Saturday, September 14, 2019

Fall Cleaning: Link to Cleaning Printable + Fall Crockpot Recipe!

*links are affiliated. I get a small compensation with any purchase that you make."

With this title, I had all sorts of plans. I wanted to show you before and afters, to show you pictures of my son getting involved (especially since a lot of my blog is about my children and their education), pictures of my delicious Crock-pot recipe spooned out artistically on one of my pretty glass dishes. Instead I am going to share with you 'real life', because almost none of that happened.

It started out well...I had this spring cleaning printable from Clutterbug that I put in a clear sheet and marked out everything that I had recently done or didn't apply to my space.

I liked the idea of cleaning from top to bottom, and one of my main goals was to get all the ceiling fans cleaned.  I then dressed for the occasion, workout leggings and an oversized T. I lit a candle in the Kitchen and began to confront the first step-the kitchen. I liked that she starts with dishes, as it is my least favorite thing to do, and once it's done, I feel like I can do anything! Unfortunately that is also where things started to derail.  

I do want to share my recent cleaning routine, as it's been a game changer with how I keep up my house, but since I was out of my normal schedule I started to get distracted. Dirty kitchen towels reminded me of laundry, laundry reminded me of needing to change my sheets (dishes were done by this point, and turning the mattress was on the list), Baby Girl got fussy and wanted a nap, but I decided to clean the fans before that happened. I got that done and cleaned the windows while she napped. I almost finished, before I realized that I needed to get my crock-pot meal started. 

I had this picture taken, ready to couple it with the end result. However, my husband disliked it so much that he wound up going to Sonic to get something to eat. Oops. Instead I'll give you a link to one of our favorite Crock-pot meals, that's easy to put together, and you can add broccoli or your favorite veggie to complete the meal. This one is tried and true, as opposed to what we actually had for dinner. 

The rest of the day seemed to be a series of distractions, where I managed to get *most* fans cleaned, and *most* windows washed, but everything seemed to only be half done. Anyone have a day like that? I am still thankful the things that got done, did get done. The rest of my fall cleaning might have to be finished another day. 

Before I finish, I do want to talk about some of my favorite cleaners from Grove. Using this link you can get free products with your first time purchase. I also get $10 off my next order, so win/win! 
Grove has introduced their new fall scented Mrs. Meyers products. I have the Spiced Pumpkin scent, which I didn't know if I liked at first, but it seems to have grown on me. I have heard amazing things about the Acorn Scent though. 

My favorite products, though, are almost anything Method- the bathroom spray, and the degreaser . Also, my Grove brand window cleaner made cleaning the windows a breeze and I love cleaning my floors with their floor spray. A miss for me was the tile and tub cleaner. I much prefer the Method bathroom spray which really is an all-in-one spray. This makes my minimalist wannabe self very happy! 

Here is the link to where you can look for yourself. If it is your first time to purchase, you get a free 5 piece set! The amazing scents and lit candle did get me into the cleaning mood, no matter how half done all that cleaning was!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Decorating for Fall + Easy DIY Fall Wreath on a Budget!

**Amazon links are Affiliated**

I recently posted about how I am simplifying my heart and home for fall. I thought I would show you around my house and take you on a tour of how this works 'in real life'. I am also adding tips I use to decorate simply and on a budget. 

It all starts with lugging the two boxes of fall decor out of the closet, where I excitedly examine all of the things, nearly forgotten, or old time favorites. Hues of burnt orange, reds, and yellows fly out of the box, as I try to keep up with my 5 year old (who is nearly as excited as momma!)

This year, I tried to be more intentional with what I got out, and where I put it. I am also trying to see how much I 'love' where something is. If it doesn't bring me 'joy' I plan to donate it when the season is over. (Note: This is just stuff...It brings me no joy like things that really matter. However, I do want pieces that I really love to look at, and help me enjoy my home.)

 A great favorite for decorating during the fall and Christmas seasons, is my stove. The brick and black stove act as a beautiful contrast to rich tones. As you see, just a few items make the area scream fall!

My tip for buying more expensive pieces, is to wait until December to buy for the following year. Don't go crazy though! It's easy to buy because it's simply on sale. Buy things that really compliment your space, and you love.
This pumpkin centerpiece I bought at a little shop in Waco, is gorgeous in person. It needs a bigger candle in the middle, but I haven't bought one for it yet. My tip for centerpieces is having a base that is interchangeable for the seasons. This wood base holds decor for the table, all year long! 

 Another favorite place, is this chalkboard shelf. It's the perfect place to display seasonal items, and easy to change out sayings from season to season.

Chalkboard tip: When using chalk markers, they can be tricky to get off, once they've been on there a while. Use a magic eraser, and it comes right off!
I think one of my favorite things about the fall/Thanksgiving season, is the emphasis on gratitude. It's easy to get caught up in the 'wishing' for the things we see in magazines or social media. This season reminds us to pause and give thanks for the things we have. There's nothing wrong with freshening up a space, or buying something new, but it should never be done out of envy or wanting to be like everyone else.

Easy DIY Wreath for Under $10!

Technically I spent $3 on this, as I used the wreath form from the summer. I hot glued the pieces on, so it will now be my fall wreath, and I won't be able to change it out from season to season. However, the wreath form itself, only cost around $5 from Michael's.  

 I picked up 2 garlands from the Dollar tree, one with a mini pumpkin, and one with an acorn. I also picked up a sprig of these burnt orange burlap flowers. I took everything off the stems, and hot glued them in place. I experimented with different arrangements before I came up with the layout I liked. I hot glued each piece in place, and it took less than 30 minutes to finish! The finished result is perfect for the front door, and fit our budget well.

What is your favorite thing to set out during the fall season? Pumpkins, Flowers, Candles? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Simplifying Your Heart and Home for Fall

As the leaves begin to change colors and the air begins to get crisp and cool (for us in the south it means we are finally out of daily heat advisories!) our lives can also get very busy. From football games, to dance lessons, 4-H classes or Co-ops life can feel like we are constantly running from one thing to another. After we come home, we see it cluttered and dirty and after a full day, it can be hard to want to clean it! Reflecting on the busyness of my all time favorite season caused me to stop and make for myself goals for the fall that I want to share with you, today.

Saying 'No' 

Just like a cluttered home can cause anxiety and stress, so can a cluttered week. All of the extra curricular things can be fun, but it can also cause stress on not just you, but the children you are doing the activities for. Late dinners, late nights, lack of sleep, and if you are a homeschool mom, another symptom can be less being done with school. 
Decide for yourself how much you actually want to do, and how often you think is okay for you to be doing activities. For me, I am trying to schedule only 1-2 things per week, and as early in the day as possible (I know for non-homeschool moms that's a bit impossible). This way, I'm simply not as tired at the end of the day, and it allows more time for school, outdoors, and family time (and maybe a few things on that fall bucket list I pinned on Pinterest!).


My simplified approach to a fall home

I've discovered that while I love the ideas of a minimalistic home, I also love the cozy feel of home decorations. I love color as well as neutral tones, so instead of sticking to the idea of a minimalist home having to be all white with bare shelves and surfaces, I chose things that I enjoy seeing, and perhaps have dual purpose. 

To keep my fall decor simple this year, I only have 2 normal sized boxes (not large totes-I think I could still have room in a large tote for things-perhaps I'll get a tote this year) of fall decor. Last year I discovered some of my decor got ruined, and I decided not to replace it and work with what I had, until I saw a sale, or saw something that really brought joy or helped my space in my house. 

My goals this year were instead of filling the shelf with fall decor, adding a couple of things to each space and letting the one or two items speak for themselves. I found that my home looks cozy and fall like enough, without the over abundance of what I normally would do. Also- less dusting! It's one of the things I will be talking about this month. The biggest reason for simplifying my home, really, is to cut back on the amount of time it takes to clean my home. With two little ones, piano lessons that occur at my home daily, and homeschooling, it is nice  for it to only take a few minutes for each room  to be tidied. 

If you are wondering what this looks like in a practical sense, follow me on Instagram. All this next week I'll be simplifying places in my home as I get ready for the fall season, and in my next post I'll be posting my fall decor and an inexpensive DIY fall wreath idea! Stay tuned! I'll be labeling these posts 'fall 2019' so you can make sure you don't miss a post!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Our Morning Basket + Link to Free Printable!

*Amazon links are affiliated*

For my first 6/7 years of school, my mom only had me and my sister to homeschool. Things were simple, we opened our books, did the assignments, and we were done for the day. I spoke on Instagram about my love for history and when that started. It started as my mom started realizing that she could tailor school to fit us, not make us conform to the textbooks. What a revelation! One of the things we changed was having 'morning Bible time' which included a hymn, a read-aloud and character book. We were basically having a morning basket before it was cool!

Why we chose a morning basket

When thinking about what kind of curriculum I wanted for Kindergarten, The Peaceful Press was a go to, as it already had a built in 'morning time'. The Charlotte Mason approach to a morning basket fits in to this 'morning time' we will be doing. 

A morning basket allows everyone (no matter the age) to join in on learning. Everyone does something on their level as they listen to the Bible, a read-aloud, and any other book or discussion that comes out of that lesson. If you missed it, here is what Baby Girl will be doing during our morning basket time!

What is going in our Morning Basket

In the Playful Pioneers their morning time consists of: a hymn, Bible (or Bible book), memory work, read-aloud, narration, science/history. 

I've added a few things and this is how it is broken up.
Music: Wee Sing Bible songs-One song a week out of this book to go along with what we are studying in the Bible. For the first week we are studying how God made everything, so will be singing God Made Me
Songs We Enjoy- This is an old Abeka song book my mom gave me, and it is divided up by month, so we will just start at the beginning and sing folk songs/patriotic/Christmas according to the season. 
The Celebration Hymnal-This is the Hymnal we use at church, so I will be choosing a hymn each week and talk about what the hymn means. 

Read-Aloud: Little House book from The Playful Pioneers. The curriculum has a section where you can ask questions, or have your child write a phrase from the book (which is a part of their printables). Also a part of their printables, are maps your child can color as you read. 

Science/History: For science that may mean to paint a picture of a horse out of the Farm Anatomy book, or for History read a book about the Native Americans. 

How to make your morning basket work for you and your family 

In the Charlotte Mason approach, the most important thing is learning as a family. For a morning basket to work for your family, simply see what is important for your family to learn together. Pick a hymn, passage in Scripture, a book to read as a family. Ask your children questions about what they learned, and see where their interests lie. Honestly, it's hard to get wrong! I don't remember every book we ever read as a family, but I do remember how amazing it was to be together as a family before we got to the 'hard' subjects. 

I will also add that older children (And perhaps even the younger ones!) can do things as books are read aloud. We have crocheted, done drawings, worked on other projects we had started. My son will work on the printable they give, or a handicraft we've started as I read. 

Need a way to organize your morning basket time? Here is where I got my free printable! 

Do you have a morning basket? Let me know below!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

How to Create a Successful Homeschool Schedule

This title may seem a bit premature, as we haven't started school yet, but following the tips I will lay out, has helped me know that my schedule will be successful! How, you might ask? Because, just like homeschool itself, planning for homeschool is completely custamizable and different for each family. There is grace in being able to change things up until what you have works for you! So here are my tips for creating a successful homeschool schedule.

1. Create a Schedule that Works for YOU!

Are you type A that needs every second planned out, or are you more 'go with the flow' where structure freaks you out? I've learned that even though I am more of the latter, kids need structure! What has worked best for us, is to map out the flow of the day, and give each day grace to change or be different than planned. We still get ready in the same order, do morning basket first, then the 'harder' subjects, but if it happens at 2 pm instead of 10 am, it won't be too big of a deal. Our goal will be what's on the paper, but if something happens, we will roll with it!

I also give myself a blank side in in my bullet journal, to change the schedule later, when we've figured out what works and what doesn't. This way I'm not beating myself up every day for something that is simply not working for our family. Once you figure out how you want your day to flow, you figure out how you want to write it out.

2. Create a Mom and Kid Friendly Schedule

If you are artsy, let the creative juices flow when creating your schedule. Make something that is pleasing to look at, and motivates you to tackle each morning. Kids love color and pictures (and it's helpful when they don't know how to read yet!) , so making something interesting for them to look at, also helps them to look forward to each day.

This goes back to what I said before, but even this can vary from person to person on what works and doesn't work. I'll give a few suggestions (and what I am using), but ultimately it's up to you. You may need to try 2 or 3 ways before you figure out what works, but that's okay! The beauty of homeschool is that you can change things up, and customize things to fit your family.

Types of schedules:

Simply writing/typing it out.

This is what I did, and we will see how it works! I am also using the Melissa and Doug Responsibility Chart to keep up with Little Man's Chores. I let Little Man put his favorite stickers on his schedule to decorate it, and although it's still pretty simple, he loves it!

Sticker/Velcro system

This is what my mom used. I am linking something similar, but essentially, she would have a short summery of what the young ones would be doing, plus an activity they could do while the older ones did their school.  She would then draw and laminate the paper with the activities listed, let the kids pick out small stickers and laminate and apply velcro to the backs. When the kids had completed their tasks, they would put the sticker beside it. For her own planner, she would use an actual homeschool planner created for homeschooling several at once (she had 6 children).

Bought system

I love this one by Peaceful Press! Graphics are simple, but cute, and I could see the kids loving this. After doing research for this post I am now wondering if I want to switch and use this! It's only $5, and everything I've bought from them, I've absolutely loved!

3. Implement Your Schedule Early 

My last tip is to start a 'trial' of your schedule a couple of weeks before you start school (don't worry if you've already started! That's what nice about having a schedule that's flexible). The way I did this, this time, is have it start the week my husband went back to work. We had one complete week with him gone, and now we will have one week of me adding my piano lessons (I am a piano teacher) before we start school. This way we can already get a routine flowing before the 'real deal' begins.

Which method works best for you? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Kindergarten Homeschool Space

*Links in this post are affiliated. When you make a qualifying purchase, I make a small commission*

The countdown has begun for Kindergarten to start, here at home. Curriculum has been bought, schedule has been created, morning baskets put together, and a colorful preschool room has been transformed into a kindergarten space. Here is the before, of what our preschool room looked like:

As I've gone through to simplify our home, I felt like the preschool room seemed overwhelmingly colorful and cluttered. I appreciated every item that had been donated or given to me, enjoyed each puzzle or book that I had bought, but it soon amounted to just too much. As I got ready to tackle Kindergarten, I decided to go through and see what I needed to change to make the space work for us. 

There are probably a number of books that could be gone through and gotten rid of (you'll see I haven't really simplified in that department! I have a hard time getting rid of books!), but I am very happy with how the space turned out. 

My budget was almost zero, as I wanted all my homeschool budget to go towards homeschool curriculum. I upgraded the baskets we already had for the cubbies, painted the table my son already had, and made sure every item had a place. Upgrading your homeschool space doesn't have to be expensive, or 'Instagram worthy'. If it works for you and your family, then it's perfect! 

Shiplap doesn't make things any more functional. 
(That may or may not be my new motto now!)

Hope you enjoy seeing my homeschool space. If you follow me on Instagram, or Facebook, tag me in your learning space! I would love to see what functions for you!

This rocking chair we already had, makes a perfect spot for morning basket time. Since the front room is my piano studio as well as our learning space, it made sense to combine it!

I love that my son got to help with transforming his red table into a white one, with a chalkboard top. It will be so fun to practice sight words and spelling words on his table. 

I tend to over stuff bins, so I decided to limit myself to 4 bins. One of the cubbies looks messy, as it holds all the awkward shaped games, puzzles and activities. However, these things have a place, so they are staying! Sometimes you have to just do what works best for you. 
I also divided our books into Playful Pioneer recommended books, Kindergarten Curriculum books (Math, Phonics, and more), and educational books. This only holds a very small percentage of the books we own, since, like I said, I can't seem to de-clutter books!

I printed a map, days of the week, and months of the year from Playful Pioneers for the bulletin board, and the room is complete! We are ready for the new school year to start in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for the rest of the month, as I share schedules, and Morning Basket information. Also, click a link below to check out other back to school related posts!

You are invited to the Timberdoodle Back-to-School blog hop!
Click here to enter

Sunday, August 4, 2019

DIY Homeschool Planner:Bullet Journal

*Links in this post are affiliated. When you make a qualifying purchase, I make a small commission*

In the past I have enjoyed the creative outlet and organizational help the bullet journal has had to offer (links to past bullet journal entries here). Baby girl came along, and I found I didn't have time to sit and journal as much as I used to. I had done a Disney theme for each month, and it would take several hours to draw, color, and fill in each month. When I found a bullet journal for less than $4 at Lifeway (one of their closing sales) I quickly bought it and set out to make my own lesson planner for my homeschool year.

I am really pleased with how well laid out subjects are with the Playful Pioneers curriculum. Thankfully, Bible, phonics, and math are the only subjects I have to 'plan out' (and I am choosing to plan out Bible-if you choose to follow their suggested reading, you would only need to plan for phonics and math). Here is how I've set up my homeschool bullet journal.

I decided to take a much more minimal approach, with each month having a floral element, but nothing that would 'clutter up' the space. I am only showing the month of August, but I have September and most of October complete. If you want to see the other month's layouts, follow me on Instagram, and keep an eye on my stories! My themes are:

August: Cactus
September: Lavender 
October: Pumpkin and vine
November: Fall leaves
December: Holly
January: simple indoor plants with coffee
February: Roses
March: Clovers
April: Mixed Florals
May: Lemon with leaves

Each page will have at least one of the themed elements, without spending much time on any one drawing. I would call it more 'doodles' than actual drawings. Someone with more drawing skills may want to do more, those with less can take an even more minimal approach, use stickers or stencils.

The Playful Pioneers has a field trip for each week, but realistically, I probably can't do them all. Here I have a spot for the trips we take for school, and the ones we take as a homeschool group. That way I have a record of all the fun things we did during the year!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I recently asked for ideas on Kindergarten goals. This picture was taken before the post, but I wanted to show you the page, anyway. It's a place where I can monitor progress from my son without exams or tests.

This blank page will soon be field with all sorts of books! One of my favorite things about the Playful Pioneer curriculum, is all the books you get to read. Like the field trip tracker, I like the idea of coming back in May and remembering all the wonderful books we experienced throughout the year.

I will be talking about our schedule on another day, but I still wanted to show you what it looks like. It's broken up by 2 routines, M-T and Friday, as we are doing a 4 day schedule.

Now we get to the monthly spread!

I am doing lifestyle goals as well as planning my homeschool year. It's the nice thing about making your own planner, as you can let it function the way you need it to!

Morning basket post coming this month as well! Here I have a spot to put what will be included in our morning time each week/month.

Here I will put weekly goals for the 3 subjects I am planning myself.

I absolutely loved this cactus themed layout! It was so simple to draw and plan. Let me know, do you bullet journal?

Fall Cleaning: Link to Cleaning Printable + Fall Crockpot Recipe!

*links are affiliated. I get a small compensation with any purchase that you make." With this title, I had all sorts of plans. I wa...