Wednesday, December 29, 2010

That Whole Resolution Thing

Do you do the resolutions? Do you resolve not to resolve? Personally, I set goals. I figure they are more attainable that way. I have some areas that I want to work on or continue to work on. Let me break them down for you.


Keep it picked up - we have been doing a pretty good job at this one. I'd like to get it so we have the dishes almost completely caught up, the laundry almost completely caught up (I'm not deluding myself into thinking there will EVER be a point where they are both completely caught up, I live in a house of 7/8 people after all. Someone will always be using a dish or getting clothes dirty, it's the law of averages after all), and the office picked up.

Declutter/reorganize - This overlaps with a crafting goal because it means using materials that I have on hand, which will help declutter.

Deep Clean - The kitchen especially can use a deep clean and reorganization. This includes the back hallway/pantry area

Make progress on James' room. I'm not sure exactly what this will entail, it really will depend on our own funds, skill set, and when my dad is available to help us out. I know it will start with a deep clean of every surface in the room. It used to be a kitchen so it's kind of gross and wasn't cleaned well before we moved in.

Wall in the extra doorway in the Mid-Kids' (Jayden and Izzy) room.

Put up privacy fence. Fence materials will be bought with our Income Tax Return. We'll borrow a fence post hole digger from my dad.

Get a Super Yard Gate so that in the warmer months I can have the twins outside with me and not worry about them going where they shouldn't.


Get the gardens into the ground in a timely manner this year so that we can have fruit/vegetable harvests in the summer and fall.

Build at least 2 above ground vegetable/fruit boxes in the back yard. These will be for plants that grow above ground and/or take up a lot of room like melons and gourds, fruit, beans, and peppers.

Till the ground area for all below ground veggies (potatoes, carrots), tomatoes (they will use the fence for support), and other crops giving it a try like onions and garlic.

Plant at least one blueberry bush.

Seed grass early.

Till and maintain front flower and herb beds and back vegetable/fruit beds. This includes planting seeds and weeding as needed throughout the season.


Use materials on hand to make the stockpiles diminish. I have plenty of yarn and scrapbook supplies and fabric to start and finish all kinds of projects.

Finish the multitudes of started projects and give them to the people I intended when I started it.

Learn to knit socks on DPN's

Have more pictures printed and scrapbook. I haven't scrapbooked in well over a year. It's something I enjoy doing but I just haven't done it. The kids also enjoy doing it and it's something we can do together.

Make more jewelry. I like doing it. Maybe at some point I'll start an etsy page, but we'll see how that goes.

Work on improving my knitting and crocheting techniques. Learn how to do 1 new stitch/technique each month.


Learn to bake a nice loaf of bread

Bake more

Learn some new recipes and get them in our monthly rotation.

Rotate the monthly shopping pattern with one month stockpile from Sam's and the next head to Meijer/WalMart to get what we need each week. This will allow us to use what is in our freezer over the next couple of months.

Cook with the kids regularly. This teaches them a good life skill, works on math and reading skills, and gets them helping.

Kids' Schooling:

Get them using the computer more. It's more interactive and engaging. This will be easier once I have a laptop (a planned purchase with our income tax return in Feb) so that I can work on the laptop in the living room and the olders can use the computer for schoolwork

Plan out a unit study and follow through with it at least twice a month.

Figure out how to use lapbooks and integrate them into our weekly work. This will go well with doing unit studies.

Work on the Feelings/Perspectives workbook.

Keep better track of their activities on the boards. This includes tallying points at the end of the week and having them "shop" in our prize box. I am also changing the board so that the week starts on Monday simply because we don't usually do any kind of "schoolwork" on Sunday.

Start utilizing all of the educational programming available with the Netflix. They usually find the programs really interesting and are learning things. Try to incorporate the programming into our weekly lessons.

Learn more ASL, even possibly take a class, and teach it to the rest of the family. Izzy is finally beginning to understand that motions are a way of communicating and I want to take full advantage of that.


Work online more with either ChaCha or Amazon Hub. These two will allow me to get homeschool materials (that I have to pay for) as needed, get what craft materials I may need to finish a project, pay to print pictures, and help pad our income for expenses that come up between Jason's paydays.

Finish the SSI applications for James and Issac. Start researching SSI lawyers for when the denial letters come in.

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Exercise 3-4 days a week. This could mean going for long walks, yoga, pilates, or wii workouts. To start with, I'll be focusing on yoga to strengthen and tone.

Take more pictures of everything. I feel like life is slipping by and there aren't enough pictures to document it.

Blog 2-3 times a week. Blogging helps me sit down and take stock of what I'm doing, what we're all doing, how we're doing, where we're going. I think that is important.

Talk and listen to the kids, all of them. No matter what it is that they are saying and if it bores me to tears. I want them to feel like they can come to me with anything so I need to show that I am willing to listen to everything.

Spend quality time with Jason on our kid free weekend each month. This means more than just being in the house together. I need to make time to spend with him, doing things.

Is this the year to be debt free? I don't know. However I want to work on paying down our debt. I want to get us living easily within our means so that we can also start having some savings. We are already on the road to doing this so it's a continuance kind of thing.

Stop self deprecating. Appreciate my value and worth. Know what it is that I offer to my family, to the world as a whole. Acknowledge my talents and faults and work to improve them both.

Un-Christmas each month. We (Jason and I) have decided that instead of one huge pile of presents at the end of the year, that we will split that pile up to 1-2 gifts each month. This will allow the gifts to fit into our budget better. Seasonal gifts (like bikes, skateboards, bubbles, chalk, etc) can be used at that time. Also, with the kids getting older, it will allow them to use gifts with their current interests in mind. We have found that likes and interests change within a 6 month period so buying something in May to use in December is hit or miss as to whether it will be liked/used. I bought a very small table top tree (on clearence for 1/2 off) for the kids to decorate with hand made ornaments each month. They'll wake up one day (a day chosen at random by me) and find their Un-Christmas set up for them on the dining room table.

I suppose that is all for right now. I've been thinking about these things over the past couple of days. Last year I tried to keep the goals simple, and I think I was successful. However I wanted more specifics this year, to give me better direction. I know these are year long things and can't be accomplished within a few days or even a few weeks.

Prayers and blessings everyone. I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season and the new year finds you in good spirits and health.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Entered a Contest

For Westminister Fat Quarters on Fave Crafts. I love Fave Crafts. I get a daily email of about 20-30 free craft ideas and patterns. I often get emails with free e-books of MORE patterns and ideas. For someone who is always trying to think of things to do, this is a great resource for me!

So go check out Fave Crafts and sign up for their emails and start crafting!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Very Few Things Make Want To Cry When Reading Them

However, reading what I read today does. It also makes me want to wake up all of my children and just hold them so much closer.

There is a woman, Amanda, who is from the same message board for moms of kids born in March of 06 as I am. Her daughter Alaina was born shortly before Izzy. She and her family really need your prayers and thoughts and good energy and all of that right now.

The women on this board are close, damn close. We have a lot of different personalities and quirks, but amazingly, 4 and a 1/2 years later, we still chat with one another and share our lives as though we lived next door to one another. They are one of my few contacts with other adults, they are a life line to me. These women, along with one other board, are my closest friends, and I've only met one of them in person.

Amanda had a little girl a few days ago. Her name is Lea. She was born with an infection in her lungs. That infection spread to the rest of her body through her blood. She couldn't keep her vitals stable. The doctors tried everything they could. Their final option was to do a complete blood transfusion in hopes that would remove the infection from her body. Lea would need to be put on a heart/lung bypass for this to happen. Sadly, Lea passed away earlier today.

Please keep Lea's family in your thoughts and prayers tonight and over the next few days. Amanda is the mom, and she's married to Nick. They have 3 other kids, Dyllan, Alaina, and Jack.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Homeschooling and Technology

I don't usually do homeschool posts on this blog. I'm hoping to do that more. And crafting posts too. We'll see how it goes.

I want to mention some sites/things we are doing/using for our homeschooling. What I'm mentioning are free and for some of them you can get expanded features for a little extra. I have not been given anything by these sites to use them. I like them and I find them useful so I'm sharing the knowledge. We use them for homeschooling, but they can also be used to suppliment a public school education. The grades we are working on are all elementary, so please keep that in mind.

Kid Zui is a great kid's browser. I love how I can set up accounts for each individual kid. I also get sent an email of what the kids were doing, what sites they were going to, how long they were on it. It gives me comfort to know that they are doing things that are safe. I can also allow sites to go through that KidZui won't automatically. Each kid has their own avatar that they can customize. We paid a little extra so that they can earn more points and open new options for avatars and backgrounds. Jayden's account is pink'd out and James currently has a space theme. They use this for their free computer time but also for their schoolwork. By getting the emails, I know if they were on the site they were supposed to be for doing their schoolwork.

Academic Skill Builders is another great site. Their main site has a lot of different games that introduce and reinforce basic skills. They also have a section of games that can be used with the wii. You just need to have your wii set up to go online and you can get there. The games for the wii are meant for kids with basic reading/math skills already in place. They also work on stuff meant for kids up through 4th/5th grade. There are 9 levels for each game, each level takes 1 minute. The math games are multiplication, addition, and subtraction. The language games work on grammer, verbs, and antonymns/synonyms/homonyms. By having James do the work on the wii, he's using a video game to do his work (makes it more appealing to him), I'm not needing to print out a bunch of worksheets (more appealing to me so I don't have to track the work down and I save printer ink and paper), and with it being interactive I am hoping he retains it better. I like with the wii games I can walk into the room and directly observe him doing the work and know immediately what he's doing and where he might need some help.

ABC Mouse is a site that I like for preschool and kindergarten skills. With the difficulties Jayden has with language and reading, this is a great site for her. I also set up an account for Izzy to work on some basic skills. You can try it out for a week for free, then it's $7.95 a month for three kid accounts. We did the free week trial and Jayden LOVED it. I liked that she could navigate the site with little reading skill required. The games reinforced the basic language/reading skills I am working on her with. There are math, music, and art activities as well. I love the readalong books. Jayden would pick a story and the words would light up as the story was read.

I use a lot of sites for printing papers. I'll do another post for a more in depth list of those. Some quick mentions are CurrClick and Enchanted Learning. Both sites have a lot of free downloads. With CurrClick it is a central site for a lot of different publishers. They offer free downloads and samples. You can also choose to pay for some stuff. The prices vary by publisher. With Enchanted Learning, you can choose to pay $20 a year to get unlimited downloads. By doing that you get a lot more available to download as well as downloading lessons/books all at once instead of page by page.

Prayers and blessings everyone. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Remember that just because you homeschool (or know someone that does) doesn't mean you can't utilize technology to help you teach. Look through the sites. Try them out. Share them with others. Keep the learning going.