
  • Cleaning - schedule for weekly and deep cleaning (I am trying to use a rotating schedule because I never have time to clean everything at once anymore)
  • Medical - List of doctors, their phone numbers, and prescription information for each family member
  • Blogging - a place for my ideas
  • Projects - place to keep notes on things that come and go like birthday parties
  • Small Group - my husband and I lead our small group and now I have a place to keep that information all together
 I did use some printables from Clean Mama in my menu planning, cleaning, and medical sections.

2. Home Schooling
This one keeps my lesson plans, school calendar, records, and curriculum ideas all in one place.
The dividers for this one:
  • Daily Lesson Plans
  • Calendar
  • Records
  • Monthly Dividers - I use these to file ideas I want to use for each month. This way I have a place to put ideas/projects I come across, and then when I sit down to plan I have them with me.
  • Reference - this is for co-op information, library schedules, or curriculum lists I may need.

3. Recipe
This binder I just put together for the challenge. It had been a binder with recipes stuck inside loose, waiting till I got the chance to put it together. This one is divided like so:
  • Favorites - These are recipes I use a lot either because they are tasty, easy, or inexpensive. Some actually fit all three categories.
  • Freezer - These are recipes I know freeze well. I like to have at least one or two things in the freezer when things just don't go as planned.
  • Company - These are recipes we have deemed worthy of company. They are usually not only tasty, but have good presentation as well.
  • Appetizers
  • Desserts
  • Breakfasts

So there you have my 3 Binders. I am so glad to have these are re-organized and complete. If you decided to make your own, be sure to tailor them to fit you and your family. For more great ideas on using binders to organize your recipes check here. For general home management binders check out the links here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Important Lessons

This morning Landon decided to take school into his own hands and gave Elaine some lessons.  They went something like this:

"I am going to teach you the first thing you need to do if a bad guy attacks...karate chop."
"Second if you are on a roof and a bad guy attacks the best way to get away is to jump this."

He was very encouraging with his words while he instructed her to be brave and fierce (his words, not mine).

When she would say she couldn't do it, he would gently say sure you can. If that wasn't enough he would tell her, "Well I guess you won't be a professional super hero like me."

Makes since to me, if you can't karate chop and jump off roofs, no super hero status.

Now onto much less important lessons like letter sounds and number recognition.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Weekly Challenge: Week 1

So when I saw that the first weekly challenge over at Bowl Full of Lemons was to make a home management binder, I was excited. I actually have one I have been using for over a year now, that could use an overhaul. I also knew this would be a great time to put together a mail center as they go hand in hand in my mind. When my monitor bit the dust it made it hard to really do much with my binder, so I started with the mail center.
First I located a basket that would be perfect, and it was just housing unread books on my husbands night stand. Then I gathered supplies to decorate some file folders.
Next time I would use mod podge for my adhesive the spray glue was very smelly.
 I traced the folders onto the paper, cut out the paper, and glued it to the outside of the folders.

Here are the four I made. I stamped the titles on the tabs.

Here it is in use. It sits right next to the fridge in the kitchen which is where I always sort the mail. Now instead of stacks taking up space on our counter, each peice of paper has a place.

There is also room for my binder behind the files when it is finished. I hope to share it with you this weekend.

Where Did I Go?

Well I was here, but my computer monitor bit the dust. So I had to take a break from blogging. Just as I was planning to share some neat projects with you.  We thought we could quickly remedy the situation with an over nighted cord we could use to hook a small TV we had in our bedroom up as our monitor. Then an ice storm hit and our cord was stuck in Indianapolis, IN. Oh well, there is always tomorrow, right? I am still planning to share what I came up with for the first week of A Bowl Full Of Lemons Weekly Challenge and I will also share this week's challenge too. But for now some cute pics of my little one!

We have been giving him baths in the sink while he sits in the Bumbo.  Daddy usually gives him his baths and he loves the spray.
Here he is taking a Sunday afternoon nap. I can't believe he already fills up the swing.
He loves the excersaucer he got for Christmas. We have to stick a pillow behind him for now, but he doesn't care. He can spin himself all the way around and plays so purposefully with the toys.
Here he is getting his first haircut.  He has cradle cap under his little fauxhawk, and we knew getting some of the length off would help it clear up and his hair to come in thicker. (We know this b/c his sister had one too!) He thought the whole process was quite funny.
I love these pictures, because this is how I often find Elaine...right next to Levi.  Holding his hand, talking to him, rubbing his cheek, or giving the spontaneous hug. I can't wait to see how their relationship grows. She loves him so much, and he loves all her attention too.

Ok, tomorrow I promise to post about all the projects I have underway...unless technology fails me again.