Sunday, January 30, 2011

Homeschooling and Home Keeping

I got asked about my house cleaning schedule so thought I would share it with everyone!

Homeschooling takes up a good majority of our time. Not necessarily the sit down work book part of it, but the running to various field trips, the library, and so on. Then there is the boring stuff that has to be done, like grocery shopping and other errands. I am mostly a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal, but I did find out that with out at least a basic outline of what I needed to get done and when, my house quickly suffered. Here is our basic schedule and a few tips I have for preventing burn out:

My House Work Schedule:

Monday: This is a preschool day so I keep this day light.

Throw in a load of laundry. I used to do all of it on Monday but it just overwhelmed me! I would end up with a mountain to fold and it was so depressing. Doing one load a day keeps it at bay and is much easier to manage.

Menu Plan. I stay one week ahead on this most of the time so this plan will be for next week. If you are just starting with menu planning then I suggest doing two weeks the first time. Trust me that this is one of the single most important things in my home management. Without a menu plan I am all over the place while I grocery shop and at meal times!

Bathrooms. Scrub 'em down.

Tuesday: This looks heavy but the family room and the formal dining are actually two of our cleanest rooms in the house.

One load of laundry

Kitchen/Breakfast room including moping floors

Downstairs family room

Formal Dining

Wednesday: Preschool and church day so another light day

One load of laundry

Master Bedroom

Vacuum all downstairs carpets


One load of laundry

Kitchen/Breakfast including floors

Dining room



One load of laundry

Upstairs floors and general cleaning

Weekend: I quick tidy, grocery store and relax!

I do maintain certain things such as the dishes daily and the kids are required to keep upstairs clean since that is their "domain". Of course they are also required to clean any messes they make downstairs.

That is my basic schedule. Now here are a few tips:

1. Don't try to do it all at once. I find I get more done and don't lose momentum if I clean in short 30 minute sessions with 15 minute breaks in between.

2. Engage the kids! Even my 2 year old helps with the cleaning. He loves to take a wet rag and wipe down base boards. Is it perfect? No, but it teaches him that we work together as a family to keep our house clean. The girls have gained more responsibility as they have gotten older. If they do all that they are asked without procrastinating they may spend a total of an hour each day helping to maintain the house.

3. Don't fret if it doesn't all get done. I have a priority list I work off of. I asked my husband what the most important things to him were and I focus on those first thing. If nothing else gets done those few things do. For us it is the dishes and the tile floors being swept. It may be different in your house.

My house isn't always perfect and sometimes it feels like a never ending battle that I am just not going to win. When that starts to happen, I stop, say a quick prayer and remember how blessed I am to have a home and a family to take care of. Sometimes, the flesh wins and I am lazy or I do it begrudgingly, but the Lord is always there to remind me how blessed I am and to re-energize me when I need it or sometimes just to give me a swift kick in the tail!

Monday, January 24, 2011

What MM Preschool has been doing in a Typical Day

I thought it might be fun to share what we do in a typical day! If you like what you see and are interested in Enrolling feel free to contact me at

Here is what a typical day looks like for us:

8:30-9:00 Drop off/Center Time (sometimes this goes a bit over depending on when everyone arrives)

9:00-9:30 Pledge, Bible Story, and Song time

9:30-10:00 Circle Time #1
During this time we work on our counting, colors, shapes, ABC's in English and ASL, right hand and left hand recognition and spacial awareness (up, down, over, under)

10:00-10:30 Center Time
May include organized play time or directed playtime. Could also include things like playdoh or other sensory activities.

10:30-11:00 Worksheet Time.
This is usually themed. This month our theme is Humpty Dumpty. We learn rhyming, letters, counting, sequencing, colors, shapes, reading comprehension, hand eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and much more through these themed activities. Theme changes about 1 time per month.

11:00-11:30 Calendar Time
During this time we go over the days of the week, months of the years and seasons. We will talk about today in relationship to yesterday and tomorrow and we also note the weather for the day.

11:30-12:00 Lunch

12:00-12:30 Centers or outside time depending on the weather

12:30-1:00 Story Time
For January through about March we will be reading all about community helpers. This changes just depending on how long a particular theme lasts us.

1:30-1:15 Free Play/Centers

1:15-1:30 Clean up and and look at books until we go home

So there is our day! Lots of learning mixed with lots of down time and free play. The short "learning" times mean that the kids stay focused and just about the time that they are starting to get squirmy it is time to get up and play!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Make your own Rock Candy

It's a classic candy we all grew up with, it's Rock Candy. A stick full of pure sugar, and oh so fun to eat. Well, if you are going to eat it, you might as well make it educational so here is a fun recipe for making your very own rock candy and some resources to help you find out the science behind this fun treat.


String or a wooden skewer
1 cup of water
1 clothes peg
1 tall narrow jar or cup
food coloring (optional)


1. Clip the clothes peg to your skewer, set it in the empty class jar/cup and make sure it sits about 1 inch above the bottom of the class, and set aside.

2. Pour your water into a pan and bring to a boil, pour in sugar about 1/4 cup at a time until it has dissolved. It may take a while so be patient! Pull of heat and let sit for about 2o minutes. Put in food coloring if you want colored rock candy. You will want it to be pretty dark so that it will show up in the candy.

3. Carefully pour into jar and place skewer inside. Be sure that it doesn't touch the sides or the bottom. Put jar where it will not be disturbed.

4. Wait. In about a week you will begin to see crystals forming!

Want to know the why behind the activity? Visit here to find out why the candy crystals grow.
For more information on sugar and crystals visit Science of Candy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Zaycon Foods Giveaway Winners!

I have randomly drawn the winners and they are:

Ecclesia W.

Stephanie R. (not Rector for those of you who know me!)

Congrats to those who won but don't worry! Even if you didnt win you can still order your farm fresh, hormone and additive free chicken for just $1.49 per pound until January 24th! Yes, I wrote that right; the date has been extended! They have also managed to secure two more locations for Arlington and Lewisville if you are in those areas!

Ending Zaycon Foods Giveaway a Day Early!

After realizing that I was drawing the same day as the order cut off I have decided to draw a winner today for the Zaycon Foods Giveaway. I want to be sure to give you all a chance to order if you don't win! So if you haven't entered head on over for a chance to win 40lbs of farm fresh hormone and additive free chicken or a $35 gift card to your local grocery store! I will draw the winner tonight at 8pm central!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Disney World Here We Come!! Ticker

A little off topic today, but figured I needed a bit of light conversation.

We have booked and put down the deposit on our September 2011 Disney World vacation!!

We don't get to do this often so we splurge when we do. This year we took part in the free dining plan option and upgraded it to the deluxe plan. Call me crazy, but tonight I started planning our dining experiences!

Actually, this does take a bit of coordination. Because the parks have extended hours on certain days, we like to be sure to be in the specific days they are extended. This means that we have to plan where we are going to eat so that we are in the correct park on the correct day. Did you get that? Me either. Anyways, they don't actually release the extended hours until 180 days in advance, but because reservations for certain experiences book up fast you have to know what you need to book so that you don't miss out.

We are staying 7 nights 8 days (including our arrival and departure day) I have planned for 6 full days and left a few extra credits for whatever we need to do on the arrival and departure days. So here is my tentative plan for this trip!

Magic Kingdom- I planned for 3 days here so that we can take the park at a more leisurely pace. I have three kids ya know!

Day 1:
Breakfast-Chef Mickey
Lunch-The Plaza
Dinner: Tony's

Day 2:
Breakfast-Ohana with Lilo and Stitch
Lunch-Liberty Tree
Dinner-Cinderella's Castle (requires 2 credits)

Day 3:
Breakfast: Snack
Lunch:Mid-morning meal at Crystal Palace with the Princesses
Dinner: California Grill (may try to sneak this one with just the hubs. Requires 2 credits)

Epcot-We actually went home early last time so I am assuming we will have more time to eat since most of the rides are geared towards teens and adults.

Breakfast-Akershus with the Princesses
Lunch- The Garden Grill with Chip and Dale
Dinner-Rose and Crown

Hollywood-The eating here was slim

Breakfast-Supercalifragalistic Breakfast
Lunch- Hollywood and Vine
Dinner-Hollywood and Vine with Fantasmic

Animal Kingdom-Im having two of our TS meals swapped for quick service here.

Breakfast-Tusker House
Dinner-Flame Tree

That leaves everyone 2 snack credits per day plus 2 table services to use either on our arrival day or departure day.

I am so excited. Can you tell?!

Friday, January 14, 2011

What to do with all that Chicken?

40lbs of chicken is ALOT of chicken and I was surprised when I was asked to review and giveaway some from Zaycon Foods. Thankfully I had purchased a Food Saver around Christmas when they were running some sales, but I still had to decide what to do with it all!

After a bit of thought this is what I did with our chicken:

10lbs was frozen whole. We used some of it at our Campfire Cookout with grandpa and grandma and the rest we probably end up grilling it or using it for soup. I think next time I will do something more exciting with it though.

10lbs was made into homemade chicken nuggets, baked not fried. This is a wonderful alternative to that mechanically separated chicken that is in your store bought bags.

10lbs was marinated in fajita marinade.

10lbs was done as Rosemary Garlic Chicken.

That was it! So tell me what you would do with your 40lbs of chicken if you won and then head over to my Zaycon Foods Giveaway for a chance to win 40lbs of farm fresh hormone and additive free chicken or a $35 gift card to your local grocer!

We Choose to Shelter.

I homeschool because I have seen the village and I do not want it raising my child.

We recently ditched cable. Mostly it was an economic choice, but we had also grown tired of the filth that it presented to our children in the form of cartoons and "educational TV". I've been told that homeschooled children are less mature when compared to public school children because of how sheltered they are. I observed. They are right. Well, at least in a way they are.

You see, my daughters only knowledge of current fashion trends are what they hear and see on their friends. They still prefer pretty little girl dresses. The only Taylor Swift they have ever heard has come from friends, or music playing in the mall. They are still terrified of most movies with a PG rating and even some with a G. They know that boys and girls get married but they have no idea what a boyfriend or going "out" with someone is. They have no concept of illegal drugs or real life violence. Your child must now have a knowledge of all things secular and sinful to be considered mature.

You may say that, yeah that's because your oldest is 7. Well, 10 years ago I would have agreed, but over the last few years I have seen kids as young as 2 exposed to graphic and violent TV and video games, sexual content not only on TV but at school(sex ed and handing out condoms to elementary students?!) and in peer groups, parents are ohhhing and awwing over their 8 year old having their first boyfriend. They are exposed to drugs and alcohol. We (again as a whole) purchase these things for our children, we allow them to be exposed to it in the name of "experience", we spout things like "If you keep them sheltered they will rebel" or "a little rebellion won't hurt, how else will they learn?". Would someone please, point out the Biblical reference for this? And further more, all you have to do is a little google search to find out that teen pregnancy, violence, drug use, and so on have been on the rise for years. Letting our children be exposed to these things has not resulted in Godlier, spiritually sound children!

Can you send your child to a private school and still protect them? Well, sort of. I went to a private school and I will say that yes, for the most part my parents did a fine job of protecting me from the world. I still don't know what weed looks like, didn't have a single drop of alcohol until I was of legal age(and even then it wasn't really my "thing"), and even though I do think that my "casual" dating in high school did rob me of a bit of my heart, it was at the very least very limited. However, I still have to honestly say that I did not come out completely unscathed. As far as public school, thank the Lord my parents had the good sense to refuse my pleas to attend.

So what about public school? The truth is that you simply can not send your child into an environment that is full of sex, violence, anti-Christian sentiment and a general hatred of all things Biblical and expect them to come out whole. Our children are molded by what they see around them and no matter what they get the few hours they are at home or at church, it can not compare with the hours upon hours of influence they get at school. Not to mention that most of us can not be entirely sure of our children's spiritual status at younger ages which makes the environment even more dangerous as they have no spiritual conscience!

I guess the question you probably want me to answer now is, do I think that homeschooling is the only way? I wouldn't be as presumptuous as to say yes to that. I do think there are some circumstances in which it is impossible (though for the most part I think they are self-inflicted circumstances), but what I do know is that we are called by God to raise our children , to train them and to bring them up in Christ, and I do think that is all but impossible when the majority of their training comes from a source other than you.

Bible verses that support the parental raising, training and educating of our children

Will I expose my children to these things one day so they aren't "shocked into rebellion" by them? Yes, but I will do so in a controlled environment in which I can Biblically answer questions. We have recently begun dealing with the fact that not everyone believes in God. My daughter has been able to ask questions and we are able to discuss it in a way that solidifies her faith while exposing her to how to be in the world but not of it. As she grows and matures the doors will open for deeper conversations.

We chose to shelter.

Disclaimer: I speak in general terms on this blog. I do not believe anyone should be forced to homeschool. I believe in choice. I just happen to think that Christian parents should choose to homeschool.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Zaycon Foods Chicken Review and Giveaway

Most of us are looking for a way to save some money. You have probably done couponing and bulk stores like Costco or Sams, but meat is still expensive! Especially, natural and organic meats. At Costco, I would pay $2.99 per pound for natural hormone free chicken!

Recently, I was given the opportunity to try a company new to the Dallas area, Zaycon Foods. Zaycon foods works directly with farmers to bring you fresh from the farm (the chicken I tried was only 24 hours old!)never been frozen, hormone free, all natural chicken at a discounted price. How do they do this? Well, they buy and sell in bulk. 40lbs per case to be specific. How discounted is the meat? This really depends on a myriad of circumstances from how many participate in the events to the price of grain and so on but during the run that I participated in meat was $1.65/lb and this time it will be $1.49 per pound! What about quality? My experience was incredible. The meat was delicious and no matter if it was eaten fresh or if I had frozen it, it was great. The hardest part has been deciding how to use it all! Zaycon has also started offering ground beef to certain areas and is working on getting a beef event set up near Dallas!

The next question is how to participate. Zaycon Foods does events in 6 different states right now. To find out if they do one near you, visit the locations tab, but even if you do not see an event near you, you can register and Zaycon Foods may schedule one near you if there is enough interest, so be sure to pass the site along! Once you sign up, you will receive an email any time there is an event in your area. Don't worry, Zaycon doesn't send spam. The only emails I have received were directly related to upcoming events and locations. You will then get an email letting you know when you are able to order. Ordering is done online and you can even make small payments into your account so that you can spread out the cost!

The N. Texas chicken event will be held on Jan 29th, 2011. I have a little "inside" information and can tell you that the pick up locations for the Jan 29th event will be: Prosper, Plano, Mesquite. You will be able to reserve and pay for your order within the next two days. Price per pound is $1.49 and quantities are sold in 40lb cases.

Now here is the fun part! I have 2 40lb cases of chicken to give away! I know sounds a bit strange, but let me tell you how it works. If you visit the Zaycon Foods website and register you will receive 1 (ONE) entry. If you LIKE Zaycon Foods on Facebook you will receive 1 (ONE) entry. If you Like Molding Minds Homeschool on Facebook you will receive 1 (ONE) entry. If you Follow My Blog you will receive 1 (ONE) entry. And last but not least if you Follow Me on Twitter you will receive 1(ONE) entry. That is a total of 5 possible entries! Please post a separate comment for each entry. Remember I have 2 cases to give away so I will be drawing twice so that is actually 10 chances to win! I will draw the 2 winners on January 21st at 3pm. Winners will be contacted by email and will need to respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be drawn.

If you win and are near a pick up location you must be willing to drive to one of those pickup locations on the day of the event to collect your prize. I can not store the chicken at my house (4olbs of chicken takes up alot of space!) so you will have to pick it up. Please do not enter unless you can agree to these rules. Chicken is not something I can hold on to until the next person is picked and I would hate for anyone to miss out on something like this!

I was paid in the form of one 40lb case of chicken for this review and giveaway. The review is my honest assement and oppinion of the chicken.

UPDATE: Zaycon has generously offered $35 gift card to your favorite grocery store for anyone who registers and wins but isnt within range of the pick up locations! Entry is the same as above!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Last Years Sucesses and This Years Goals

I like to look back and see how far we have come each year. I have a similar blog post on my old blog from last year and reading back it is wonderful to see that even through all of my failures and short comings, my children are thriving at home.

This past year Brianna's reading really took off. She is reading above grade level. We are reviewing some of our special blends while doing a double speed 1st grade Abeka phonics curriculum. She was doing ok with it on her own but now that she is older and is able to retain it all better she is really picking it up fast. We have definitely fit into the "later is better" mold when it comes to reading. We switched approaches with math. The other was just not at comprehensive as I would have liked and so we are changing from a Spiral Approach (Horizons) to a Mastery Approach (Math U See). It is hard to get an idea of her progress when comparing the two, but a generic Internet test says she is doing just fine.

Keira is starting to read. She shocked me actually when I handed her, her first reader for this year. I don't remember working with her that much on reading (can you say Explode the code?!). Her math is average, but so far she is really doing great with Math U See.

This year we are just trucking on. I like that I have stopped putting alot of pressure on myself to live up to other peoples standards. It has really helped us relax and I think our learning is becoming much more natural. We are upping the number of worksheet type things we are doing, but over all we are still keeping it simple!

If you haven't take a minute to look back and write down some of your successes. Seeing where you have gotten it right definitely tends to give you a boost to carry on!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Amazing Sale at Wall Worthy!!!

So I am sure you all know how amazing Wall Worthy Vinyl Wall Art is from the giveaway I did a few weeks back. If you didn't win the giveaway here is the PERFECT chance to get what you wanted at a great price!! Wall Worthy is running a 50% off sale!!! Just use the code MMHS50 during check out. This code is good for just ONE DAY only so be sure to take advantage of it now!

This little shop sprang up out of a desire to do as Deuteronomy chapters 6 and 11 talk about regarding scripture:"You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as front-lets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

Here in this shop you will find creative decals for your home, office, furniture, vehicle, and more.

We use a high quality vinyl cutter, that uses TANGENTIAL cutting, so it cuts with precision all the way down to a sixteenth of an inch! That means what you see is what you get! Crisp, clean lines with no snags or tears.

We use quality vinyl which can last up to 3 years outdoors and almost indefinitely indoors (until you decided to take it down). Application and removal is simple and easy. A step-by-step guide, squeegee and sample decal is provided with every order.
We are happy to accept custom projects! Please convo us if you need some custom work done. We will let you know the estimated time-line and cost of your order.