Tag Archives: activities

10 ways to be the “Worst Mom Ever” this Summer!

It’s already starting in my house..

“This is the worst day ever!”

“I’m so bored.”

“I have nothing to do.”

“I’m hungry.”

Oh…the sounds of children who need direction and some activities.

So…how can you survive this summer with your kiddos home?

I’ve got 10 ways for you to be the “Worst Mom Ever” this summer.

So let’s get started…….

Give them two weeks of college life.

For the first two weeks after school lets out, just let them do whatever they want. Let them wake up when they want and just hang out. Watch their mannerisms, weaknesses, and see what the summer holds for you. This is your “gathering information” session for the summer. You will quickly find out what goals you have for each of them and what behaviors are not going to “work” for your summer home with them. (You will then use this information to set up your daily schedule and chore lists.)

image

getting their own breakfast

 Set up a daily schedule.

I like to have some semblance of order for the summer. Of course, my days are not filled with homeschooling checklists, but the children function better when they know the “plan”. Our mornings will be pretty laid back in terms of wake up times and breakfast. At around 10am, we will gather to work on a daily scripture verse, morning prayer, chore assignments, and the schedule for the rest of the day. Our local YMCA pool will open at 11 so the children and I will set up our day around an after lunch pool time and errands and appointments will be set up to alternate pool days. Since we do have two vacation bible school sessions scheduled this summer for the mornings, it makes more sense to set up our pool times and errands for the afternoon. I have also chosen to give myself one day, Wednesdays, where we will remain at home. This will allow the children to plunder my home while I work on housecleaning and home projects. I strongly recommend this if you are in the car driving a lot. You will want to have one day that you can “veg” if you need it.

image

swimming lessons

 Turn off the TV: Encourage your kids to “feed their brain”.

You will be amazed at how many grocery stores, fashion shows, and lip syncs will grace your home. My kids decided to plan a bake sale for the weekend community yard that my development was having and earned $28. It’s amazing what they can do when they aren’t sitting in front of the TV.

image

bake sale!

image

the fun of an empty box

Make them earn their ipod/kindle/ipad time:

For every job/chore that my kids do, above and beyond their responsible daily chore, they can earn 15 minutes of “technology time”. Technology is a priviledge…not a “right”. You will be surprised how many extra jobs they will do for technology time.

image

making dinner

image

chopping veggies

Institute a mandatory reading time for your whole house everyday…including you.

If you have little ones, give them the first few minutes of your time and read aloud with them. If you can fit it in, start reading a novel together. The minute I start reading a book aloud, I find that my bigger kiddos start crowding around me on the couch. The kiddos love when I add voices and really throw myself into the story.  Reading aloud, at any age, will only increase their vocabulary and their knowledge of subject matter.

image

Make them eat their fruits and veggies.

This is way more fun if you let them help you grow them. Our strawberries just came in and the kids are loving it. I actually found that the kiddos will eat roasted veggies from the garden too if they know it was the one that “they picked”.

IMG_0413

our growing strawberries

IMG_0416

Make them sit down…with you.

I know…there is always so much for us to do. But….a mom sitting down is like a bug to a light. Kids LOVE being close to mom but we are rarely relaxing. Let them lay on top of you….dangle off the couch from your lap….I’m sure they and you will absolutely hate it.

image

Mini Me and I

Teach them more responsibility.

When my teaching hat gets put aside for the summer, I really push the kiddos in the cleaning/responsibility department. There is a greater number of “commission” earning jobs that can be done during the week for money. I also pair my kiddos up together so I can get to some summer projects that need my attention.

image

folding dishcloths

image

playing together in the garage

 Make them go outside everyday.….even if its raining.

Teach them to dance in the rain and stomp in puddles. Pull out the old jump rope and teach them how to jump “old school”. Play tag or jump on their bike and take it for a ride. I’ve been known to grab one of my kid’s scooters and race them down the street. The summer is the perfect time for a late dinner and bath after a long day of outside play.

image

image

family walk…

image

Create some “Mom Time”.

During the school year, I made sure that I had an hour a day to myself. My children played in the basement while I made business calls; watched one of my favorite shows; or ate some chocolate. Haha. It was really important for me to have this “selfish” time so that I could give to my family without frustration or fatigue. We, as moms, need to recharge. We need to find strength in our day to be our best.

Your kids might think that you are the “Worst Mom Ever”, as you are ruining their plans for their summer…but you will bask in the joys that will come from these few tips.

May you find peace and joy in your home..and in your heart.

img_9960

Advertisements

Help!!!! Homeschooling with Toddlers……

Homeschooling……(deep breath)……

How do you do it? How do you manage to teach all those kids?

image

Mentally….I’m answering with all kinds of snarky comments. What I am thinking about is some of the events of my past weeks….how some days I feel like I could write a book on the beauty of homeschooling. You know….when I’m at my daughter’s piano recital and she “nails it”, and I know how much work she puts into it. Or when I hear one of my kids use a vocabulary word, “dude…what is that FOUL smell!???” Love it!  Or when I wake up and decide that we have dominated our school week and so..we’re going ice skating today!

Then….there are the epic fails…… teaching one child Math, while watching the 3 year old throw a linking cube in her mouth, and diving after her before she chokes. Or the time my son was practicing mandarin on the computer, while my oldest was rehearsing House of the Rising sun for the twentieth time on the piano, and I’m sitting on the bathroom toliet on the phone with Comcast customer service just to avoid the screeching toddler who just wants to know “If I can have a cutie??!!!”

Multi-tasking at its finest. Some of those moments are flask-worthy. Listen…no judgment here.

mom pic

When my oldest was four, and my son was almost two, I decided to begin my homeschooling endeavor. As a former teacher, I was so excited to begin this process with my daughter. I had it all planned out. She was going to be an avid reader. She would be a mathematical genius. I would start her at 4 years old so she could be ahead. I mean….I was a teacher. I mean…I knew what to teach and how….Why wouldn’t I delve right in??!!

It was my two sisters in laws, whose daughters were already being homeschooled, who gave me some great advice…..

“Don’t push her too hard. She has plenty of time to do school and workbooks. Just have fun.”

And Wow….I had no idea how tough it would be trying to school her with a 2 year old, and a baby!!! Boy was I glad I had taken their advice. Sweet Pea was a natural learner. She loved to memorize songs and sing. We bought tons of puzzles for her to do. She loved the huge workbooks from Walmart that she could do when she wanted. And….we spent TONS of time at the library. We took advantage of storytime at the library and spent plenty of time “exploring” outside.

1930875_30677591107_1990_n 1930875_30680551107_4804_n

Fast forward 6 years, and Sweet Pea is now very independent in her school work. She has become an avid reader, and school comes very easy for her. However, I have a 2nd and 3rd grader who need my assistance, and two little ones who want my time too. So….I thought I would share some of my favorite “go- to”s for my littles during school time:

*BTW, I am not currently being paid to endorse these products. But…let’s be honest. I would only endorse products that I love anyway. haha.

However, I happen to hit up all my mom friends for advice and product referrals, so why not offer my advice when I can…right??!!

Highlights Hidden Picture Books

These books were a gift from Grandmom one year and they are amazing!!!

image

Miss Missy LOVES these. Especially the pages where they give you a sticker to place down over the “hidden object”. She just turned 3 in November and I had no idea how quickly she would do these or the how much she would love these.  You can also go online and let some of the bigger kids do these…

http://www.highlightskids.com/hidden-pictures/interact

Aquadoodle

image

I’m a huge fan of Aquadoodle. All you need is some water and a paintbrush and they will be entertained for a while. Then, you can just leave it out to dry while you move to the next task. No colors to bleed onto your floor and if you have multiple paint brushes, you can have more than one child involved.

Games

Our family loves games. It only takes 10 minutes for a quick game of family hide-n-seek. Some times I have sent Miss Missy on a scavenger hunt to find me 5 “orange things”, or 5 things that make the “b” sound. These are great ways to review skills while working with another child. We have also practiced counting while doing jumping jacks and hopping around.

Reading Log

image

I just picked this up on Friday from our local library but I’m sure you could make your own. I love to read to the “littles” or have some of their siblings read to them. For every book they have read to them, they get to color one of the little pictures on this page. After 100 books (or a page), they take this back to the library for a prize. They were super excited to add their first four books on Saturday night! After their first five pages (the booklet is 10 pages long!!!), we will go out for some ice cream!

Puzzles

image

If we are not reading, Miss Missy is always wanting to do puzzles. She can put a puzzle together very quickly, so thankfully….. grandmom always gives us a few for Christmas. Our favorites are any Melissa and Doug ones! Puzzles are terrific for working on their fine motor skills and teaching them to see the greater picture.

Books on Tape/CD

I’m a huge fan of books on tape or CD…especially if I have to be in the van for most of the day. It’s a great way to let the little get some “reading time” in while taking the older kids to an activity. When I go to the library, I make sure that I get 1-2 books on CD. If I remember, I try to grab an additional copy of the book so we have less fighting over who is going to “turn the page”…haha. I keep these in the van so I don’t have to remember to return them. It also lessens the chance of me losing them.

Refrigerator Magnets

image

I love refrigerator magnets! All of my kids have enjoyed hanging out with me in the kitchen and this is one of the best uses of their time. I recently bought these large bright letter magnets from a teacher store. (pictured on the fridge behind Miss Missy).I love the versatility of these. I can help Mini Me create words with them, and yet Miss Missy likes me to quiz her on the various letters. She loves to practice her name and try to put letters together to make words.

The two magnetic devices pictured below have been in our family since we had Dirty Dog D. Each one of our children have enjoyed learning the songs about counting, letters, and colors through the magnetic DJ. Placing different letters in the fridge phonics device allows them to work on letter sound and distinction. I highly recommend both of these.

Product Details

Leap Frog Fridge Phonics

Product Details

Leap Frog Magnetic DJ radio

Dry Erase Boards/ laminated sheets

image

For kids there is just something fun about using a dry erase marker and having the fun of doodling and then erasing. I like to purchase kindergarten workbooks and then laminate certain pages to be able to use over and over. I often do this with letters, numbers, and some matching items. The dry erase board below is often used for our older children but the little girls like to use it to draw pictures!

 image

I am also a big fan of playdoh!!!!! I throw down a dollar store tablecloth…..and we are set. I can use this time to review Catechisis with the older children around the table, while the “littles” play with playdoh!

So…these are my “go to” activities for dealing with toddlers. I hope you have been inspired to try some of these ideas with your little ones!  In my opinion, the biggest lesson is to remember that our toddlers are like sponges. They soak up so much from their environment and their other siblings. Try and provide moments for them to be mentally stimulated…….but make it fun!!!!!

Hoping your homeschooling days are successful!

God Bless,

Tammi

Summer bucket list: Sundaes for your sunday!!!

Sundaes!!!!

We are busy widdling away at our Summer Bucket List!!!!

The rain prevented us from hitting my brother in law’s house for a BBQ and dip in the hot tub so we decided to look at the list for another option. The option for a lazy Sunday is always promising and this one delivered. Tons of housework, cuddling and just hanging out.

The three big kids baked chocolate chip cookies together while the littles took “care of their babies” on the IPAD. haha.

Sundaes with all the fixings was a great way to end this Sunday. Here’s what we offered:

  • vanilla and neopolitian ice cream
  • chocolate, caramel, and hot fudge syrup
  • waffle bowls
  • chocolate chips
  • cool whip/whipped cream
  • wet walnuts
  • Reese’s magic shell
  • colored sprinkles
  • ***bonus*** I found these awesome ice cream plates for .60 in the clearance aisle at my grocery months ago.

Everyone enjoys ice cream!!!!!

So great, mom!!!

So great, mom!!!

DDD lovin it!

DDD lovin it!

"mom...dis waz mine!!"

“mom…dis waz mine!!”

IMG_1275

Mini me and Sweet Pea obviously thrilled!!!

Everyone loves ice cream!!!!!

What is left on your summer bucket list? Have you hit it hard this summer or are you scrambling to complete it?

We are hoping to get a family bike ride and family water gun fight in this week…..I will keep you posted…..

God bless,

Tammi