Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My Daily Schedule/Routine

I love schedules and routines. I always have and always will. I love knowing when I am going to do various tasks and knowing if I follow it, I will get everything done that needs to be done. We are following a pretty nice routine right now. I am hoping we can keep it up.

Our Daily Routine:

Sometime when there is a 6 at the front of the clock - I wake up, get ready, make coffee, and have my quiet time with God.

Sometime when there is a 7 at the front of the clock - The kids wake up, get ready, have their quiet time with God, and do their morning chores (make beds, get dressed, put PJs in hamper, straighten up bedrooms, Luke takes care of Leo). I do morning chores (make beds, straighten up, start laundry, make breakfast, pack lunch for Lee, start dinner prep).

Sometime when there is an 8 at the front of the clock - Breakfast and Weekly chores

Sometime when there is a 9 at the front of the clock - Morning school starts

Morning School Routine:

AWANA for both
Bible for both
Vocabulary for Luke/Read Alouds for Nathan
Spelling for Luke/Busy Box for Nathan
Snack and Literature for both
Handwriting for Both
Grammar for Luke/Busy Box for Nathan
Writing for Luke/Busy Box for Nathan
Math for Luke/Alphabet, Number, Color, Shape for Nathan

Sometime when there is a 12 at the front of the clock - Lunch break

Sometime when there is a 1 at the front of the clock - Afternoon school starts

Afternoon School Routine:
Science for Luke/Busy Box for Nathan or let him rest/free play
History for Luke/Busy Box for Nathan or let him rest/free play

Sometime when there is a 3 at the front of the clock - School ends

We all take a couple hours of quiet time

During the evening time, we can have church or sports activities.

We play together, read together, or just chill out until time to make dinner.

I make dinner around 6:00pm and we have dinner when there is a 6 at the front of the clock when Lee gets home.

After dinner, Lee usually plays with the boys (I sometimes join them).

Sometime when there is an 8 at the front of the clock - bedtime routine (bath/shower, PJs, clothes in hamper, teeth, reading, devotionals, prayers)

Sometime when there is a 9 at the front of the clock (working on making this an 8) - boys go to bed, Lee and I chill out until we go to bed doing various things (watching TV, reading, working, chores, Bible study, etc)

Our Cleaning Schedule

I don't know about you but I struggle to keep a clean home even though I really like cleaning and enjoy the fruits of the work. If I don't have a plan I find myself cleaning the same thing too often or not enough. I like having a basic plan for how I am going to clean my home and do laundry (as well as how the family is going to help). I have changed it many times over the years. Here is a post on How to Create a Cleaning Schedule

My Current Cleaning Schedule:

Make beds (Luke does his and I do ours and Nathan's - he helps me)

Straighten up bedrooms (Luke does his and I do ours and Nathan's - he helps me)
Put clothes in dirty hampers (Everyone responsible for their own)
Wash dishes after each meal and snack (Boys clear, I wash dishes - Luke sometimes does)
Load dishwasher after each meal and snack (I do this, Luke sometimes does)
Unload dishwasher as needed (I do this)
Wipe down kitchen after each meal (Luke wipes table and chairs, I do counters)
Sweep/vacuum kitchen after dinner (I do this)
Wipe down downstairs bathroom every couple of days (I do this)
Vacuum living room every couple of days (I do this)
Straighten up behind ourselves (especially living room) (We all do this)

Change all sheets and launder (Luke does his and I do ours and Nathan's - he helps me)

Wash casual clothes (Boys collect, I wash, dry, and fold, Boys help put away)
Vacuum (Luke does 3rd floor, I do 2nd floor)

Bathrooms (Luke does his and I do ours and Nathan's - he helps me)
Change all towels and launder (Luke does his and I do ours and Nathan's - he helps me)

Bonus rooms (Luke and Nathan clean up their playroom, I clean up my office)
Wash Lee's work clothes (I do this)

No weekly chores as we have coop all day

Scrubbing days (working on doing 1 shower or tub each week so they don't all have to be done at once)
Clean out van or Lee's car (alternating)
Yard work (Lee pretty much does all of the yard work)

No weekly chores as we have church and try to keep the afternoons/evenings for relaxing/family time

I am finding this works well for us. We are doing roughly 2 loads of laundry 4 days a week and a manageable amount of chores.

I would love to hear how you do your cleaning/laundry.

What Curriculum Do You Use?

One of the biggest questions that I get about homeschooling is, "What curriculum do you use?" We are what the homeschool circles call "eclectic," meaning we use a little bit of everything and pick and choose what we want to use for each subject rather than sticking to one set curriculum like Abeka or Bob Jones. I have posted over the years about each school year.

Homeschooling Your 3/4 Year Old

Homeschooling Your 4/5 Year Old

Homeschooling Your Kindergartner

Over the years we have used the following curriculum:

AWANA - Puggles, Cubbies, Sparks, and T&T books and resources (LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT AWANA)

BIBLE - 24 Family Ways (LOVE), Family Time Bible, reading through the Bible in a year, Picture This Bible (LOVE), Kay Arthur studies for kids, Bob Jones Bible curriculum

READING - Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading (LOVE), All About Reading (LOVE), various phonics books, lots of books

SPELLING - All About Spelling (LOVE), Sequential Spelling (LOVE)

VOCABULARY - English from the Roots Up (LOVE)

GRAMMAR - various grammar workbooks

WRITING - various writing workbooks

HANDWRITING - Handwriting Without Tears (LOVE), A Reason for Handwriting (LOVE)

MATH - Horizons, Singapore Math

HISTORY - History for Little Pilgrims, Mystery of History (LOVE)

SCIENCE - Christian Liberty Press science books, Apologia (LOVE)

This year we are doing some things we have done before, but we are also doing a bunch of new things.

Nathan is doing the 4/5 year old curriculum I did with Luke. :) He is also doing the AWANA Appleseed book this year. He loves to do puzzles, pattern blocks, games, color, paint, play doh, and sand.

AWANA - Luke is in T&T and will be completing his Challenge 1 book and some extra credit books this year.

BIBLE - Luke is doing Cat and Dog Theology. Basically it teaches about making God famous versus making ourselves famous. A dog wants to make dog famous; a cat wants to make himself famous. It's a cute curriculum, but gets a lot deeper than that. We learn a verse and character trait each week and read true missionary stories and pray for missionaries all over the world. WE ARE LOVING THIS!

READING - Luke knows how to read. He just reads for school and fun. :)

SPELLING - Luke is using Sequential Spelling which we love. It builds on words so by the end of 4 lessons you are spelling very long words. I love it because it makes sense and isn't just memorizing 10 words that don't go together at all.

VOCABULARY - Luke is doing something new this year. He is doing WordBuild which teaches roots, prefixes, and suffixes. You focus on one for the week (we are actually doing two a week) and do various activities so you learn the meaning and build words with them. It is awesome! Luke loves it! We are also learning vocabulary words in grammar, writing, science, and history.

GRAMMAR - Luke is doing IEW (Institute of Excellence in Writing) Fix-It Grammar with his coop and has homework each day of the week (M-TH). You work on one sentence a day putting the proper punctuation, labeling the various grammar parts, selecting proper homophones, and looking up one vocabulary word. Then you write out the sentence. I really like it. I think it breaks grammar down in a way that is easily understood. Luke even likes it.

WRITING - Luke is doing IEW writing with his coop and has homework each day of the week (M-TH). I LOVE THIS CURRICULUM! It teaches writing in a very methodical way. They write a paper and then work on beefing it up throughout the week. It is just awesome.

HANDWRITING - Luke is continuing with cursive through A Reason for Handwriting. He also does a ton of handwriting between Bible, Spelling, Grammar, Writing, Science, and History.

MATH - Luke is doing Teaching Textbooks this year. We love it because I get to outsource math to the computer. Luke does an interactive lesson, practice problems, and 20ish problems each day. He has quizzes after 7 lessons (roughly every 2 weeks). We love it because Luke can "play on the computer" and I see a virtual gradebook that shows me every answer and I can go back with him and help him if he gets something wrong.

SCIENCE - Luke is doing Apologia Flying and Swimming Creatures this year in his coop and has daily homework (M-TH). WE LOVE APOLOGIA!!!!!!!! It is a Creator-based science that points to God as Creator. He reads, writes down facts in his notebook, has activities to enhance his learning, and does the hands-on projects with his coop.

HISTORY - Luke is doing Tapestry of Grace history through his coop and has daily homework (M-TH). WE LOVE TAPESTRY OF GRACE!!! We read living books, autobiographies, biographies, and other cool history books to bring history to life (more fun than just a textbook). He writes down fascinating facts about various people in history. He studies maps and geography. Then at coop his teachers (1 of them is me - I LOVE HISTORY) make is super fun through games, activities, plays, and projects. IT IS AWESOME!

LITERATURE - Luke reads books related to history for TOG. He also reads for fun. :)

We are really pleased with our school year and curriculum choices so far.

Started Our 5th Year of Homeschooling

It's crazy to think we just started our 5th year of homeschooling. My oldest son, Luke, is now in 4th grade and is over 5 feet tall and nearly 100 pounds. He will be taller than me before I know it. It is hard to believe that we have been doing this homeschooling thing for over 4 years. Here is a flashback to our homeschooling through the years. Let me grab the tissues.

This is when Luke was in K4/5 preschool (2010/2011)

This is Luke's first day of Kindergarten (2011/2012)

This was Luke's first day of 1st grade (2012/2013)

This was Luke's first day of 2nd grade (2013/2014)

This was Luke's first day of 3rd grade (2014/2015)

This was Luke's first day of 4th grade (2015/2016)

When I look at these pictures I see so many things. First, I see the faithfulness of God over these past four years. When we started K4/5, I had a newborn baby, Nathan, and was grieving the loss of his twin sister, Alexis. Through God's strength working in my weakness, we got through (and continue to get through). There have been mountaintop days and valley days. We take it year to year, month to month, week to week, day to day, hour to hour, and even minute to minute. I cling to my life verse, 2nd Corinthians 12:9 - And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

I also see that my little boy, who has never really seemed little, has really grown into a young man after God's own heart. He has come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior, has grown in his personal walk with the Lord, and continues to grow everyday. It is so special to have a front row seat to his life and see what God is doing and continues to do in and through him. I get excited thinking of where and how God is going to use him.

I see that we have changed our school room around quite a lot. LOL! We started at a small table in the corner of the bonus room, moved to a school room that has been moved from a spare bedroom and is now in our "dining room." It's awesome to see how we've evolved and gained in resources and space.

I am just so thankful to be able to homeschool my children. While I know it is not for everyone, I know without a shadow of doubt that it is for us. I absolutely love it. :)

It's Been a While

Hey! It's been 2 1/2 years a while since I have blogged. I have decided to pick it back up. We will see how disciplined I stay with keeping up with posts. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Illusions that Help with Weight Loss

Tonight I made fat-free sugar-free chocolate pudding.  It was yummy.  In order to make it more appealing, I put the pudding into 4 tiny dishes.  The dishes almost couldn't hold all of the pudding.  It is a great illusion.  It makes you think you are getting more.  The kids loved it.  The husband wondered how many more we had.  I enjoyed a nice sweet treat without feeling deprived. :)

Healthy Fast Food - Chinese Chicken & Broccoli

I love Chinese food!  Of course by now you probably know that I love most food.  LOL!  Hence the eating healthy thing.

Chinese Chicken & Broccoli

Olive oil
1lb chicken, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
4 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp Splenda
4 Tbsp corn starch
2 Tbsp white vinegar
Ground ginger to taste
Steamed broccoli

Cook chicken in olive oil until done.
Mix chicken broth, soy sauce, Splenda, corn starch, vinegar, and ginger with a whisk.
Add to chicken and cook until sauce thickens.
Add steamed broccoli (I use the steamer bag in the microwave).

This meal takes about 20 minutes to cook.  Super fast.  You can add some rice or the Ginger Soy "Fried" Couscous (http://organizedhomemaking.blogspot.com/2011/07/ginger-soy-fried-couscous.html) as a starch.

Nutrition Information: (4 servings)
Calories: 173, Fat: 4, Carbs: 8, Fiber: 0, Protein: 26, WW PP: 4

Fast Food Chinese Chicken and Broccoli:
Calories: 260, Fat: 8, Carbs: 21, Fiber: 3, Protein: 27, WW PP: 7

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Healthy Fast Food - Soft Tacos

I am on this health kick and am attempting to make stuff I like at fast food places at home.  This saves me calories, fat, and cash.

Soft Tacos

8 Mission Carb Balance tortillas
1lb lean ground beef
Taco seasoning mix
Shredded lowfat mexican cheese
Shredded lettuce
Taco sauce
Fat free sour cream

Cook taco meat (beef, taco seasoning mix, water) as indicated on taco seasoning mix directions.
Put meat on tortillas and top with desired toppings (cheese, lettuce, sauce, sour cream).

Nutrition Information:
2 tortillas with 1/4 taco meat mix, 1/4 cup cheese, lettuce, taco sauce, and 2 Tbsp sour cream:
Calories: 400, Fat: 15, Carbs: 28, Fiber: 16, Protein: 36 = 9 WW PP

By comparison, 2 Taco Bell Supreme Soft Tacos:
Calories: 460, Fat: 22, Carbs: 44, Fiber: 6, Protein: 20 = 12 WW PP

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ginger Stir Fry

I love stir fry!  What a great way to get in a bunch of veggies.  Here is a great mix and match recipe:

Ginger Stir Fry

1lb chicken breasts, shrimp, lean steak (or no meat if you want it to be vegetarian or a veggie side dish), cut into slices/chunks
Zucchini, sliced
Peppers, sliced
Carrots, sliced
Onions, sliced
(Any other veggies you want - if you do spinach cook it at the very end)
Olive oil
Stir fry sauce (with the soy sauce in the grocery store)
Ground ginger (you can use fresh if you want)

Prep all your veggies.
Cook them in a pan with olive oil until pretty much done.
Remove them.
Add a little more olive oil if needed.
Add meat.
Cook until done.
Add sauce and ginger to taste and stir.
Add veggies.
Stir and cook until done.

Healthy Fast Food - Breakfast Sandwich

You are probably thinking, that is an oxymoron, "healthy fast food."  I am not talking about the traditional fast food.  I am talking about creating our own fast food at home that is healthy and hearty.  One of my favorite things is going to fast food for breakfast.  I like hearty stuff (I am not much for cereal, bars, etc) so stopping is a great way to get something that will hold me.  Of course it costs money and calories.

Here is a great swap for those heavy breakfast sandwiches.

1 high fiber, low calorie English muffin
1 egg
1 slice fat free cheese
1-2 oz fat free deli ham

Put the English muffin in the toaster.
Put the egg in a ramekin (small bowl) and scramble and cook in microwave for 1 minute.
When the muffin and egg are done, put the egg on the muffin (it should fit just right), add the cheese and ham, and VIOLA! you are done.  :)

This takes all of about 3-5 minutes (faster than driving through at McD's for sure), is only about $1.00 vs $2.00+, and is a lot healthier than my typical breakfast biscuit (roughly 250 calories).

Monday, January 7, 2013

Easy and Tasty (and Healthy) Smoothie Recipe

I love Smoothies!  They are so simple, nourishing, and tasty.  Today I made a yummy smoothie for my boys and me. 

Here is the recipe:
1 cup orange juice
1 container fat free plain Greek yogurt
Frozen strawberries
Blend in a blender. :)

You can use any juice, any yogurt (I like the plain fat free Greek because it is low in sugar and fat and has protein in it to balance the carbs from juice and fruit), and any fruit.  I like to do some frozen fruit to make it thicker.

Yummy Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins



  • Combine banana, yogurt, brown sugar, egg, and oil in a large bowl. (I used my Kitchenaid mixer)
  • Add oats and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • Combine dry ingredients.
  • Add blueberries and dry ingredients to wet and stir until just combined.
  • Put in paper lined muffin tin and bake in a preheated 375 oven, until tops are firm to touch. (I baked them for 15 minutes).

These were so good.  My nearly 7 year old said they were his favorite muffins ever.  :) 

Serving Size: 1 Muffin, Total Servings: 12
Calories per Muffin: 184
Fat per Muffin: 6
Carbs per Muffin: 30
Fiber per Muffin: 2
Protein per Muffin: 5
WW PP per Muffing: 5

Friday, January 4, 2013

Yummy & Healthy Italian Chicken Pasta Salad

I am working to get myself back into shape before we have another pregnancy.  I know it is going to be a long journey.  I will probably share some of that on here, but mostly I will be sharing recipes that are yummy and healthy.

Italian Chicken Pasta Salad

1 lb chicken breast
1 package Wishbone Italian salad dressing mix
8oz whole wheat rotini
Zucchini, chopped
Carrots, chopped
Peppers, chopped
Fat free Italian dressing

Rub Italian salad dressing mix on chicken breasts.
Grill chicken until done.
While chicken is grilling, cook pasta until done and chop up veggies.
Rinse cooked pasta with cold water until pasta is cold.
Chop up chicken.
Combine pasta, veggies, and chicken.
Add Italian dressing and toss.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Freezer Cooking Made Simple

With CHRISTmas season upon us, I decided to do a major shopping/prepping/freezer cooking deal but keep it simple.  I chose 16 dishes to make over the month (we eat at church on Wednesdays, eat out once a week, and would have some dishes with leftovers).  I chose to do Spaghetti, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Baked Ziti, Goulash, Chicken Parmesan, Buffalo Chicken Tenders, "Fried" Chicken Tenders, Maple Glazed Chicken, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Stuffing Pie, Chicken and Noodles, Chicken Noodle Soup, Meatloaf, Salisbury Steak, Pot Roast, and Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Beef Bake.

I made a list of all ingredients, made a big Walmart run, and got everything prepped/freezer cooked.  I cooked up 2 batches of spaghetti sauce for the Spaghetti and Baked Ziti.  I prepped the meatballs and froze them.  I froze a pound of beef for the goulash.  I prepped the meatloaf and froze it.  I prepped the Salisbury steak patties and froze them.  I cooked a pound of beef and froze it for the GMP & BB.  I cooked 3 pounds of chicken and froze them for the CSP and CPP.  I prepped up some chicken and froze it in 1 pound packages for the other dishes.

It is nice that I will just have to lay something out each day, do a little prep and heating up, and we will have dinner.  Great for this busy time of year.