Friday, November 9, 2018

Just a lot crammed into one week.....

I love fall!!  Unfortunately the weird weather this year has not given us much of a chance to enjoy beautiful colors.  It was so hot and then bam we got hit with wet and cold weather.  But I'm trying to enjoy the beautiful trees as much as I can. 

This week was a bit crazy.  My aunt lost her husband, my uncle, the end of last week.  So the first part of this week was spent at the funeral home helping my aunt as much as I could.  

Sports this week were a little quiet.  They had bowling, swimming (Regionals are next weekend!), riding and also archery.  Soon starts basketball!!

The girls learned how to use the diving blocks better this week.

For Pumpkin Day.... we had pumpkin fudge (Low-carb) and pumpkin manicotti.  Neither dish was popular with the kids.  But they all tried it.

Toward the end of the week some friends of ours found some woolly bear caterpillars for us to watch.  We were so excited!!!  We spent a few hours last week watching videos and reading about their life cycle.  The girls made a caterpillar habitat for them and we have them on our back deck to watch this winter/spring.

I found this game at Meijers a couple weeks ago to play with the girls.  I think they liked it.  It's called Fishing for Words.

Caty started multiplication (again).  She had some regression that we had to look at.  One of our math activities was a multiplication dice game.

 In Science we worked on Genetics.  It's going to be our topic for a couple weeks.  They did a taste test of PTC paper.  It was interesting.  Some our kids tasted the paper and one did not.

We got the idea from the Amoeba Sister videos on Youtube.  I highly recommend that science series for middle school science!

Our geography this week....we are working on our geography fair project.  So we did not do an in-depth study of Panama.  But we did watch a video on the Panama canal and a couple other touristy type videos.

Reading while I was teaching at co-op.  Doesn't everyone read like this?!?!

We did spend a couple days literally driving kids between activities including sports, archery practice, work and Social Skills therapies.  And then Friday morning we literally spent 3 hours getting initial checks done at a new doctor office.  I wasn't sure about this new practice, but we have been super impressed.  They answered a lot of my questions and actually listened...I mean listened to us.  

We caught a Home Depot workshop, which kind of got Caty out of a bad mood...slightly.  She had a rough week of highs and many lows with her blood sugar.

Had to do a Costco run...I seriously hate all forms of grocery shopping right now.

The local library had their Manga Club meeting.  Caty loved playing Just Dance with the group.  She wants to go back.

The mess one morning in the living room.

We did more drawing.  Caty asked if we could do this more often, since she enjoys it.

Hanging with the dogs.

Working on her bible reading.

We bought a new entertainment stand that has a heater in it.  I'll take more pictures later.  They did well working together to finish this project.

It was a rough couple weeks of eye appointments, doctor check-ups, and even a few more dentist visits/follow-ups.  Made for a rough week fitting schoolwork in.  But we did manage to fit in the basics making use of "van-schooling" as I call it.  Lydia also managed to get her guitar and piano practice in.  I can't wait for more to slow down in the next could weeks.  I'm using Lisa Tanner Writing - Balancing Diapers and Deadlines to try and organize us through the new level of craziness.

Hope everyone had a great week!  Linking up with other moms at:

Friday, November 2, 2018

Lisa Tanner Writing - Balancing Diapers & Deadlines Review

Lisa Tanner Writing
We recently had the opportunity to review Balancing Diapers and Deadlines written and published by Lisa Tanner Writing.  She offered some excellent tips and eye-opening reminders about working from home with families.

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines

When stay-at-home moms decide to start a business or even working outside the home, it affects the entire family.  Things just are not the same for not only the adults as they take on more responsibility, but also it usually means some "major" changes for the kids.  Not that they have more work to do, but because they now may have to wait a little bit for mom and dad's time.  Mom especially may not be able to respond immediately to a non-emergency situation, even when the kids think it's an emergency.

We have been struggling in our house.  I run a small online business, plus teach at a local co-op.  This is on top of the kids activities, doctor appointment, sports, and helping my family.  So I'm stretched pretty thin balancing between the 4 kids and my husband.  To say life has been a bit stressful is pretty obvious.

I was not sure what to expect from this class.  After all, what could this particular mom be able to teach me?  But I logged in to the very user friendly interface.  I'm glad that I kept a notebook handy for notes.....ok it was the Pages feature on my phone.  But they were excellent reminders for me to remember.  

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines is roughly an 8-session course, that has several sub-courses.  This allows you to fit it into your schedule.  As you are learning more about time management and working from home, you do not need to worry about finding an hour to sit down and read a lesson.  Instead it takes roughly 10-15 minutes to read and really start pondering over her words of wisdom.  Then you can work on implementing any suggestions that she may have made.  Lisa Tanner is writing from experience.  She has written down all that she has experienced and learned while starting her own freelance writing business.  The tips she is giving have been proven to work.

One of my first favorite points was about flexibility.  Not only do I work from home, and now in the classroom 1 day a week, but I do it all with 4 kids with special needs.  Flexibility is not something they thrive on.  I try to keep a rigid schedule, since most kids do well with that, but lately that has been horrible.  I am truly floundering trying to keep it rigid.  I need to make adjustments in a more announced manner for them.  This includes even on dinner nights, because Brayden expects to be served what is on the posted meal  But that reminder about flexibility has me even thinking ahead about meals.  I try to now keep a substitute meal in the freezer, one that he likes, that takes roughly 15 minutes to prepare....just in case.  That has helped me out a few times recently when I have been in a bind .... you know the days I forget to turn on the crockpot ( no one else has ever done that one!).

I will admit I was struggling with trying to figure out our schedule so that we can accomplish what we need to do each day, but was feeling like there was no flexibility left in our lives.  Balancing Diapers and Deadlines reminded me that there can be flexibility in life and that we can accomplish all that we need to do.  But we need to do our best to work together.  That is the key.... working together and communication between everyone in the household.

Several of the lessons had hyperlinks to other resources that Lisa Tanner has written on the subjects in that lesson.  It really was nice to have all the information tied nice and neat into almost a book style approach to learning how to get a better handle on our current crazy life.

There are also Action Steps and suggestions for you to do to make taking these steps easier.

I challenged myself to take on and make a plan.  I tackled the meal plan part easily.  That’s something I have to keep track of closely.  But some days it is harder when I have a bunch of running to do on top of each kid having their own activities.  Her suggestion to even make my weekly meal plan is awesome.  We are working on our annual meal plan with some adjustments, because they all have their favorite meals.  But even Lisa has included what her family annual plan is, so that gave the kids some reminders that we do not need to eat the same 3-4 meals all the time!  

Lisa has a daily family meeting with her family.  We have a crazy morning schedule, so a family meeting is not feasible, I have tried.  So I started printing a schedule for the day so that the kids knew exactly what to expect.  I kept it posted on the fridge next to the weekly meal plan.  This felt overwhelming when I first started.  But I created a template in Microsoft Word, so I can print it daily in case I need to make any adjustments.  The kids have no excuse for not knowing what is going on then.

I was resistant to one of her suggestions about having a Mason jar system of reward/punishment.  I really thought that this might be just one more thing for me to keep track of.  But as the kids continue to not be cooperative and many time choose to “forget” to do their chores, I’m going to be instituting her suggestion with the girls first.  I think we’ll do Pom-poms or beans.  I think colored/glitter Pom-poms though will be enticing for the girls.  I’ll update you in a couple months how this goes.

It’s baby steps as I go through this course.  The disorganization that I have found us in, did not happen overnight. So our journey back to smooth sailing will take a little bit of time too.  But with the suggestions that I’m already implementing and the more I am continuing to learn from the course, Balancing Diapers and Deadlines, I can see the storm settling down soon!  I have been very grateful to have the opportunity to read the wisdom from Lisa Tanner about how to save myself some stress.

Several members of the Homeschool Review Crew were given the opportunity to read Balancing Diapers and Deadlines.  Visit the link below to see what they thought of this program and how it helped them.

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Lisa Tanner Writing Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

More DNA, Archery Starts, Bowling Tournament, and Fall Activities

Making DNA strands from Pony Beads!

A friend gave us this huge "voluntary" watermelon.  It was huge.  This watermelon took two people to carry.  Check it out!  I think it was almost 50 pounds.

Archery started back.  Lydia absolutely loves archery.  She hasn't been for a while, and they started offering classes again.  So we signed up for her to get in some extra practice session with some excellent instructors.  

Some of our history reading from this week.  We also watched a few specials on the Aztec, Mayan, and Incan empires.

We had a massively busy few days planned.  We started our weekend visiting our family in Indiana and visiting a corn maze (one of our family's favorite fall activities)!

Hanging out after getting wet at the corn maze.  Pizza and movies with cousins.

Brayden had his first state event in Special Olympics.  He was invited to compete with our state bowling team.  So the next day we went to Columbus, Ohio for state tournament!!

He bowled his heart out.  He earned his first gold medal!

After we were done with his state tournament we headed back home for the two hour drive to pack the van and truck for a quick road trip into Michigan to visit the new Tree Canopy at Dow Gardens in Midland, Michigan.

This was a neat trip.  We only spent a day there and barely saw everything the park had to offer.  Most of the canopy is handicap accessible.

But there were some cool climbing areas also.

A see-through ledge to step out on.

The leaves were barely changing because of the weird fall weather we were having.  But we saw a few very beautiful leaves/trees.

We also had a great time hanging at the hotel with our friends that came along.

It was a bit crazy the rest of the week with schoolwork.  Brayden had the week off and the girls did math and we also worked on reading/listening to our history (Story of the World Volume 2).  We still kept plenty

On our way home from Michigan, we stopped at our local science museum to see the Popology exhibit.  Joey got to drive the robot.

We did work on our geography and finished learning about the Greater Antilles this week.

We went woolly bear caterpillar hunting.  But we got rain this week, a lot of it.  So we didn't find any.

Saw some beautiful sites though.

Lots of swimming practice for upcoming Regionals!

We worked on some drawing/painting activities from Youtube.

And Lydia worked hard on her archery also.

Hope everyone had a great week!!