Monday, January 30, 2012

Types of Homeschooling: School at Home

I am going to start with the school at home method of homeschooling because it is usually where new homeschooling parents start. The plethora of boxed curriculum and highly scripted teachers manuals, mixed with the familiar setting of classroom style learning can make the leap into homeschool a bit less daunting.

Oh, those children? Actually they are all mine. We are a homeschooling family you know.

The school at home method is exactly as it sounds. It is a close replication of what you would see in a traditional school setting, except with fewer children (well most of the time, but you know how us homeschoolers love babies). A school at home set up will usually involve a set of boxed curriculum, (Abeka, Bob Jones or even books supplied by the public school system), a highly involved parent teacher who follows a highly scripted teacher manual. Students will usually, though not always, spend 5-6 hours a day completing school work. School work will include worksheets, rote drills, and other methods usually seen in a traditional school day. This type of schooling method will generally follow a traditional school schedule which starts in mid-August in the US and ends in late May early June with June through mid-August being summer vacation. All though the particulars may vary this pretty much sums up the school at home method of homeschooling.

Pros: Highly scripted texts and boxed curriculum can make it less daunting for a new homeschooling parent. The routine of this method can also be appealing. Boxed curriculums are all inclusive. You don't have to worry about piecing it together and the lesson plans are pretty much taken care of. All you need to do is gather supplies.

Cons: From my experience this method is teacher intensive and requires A LOT of parental participation. If you have an independent learner this could be frustrating. Boxed curriculums can be costly and since you are following a schedule set up by the publisher there is little room for deviation. The time required can also be overwhelming for the child. Be sure that if you are considering this method that you don't give your child busy work just for the sake of it. Burn out is a real concern with this method of homeschooling.

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Goal Planning Monday

Who couldn't use a little lot of motivation when it comes to setting goals for the week? This week I decided to gather my inspiration from Goal Planning Monday over at Mama Manuscripts. Go check it out and add your own goal plans!

My Goals for this week are:

1. Get the girls back on at least a semi-regular school schedule. Packing has thrown us all off course and I don't expect it to be "normal" but at least get us back to doing the cores regularly.

2. Have the house packed and ready to start deep cleaning by next week. This is probably a long shot since I am going to have to drive quite a ways out to get some more boxes, but we really need to get the house on the market soon so I am going to try!

3. Blog at least 2 blogs in my Types of Homeschooling series.

4. Lapbook review for Hands of a Child.

5. Cook dinner every night except Friday. Last week we ended up out to eat way too much. Which is actually fairly unusual for us. We do have my Dad's birthday dinner Friday but every other night we are having a home cooked meal.

There it is! The list is short but everything on it is pretty involved. Tell me what your goals for this week are and be sure to head over and link up if you blogged about Goal Planning Monday!

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fan Page Sweepstakes 200 Piece Wooden Pattern Blocks and Starbucks Gift Card!

We reached over 400 on our fan page last night so here the giveaway as promised! This one is very simple: For a chance to win a 200 Piece Wooden Pattern Block Set and a $10 Starbucks Gift card all you need to so is LIKE Molding Minds Homeschool on Facebook and leave a comment telling me that you did along with a contact email! I also offered those who shared my page LAST NIGHT(1-29) a chance for an extra entry so if you did this please leave a SEPARATE comment telling me.

Though these won't get you any extra entries I would also appreciate you if you would consider Following My Blog and/or following Molding Minds on Twitter.

Sweepstakes will end on Friday February 3rd with ONE winner being drawn. Winner will have 72 hours to respond email notification before a new winner is drawn. Open only to those in the US.

This is not a paid review. I purchased these products to giveaway as a promotion on my blog.

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Types of Homeschooling Introduction

When we first set out on our homeschooling journey I was blissfully ignorant of all of the ways a family could choose to homeschool. I figured you purchased books, pulled out pages, and the kids sat and did school. We quickly found out that this was not going to work for our family and I was suddenly introduced to all of the different ways a family could homeschool! At first it was overwhelming, but now as we have become more seasoned we have learned what worked for us. This series will go over several of the "types" of homeschooling. As we talk about these methods I hope that you will find that not every family is a one size fits all and that you will find what method works best for your family!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to Make a Meatball

I love meatballs!  I regularly sing that song to my kids, you know, On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball....  you know the rest!

This video was supposed to be a walkthrough on how to make meatballs, but evidently I am too dumb to manage such a seemingly simple task, so it is more of a "talk-through"

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to Cook Pasta

Yesterday, we learned how to boil water.  Tonight, we will make spaghetti noodles.

First things first. Flip the back of your package of spaghetti over. You will find instructions for cooking.  Many times this will come in the form of a chart. Find the cooking time to cook the noodles to "al dente" or very firm. It doesn't matter if you like your noodles to be mushy.  Don't cook them to mushy, they will get mushier in the sauce. 
First, find a decent sized pot - at least 3 quarts.  Fill it 3/4 up with water.  Add a teaspoon or so of salt.  Boil the water.

When the water is boiling very fast, dump in the noodles.  IMMEDIATELY stir them with a fork, until they are all in the water.  When the water comes back to a boil, turn on the timer to the cooking time the package says.  Remember, you are cooking to the "al dente" stage.   Every few minutes, stir the pasta.  When your timer goes off, get a fork and taste a noodle.  If you can chew it and it is firm, without any hard spots, it is done.  Turn your timer off and take the pan off the heat. 

Grab a colander - a bowl with holes all over it.  Put it in the sink.  Pour your pasta into the colandar, water and all.  The water will drain away and you will be left with a colandar full of steaming hot pasta.

If you were not going to pour sauce on it, you could pour the pasta into a bowl, add butter and parmesan cheese, and voila - yummy time!

Tomorrow we will talk about the sauce.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

How to Boil Water

Now that Anna has shown you all how to "Dump the Frump" I would like to show you all that preparing a meal doesn't have to be hard :) This post is the first of several. By the end of the week, you will know how to make spaghetti and meatballs, from scratch!

I hear all the time about how people "can't cook".  They seem to have a mental block where all things food, save for eating, is concerned.  Boiling water is a challenge.  During a conversation with a cooking challenged friend, I asked how this could be possible.  It seems so simple to me, this idea of cooking, how in the world can it be so complicated for others?  The discussion enlightened me, and I offered lessons to her. So, if you are cooking challenged, here is the first lesson.

Pay attention. 

Seriously,  that is the first order of business.  We have to pay attention to our recipes, our stoves, our ingredients and the time.  My daughter wants to be a good cook.  She has made multiple attempts at this, and it seems that she is chasing an impossible dream.  Her main problem? She doesn't pay attention and will therefore lose steps and/or forget ingredients.

Here is your first pratical lesson; boiling water.
1. Put a pan of water on the stove, over a burner.
2. Turn the burner knob to high, put a lid on the pot.
3. Wait; when the water starts bubbling a little, this is a simmer, not a boil.  When it is bubbling and rolling and generally looks very active, this is a rolling boil.  It is ready for whatever you need to boil.  If you wonder if it is boiling - it probably isn't.

If you are prone to distraction, then set a timer in 5 minute intervals to remind yourself to check on the water. :) 

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Dump the Frump Challenge #4

Challenge #4: Freshen up before your husband gets home. Show you him you love him by looking good!

Admission-Today was hard. I really wanted to stay in bed and I struggled with getting up and getting ready, but I am glad I did! I had a late night last night and after moving boxes for two days, I am starting to feel it. I am pretty sure that if I had stayed in my pajamas all day that I would not have gotten anything done today. Now I am up and ready to go!

As always, feel free to leave me a comment and let me know how you are doing!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Brianna's Dump the Frump Vlog

My oldest got the camera and recorded her own vlog that she wanted me to share with you. It was too stinking cute to say no! So here is some fashion advice from Brianna! Feel free to leave her a comment as I know she would love to know what you thought about her video!

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Dump the Frump Challenge #3

Challenge#3: Dump anything that is faded, torn, too small, too big, dated or that you just don't wear. Fewer choices means you are more likely to chose something that isn't frumpy!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

$10 off $10 Purchase Vitacost Coupon

This is a great place to get your vitamins and other health products! Use this link to get $10 off your first purchase of $10 or  more at Vitacost!

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Dump the Frump Challenge #2

Challenge #2: Establish a morning routine that includes a shower, getting dressed, eating a good breakfast and doing hair and make up.

My morning routine takes about 15 minutes so you don't need to have alot of time for this! You just need the desire to get up and make your self feel good by making yourself look good!

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Dump the Frump Challenge #1

Today's Challenge: Get dressed all the way. Get out of your pj's and into clothes that you would be ok to be seen in if surprise company showed up.

One of the great things about kids is that they love to be on your lap, so besides hearing about the challenge you will get to see my little love who only distracted me just a little at the end when I almost said "In Jesus name I pray" instead of bye LOL! I hope you enjoy the video and I would love for you to let me know what you thought of my first outfit and I would also love for you to share yours!

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

What I Mean by Modest and Feminine

Before I start the series next week, I wanted to set some definitions for what I mean when I say modest or feminine. This is by no means the final word on what modesty is, but it is within biblical guidelines as far as I am convicted.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Thrift Store Haul

I went thrift store shopping for myself for the first time yesterday! It isn't really that I am clothes snob but I am a weird size so it is usually easier for me just to go to the few stores that I know carry my size. Yesterday, though, I took a chance and it paid off and I am so excited to share!

The video is not the best. I didn't realize how the unnatural light was making the video orange and I am dressed in my Sparkies shirt for Awanas, but I don't often get 5 minutes without the kids running around so I took advantage. I will be sure to use natural lighting in future.

I would love to hear about your thrift store experiences!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Treasure Hunting

"I was just trying to pick you a present mama!"

I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as ours and that you got some great photos to remember it by!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Choosing Peace

Scrolling across my screen this morning, I see “Hardees first chain to add turkey burgers to their menu”.  I am guessing this is supposed to be a positive statement.  I just thought “WHY?!! It’s not Thanksgiving!”  My shock and concern were furthered when I realized, some people must like them, as in, they enjoy the taste.  I can only think their mothers must not have fed them properly.  Is the “lettuce and ketchup taste good for breakfast” group responsible for this addition? 

Where's the beef?!

Random things like this are what I think about before my kids get up, in those few moments of quiet.  I can not seem to think rational thoughts at 7:00 in the morning, sans the noisy noises from my four children.  It is like their very presence and all of those noises that make me say, “Everyone stop talking, I CAN’T THINK!” that actually inspires me to think beyond the randomness that floats around in my head.  It is funny that all my best ideas come to me at the most inopportune times like while driving the van with the children singing along with Veggietales or grocery shopping or while serving dinner.  If the president could call on me during those moments, I could possibly tell him how to handle the current crisis in the Middle East in a way that would win him accolades from both sides of the aisle. 

A shout out and a thumbs up to mommy blogger Super J, for her vast knowledge and willingness to share!
I love being a stay at home mom and homeschooling. One of the reasons is that I like having my kids with me. I like having them close and safe, I am all to aware that one day they will be out on their own and I will have to settle for silence and wondering how they are and if they are going to remember to call me on Sunday afternoon.  There are so many things that want to compete for my time with them, the TV, the computer, the phone, Facebook, life in general….  We who are moms, should know that while our time is short and valuable, our time with our kids is shorter and even more valuable.  Sometimes when I lay down at night, I cringe in remembrance of the day, because I realized I let all the cares of life and distractions steal the majority of my time, and my children actually had very little of it, when they are the primary reason I am a stay at home mom. 

One of my goals while pregnant and then while the baby was very little, was to act with no regrets.  I did not want to look back to my time of pregnancy and the baby’s infancy and regret a single moment.  I generally live in peace and contentment.  I can typically move past my mistakes and failures and chalk those times up to the “school of life” and move forward.  If I miss an appointment, a friend’s birthday, or a day of school, it doesn’t bother me for too long.  Everything comes back around.  What I won’t get back though, are the missed opportunities to blow bubbles with the kids, to push Beks on the swing, and put together puzzles with them.  I miss these opportunities because I am trying to get things done.  I know in my heart that it is ok if the puzzle pieces are on the floor and the bed isn’t made if it is because I stopped what I was doing long enough to enjoy the children.  A bookshelf that isn’t straight won’t hurt anything but my pride and that is only when I am glancing around the room with a critical eye because people have come over.   So, I try not to sweat the small stuff. 

Especially that refrigerator door part....

It is the bigger stuff, like the bitterness that is in me towards some things in my life where I have a problem.  But, I know that bitterness and anger are best friends and will grow roots on the top of the garden of life that trip you and can cause you to fall.  These issues are the true time stealers for me.  They are the issues that make feel like I can not cope when the kids or my husband are losing their minds.  The problem is, these things are not going to go away.  They will be here, I am just going to have to learn how do deal with them and how to set them aside in “you can’t change it, so leave it alone” pile.  That is more of a process than I would like to think about.  The wonderful thing is that God indeed knows the issues I face and is aware that I fail miserably at dealing with them, and tend to just get irritable when they crop up.  God knows that although I mow them down they always come back and I know that He alone can dig up the roots for me, because I am woefully inadequate.  So, I can arm myself with that, some prayers, and a few deep breaths, and just be.  I know that I can put the mantle of peace and contentment down and that I can also put it back on, living with no regret means that I have to choose this every day, on purpose.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Because I said So

I teach a Sunday school full of 4th grade girls and inevitably the topic of clothing comes up. As we chatted about modesty and why we must carefully choose what we wear it really struck me that even though a few of these girls had grown up in a Christian home, going to a Christian school and attending a fundamental Baptist (let's just say we aren't known for our mini-skirts and crop tops) that none of them could really explain to me why we we should dress modestly.

What I lovingly refer to as my Baptist garb. You will not find a Baptist church that doesn't have at least one long blue jean skirt in it.

In a Sunday school class it is hard to go into the details as really it can lead to questions that parents should be answering, but it did get me thinking about what I am teaching my daughters. Of course we all have our own convictions as to what the Bible teaches us about modesty, but as Christians, we should be explaining these convictions to our children!

Required homeschool mom uniform

This post isn't to beat anyone over the head about what they should wear, in fact it isn't really about just modesty. It is about convictions in general. It is so easy to explain away our decisions to our children with a "because I said so" but what we are missing are valuable teaching moments that prepare our children for the world. How can we expect our children to walk into the world and hold firm when we are not preparing them?

The best way to ensure that your child(ren) question their faith as adults is to not answer their questions when they are children. I challenge you, the next time you give your child an instruction and they ask why, instead of taking the easy route of "because I said so" to explain to them why so that the next time you give the instruction they know and that one day when they are walking down the street and someone questions them on why they believe something, they can confidently share their faith and convictions with others.

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Perfect Parenting

No one prepared me for children.  I did think that after a full 10 years of infertility, praying and essentially begging God for them, that I was ready.  I read every manual, handbook, and website I came across that concerned child rearing.  I spoke with other mothers as if I had real knowledge about all things children and childhood.  I pitied them in both their successful and futile efforts of parenting their kids.  Pitied their success because surely, it was dumb luck that got the results, as they did not do what I would have done according to the all knowing book writers and of course common sense.  Pitied their failures because their first mistake was to *not* ask me for advice.  They just did not know the expert that I was, and could not be, because of our misfortune to be unable to reproduce our own offspring.

Then I picked up my first baby.  A 10 month old bouncing baby boy, whose birthmother, in a moment of wisdom mingled with desperation, grief, and despair, placed him for adoption.  As I took this child in my arms, I imagined I could feel her loss and felt so sorry that I was gaining from her pain.  But, this was the baby I dreamed of and I was going to do this parenting thing perfectly.
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Yes, Game On!
We took our baby home, put together his “Nursery in a Box”, while he watched on from a high chair, and began our foray into the world of parenting.  At this point in time, my only “real life” experience with parenting consisted of the afore mentioned books, and my year and a half of being a foster parent.  The foster parenting experience did lend itself to increasing my knowledge of parenting, but I was parenting the way that the State of Tennessee told me to.  There is a remarkable difference.  I did not feel the weight of responsibility, the burden that knowing that, yes, yes you can screw you child up for the rest of their life, and that only after years of therapy and multiple Oprah appearances can they ever be “normal” or “happy.”  I just did what I felt was right in my heart. For me this consisted of me constantly carrying the 1 year old girl, that I currently had courtesy of the state, around on my hip.  I did not worry that I was going to spoil her, did not worry that she was going to expect to be treated like a princess at 12, and did not worry about anything I had read in a book.  I just did what felt “natural”, within the boundaries the state of Tennessee set for me as her foster mother.  (I probably would have even tried to lactate and feed her breastmilk, but the state would have certainly frowned on that.)
Yay! This living life thing is fun! Now, servant mommy, pick me up!
My son did not receive that luxury.  He was loved and deeply cherished. But I felt the responsibility for him to “turn out right” to not “spoil” him and to “do it right.”  I did not do what came naturally for me, which looks more like attachment parenting.  I let him “cry it out”, put him to sleep and fed him at the appointed times.  I did not hold him all the time, even though I was desperate to do so.  I refused to let him whine or fuss about things.  I confess, I was hard on him.

Then, I got pregnant.  This is where some may think, “That always happens when someone adopts.”  Let me assure you, it doesn’t always happen, and as a matter of fact, rarely happens.  When you say this, it also cheapens adoption and it insinuates that adoption is a means to an end, suggesting that we only adopted to achieve pregnancy.  That is certainly not the case.  Anyway, I was fully aware during my pregnancy, that this was probably the only time that I would ever be pregnant, the only other baby I would ever have, and I threw the idea of perfection out the window.  I was going to enjoy it, darn it.  I chose to live every moment of my pregnancy (save the 40th week) in joy and satisfaction.  I knew that there were no guarantees that I would actually bring a baby home (my sister says I was jaded). So, I had pregnancy pictures taken, I took pictures of my pregnant self every week, talked about being pregnant to the point, I may have run off a few friends, and just generally lived in a constant state of gratitude.

This was a couple days before I delivered, I briefly considered putting was I was actually thinking while this picture was being taken, but you go running from the blog saying, "My eyes!" So, dear reader, I will not traumatize you with the reality that was this picture... *snicker*
I delighted in every ultrasound, cried every time we got to hear the heartbeat, and reveled in the attention and glory that pregnancy bestows on otherwise boring and plain women.  I bought an entire wardrobe of maternity clothes, started wearing them almost immediately and perfected the pregnancy waddle very early on.  Even though pregnancy was extraodinarily hard on my 30+ year old body, I relished the experience. 
Then, I brought home the baby.

I know!  So stinking cute!
 I knew from seeing the differences in the my son and my foster daughter, in terms of confidence, security, our bond, and general disposition, that I had indeed failed my son miserably.  I had already been moving to rectify the errors my perfectionist ways had caused, and was working on bonding more with my son.  I know enough not to continue repeating bad ideas, and knew that the way I parented my daughter was a far better “fit” for me.  Besides, I could not have put this new baby down, even if I wanted to, which I didn’t.  I did not worry about spoiling her, I was just so GRATEFUL that she was here, that I determined to live every day in the gratefulness that I had.  I put aside the desire to do everything “right” and decided to do what I felt my God & my heart told me to do.

Kids have this habit about them.  They all grow and change, and you as a parent have to grow and change.  That first little girl I mentioned, has an older sister.  She is now 11.  She is one of the girliest girls you will ever meet. 
I am so girlie! I love all things frou frou and fluffy and princess...
The other day I walked by the bathroom and smelled singed hair and sweat, I glanced in and my beautiful preteen was trying to flat iron her very kinky curly hair into straightened submission.  I tried to give her instruction on the “proper way” but she is determined that her way is best.  She popped out of the bathroom for a quick break from torturing fixing her hair, and asked, “Hey Mom? Can I get my eyebrows waxed?” I think her eyebrows are beautiful.  My first response was to laugh hysterically and say no, I can’t even get my OWN brows waxed, but I did not.  I took a deep breath, reminded myself that she was getting bigger and told her that I would pluck them for her.  After answering her questions about the procedure and assuring her that ripping your eyebrow hairs out by their roots did, in fact, hurt like.. Well, that, she declined.  She then asked about having a new face.  She is obviously beautiful, so why in the world does she want a new face?  She said that she wanted to look like the model on the front of the make up book.  The model has the perfect, botoxed to frozeness, look of serene happiness on her face.  So, I see in my daughter the desire to be what she considers perfect, and I want to hold on to her as tightly as I can and keep her from a quest that will be never ending.  I want her to know that she is perfect the way she is, and when she accepts that, she will find a level of peace that not many others can say they have.
I ended up adopting the little baby girl and her older sister.  Now I am the proud parent of four of the most beautiful children you have ever laid eyes on.   I want to live in peace about the way I parent. I don’t want to feel resentful of my kids or their demands on me because I am their mother and I am defined by that and that is okay.  I will never achieve an award from Parents magazine for being the perfect parent, for coming up with the newest discipline technique that “really works”, or have kids that always behave and make the right choices. Above all, I have to do what I feel is best for my children and live in peace with that.
Christmas photography 605
This is my life - And I am thankful....
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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Finding Joy

The past homeschooling year has been so hard!  With my son's illness, it was like I was lost and trying to find my way out of a strange city without a map.  You know there is a way out, the city is only so big, right? But, even if you try to stay straight, there is a fence that is too high to jump over, a creek too high and busy to swim across, so you have to go around it and then you are off course.  Nothing felt safe.

Scary times!
  When nothing feels safe, there is fear. Fear steals from us. It sucks the joy out of us, and makes it difficult to get up in the morning.  This is no life to live.  I have a coffee cup that reminds me, "Life is not a dress rehearsal."

I tell people all the time, that seek my advice, in all situations there are things we can "pick."  Today, I pick joy.  I want the joy back that fear stole from me. I get to pick that!  I may not get to fix my baby, but I can choose to show him how to live life. :-D

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Friday, January 6, 2012

How to be a Good Finder!

I am a good finder.  If it is lost, I can find it.  I never worry about losing my keys, because I always find them.  There are a few rare exceptions.  Last December, my dh lost my dh and I lost a $300 check.  We searched high and low and it was gone.  That was a sad day/week.  We came to the conclusion that one of the children may have thrown it away in their zeal to help 'clear off the desk'.  It now may take an act of congress to get it replaced.

Anyway, I regularly joke around with my sister that men are horrible finders.  Let's review this hypothetical situation.  The phone book has been misplaced.  They waltz into a room, raise their head off their shoulders a bit, turn around in a circle, and survey the area.  With the announcement, "It is not in here!" they walk away, unaware that the phonebook is under the pair of socks that they put on the coffee table.  To my consternation, I have found that this affliction does not only affect men and children, but some women. 

If this is you, NEVER FEAR.  I am here to help.  Here is the scenario:  You have lost your keys.  You have run around frantically, throwing things around, and yelling at the kids.  You are going to be late.
Take the following steps.
  1. Stop panicking.  You must stop, take a deep breath, and calm down.  
  2. Gather the kids, tell them you will give whoever finds the keys a dollar.  Send them to look in their room.
  3. Think about the things that go with keys.  Purse, cell phone, etc.  Do you have those items?
  4. Retrace your steps, orally.  Say them out loud. When do you last remember having them?  You used your keys when the family went out yesterday and you made it home, so the keys are at home.  Go look in the places around the path you took when you came in. 
  5. Check your car: look in the ignition, look under the seats, look in the console, look under the car. 
  6. Check your purse.  Empty it on the kitchen table.  Make sure it is empty.  Put everything back.
  7. Check your current pockets and the pockets of everything you may have worn in the past 3 days, including your coat!
  8. Check where you dress and undress.
  9. Remeber to NOT panic.  This is the most important thing.  Do not get emotional about this.  Emotions can cloud your memory and your judgement.  Call your husband and ask him if he had picked them up.  Do not fight with, snip at, or otherwise engage your husband.  Calmly thank him anyway and keep looking.
  10. If you have calmly retraced your steps and can't find them, move to the flat surfaces of the house.
  11. Look at all the flat surfaces. 
  12. Look under and beside the flat surfaces.
  13. If I still have not found them, I look in the crevices of cushions.  Maybe they fell out of my pocket when I sat down. 
  14. Start looking in every room.  Start with one corner of the room and look everywhere.  Look high, look low.  If you have a toddler, crawling around on the floor at their level sometimes help. 
  15. Look in stupid places, like the refrigerator. 
  16. Stay Calm!!!!!  Go back and repeat all of the steps. 
  17. Look in the trash. 
  18. Look under your bed.  Ahh Ha!!  There they are in the last place you would have ever looked!  They must have fallen out of your husbands pocket when he was taking his pants off!  That's right!  He took them from you when you were carrying in groceries.  :)
Final notes:  I don't call my husband first because I don't want to hear it I don't want to worry him, until I have checked the most logical places.  I attempt to bribe the kids with money because it motivates them to be looking while you are and that is what my mom always did.  LOL  But it turned me into a great finder.
Think, think, think.  Stay calm.  Think.  Picture everything you did in your mind.  Think about if the baby could have gotten what you have lost.  Babies play with things and leave them lying around.  They do not typically hide them.  If the baby had it, and she is anything like my baby, she can bring it to you if you can make her understand what you want.  :)  That is how I found the scissors last night. 
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: K'nex and Lincoln Logs

Just imagine it. Hours of quiet play time. Kids are getting along and everyone is happy. That doesn't happen often does it? Same here, but I can tell you when it does happen. It happens when the kids have engaging toys out.

K'nex and Lincoln Logs are two of our favorite toys and as you can imagine I couldn't turn a review down from them! I wanted to have all kinds of snazzy pictures of the actual boxes we got but my kids had them all dumped out before I could get to it! Needless to say they have never actually gone back into the boxes as they are constantly being played with!

K'nex are are these nifty plastic building materials that go together to make anything your imagination can dream up! They come in different sizes, flexibilities and some even glow in the dark! We were given a 350 piece value tub to review. I have to be honest, I love the value tubs more than I like the themed kits. My kids always seem to only want to do the theme when they get the kits and I love watching them take the value tub and dreaming up their own creations. We have seen everything from whales to cars and of course airplanes! The 350 piece value tub runs for $21.99 so is a great value as these toys are priceless and there is free shipping on orders over 75! Now, to warn you, there are some pretty small pieces in this tub and the box is rated for 7 and up. I definitely suggest that this age limit be observed also, vacuum cleaners love small K'nex pieces as a snack. Ask my Dyson how I know that.

We loved our kit, but there are so many to choose from if you would rather have a themed one. I mean check out this super cool Amusement Park Series or these Monster Jam sets! There are even Sesame Street sets for the younger aspiring architect. K'nex are a definite must have toy in your homeschooling (or not) house!

The second item we were blessed with was Lincoln Logs. Lincoln Logs are real wooden logs that have been notched to fit together in a log cabin style. The sets usually have some plastic roofing and a figurine as well. I have to say that these are my favorites! I personally sat and built with them by myself for several hours. We were given the Fort Hudson Set which runs $25.99 and is age rated for 3 and up. As with the K'nex there are several sets to choose from and something I loved was the Little Prairie set that is designed just for girls!

If I had to choose a con for K'nex or Lincoln Logs, I would have to say that they can be kind of pricey. However, they are ageless toys that can easily last until your child is grown! My 26 year old brother may have had more fun with them than the kids did when he came down to visit! Other than the price, I can not think of a single reason why you should not have these in your home!

Do you already have and love K'nex or Lincoln Logs? Tell me about how you incorporate them into your homeschool day! In the mean time, be sure to pop on over to Facebook and like K'nex!

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