Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Peek into Our Home School Room

Want to see where some of our magic takes place? This is our school room...
I found the desks on Amazon, and think they're just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. Well, except for the boys that use them. :) The legs will extend up to make them into full-size desks in the future.

Here is a closer look at our art lines...
I made them using cute red drawer knobs and picture-hanging wire from Hobby Lobby. That's also where I found the little red wall baskets.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Another little tadpole!

Do you remember when I made frog and tadpole costumes for my boys?

I'm pretty sure that my little tadpole was the first baby in google image search history to be dressed as a tadpole. Well, you should be glad to know that now there's been a second little tadpole baby! Lauren M. used my tutorial to make this tadpole costume for her daughter's first Halloween. What's sweet is they always called her daughter "tadpole," even before she was born, so this was a perfect fit!


She says she isn't an experienced sewer but was able to follow along just fine. I think it turned out great, don't you?


Thanks Lauren!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ear Flap Hats for Warm Trick-or-Treaters!

Do you remember when I shared my pattern for ear flap hats?


There are many variations you can make to this pattern, and it's great for Halloween because you can add eyes or ears to it for a number of different costumes. 

One of my lovely readers, Chelsea K, used my ear flap hat pattern as part of her son's Halloween costumes for the last two years. Here's the hat used in the Pocoyo costume she made him...


And here's the hat as part of a dog costume she made him the next year...

They live in Maine so she was glad to find an easy pattern to keep her son warm while trick-or-treating!

Thanks for sharing Chelsea!

To see lots of other cute ways my readers have used this hat pattern, visit my original post!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Easiest DIY Shelves Ever

In the process of organizing our garage, I came across the easiest shelving option ever. I just stacked up some Sterilite crates from WalMart, zip tied them together through the holes, and VOILA! A cute little shelving unit!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bind it Up, Baby!

You may have noticed that I'm a little bit of a do-it-yourselfer. Today I'm going to show you one of my favorite tools I use in some of my do-it-myselfing. Let me introduce my Pro-Click Binding Machine...

This slick little device allows me to do my own binding. We use it for notebooking, binding school papers at the end of the year, and making my own planner.  

What's unique about the Pro-Click is the spines they use. You can "zip" them open or closed, allowing you to add more papers to something even after you bind it.


How cool is that?! (It's great for me since I usually change my mind later and decide to add something extra!) I love it! 

What are some of your favorite teacher tools?

Related post: Never Ever Ever Bind Anything at Staples!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Our Plan for First Grade

I thought I'd share what we'll be studying this year because...

Language Arts: 

I ended up writing a program of my own with a lot of help from The Three R's by Ruth Beechick. We'll be doing much of what you can read on my Writing page.

For reading, we'll keep going at his pace with easy readers. We're also going to use the Victory Drill Book, for practicing phonics, spelling, and word-building. Just for fun, I'm getting DICEcapades Word Pirates for game days. I am a believer in practicing skills with games rather than flash cards. It's more fitting for young children and doesn't zap the life out of school.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ideas for the New School Year



School Box or Time Capsule...
Make a school box that you'll add to each year (or a separate "time capsule" each year)... Either hide the capsule to open at the end of the year, or tuck it away to open years in the future. The contents may include some of the ideas listed below. 


A Hand Tracing or Hand Print
At the beginning of each school year, trace your child's hand or make a hand print, then cut it out & laminate. I got the idea from Crissy's Crafts, although her idea is a little different, and goes along with the book "The Kissing Hand ." I love the idea of doing one hand each year then keeping them on a ring to see how they grow each year! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

DIY Planner

Last Spring in my before-the-baby-is-born spree of preparing all our Fall school stuff, I was re-evaluating how I keep our school records. I was using SkedTrack, which I think is a great tool, but it just wasn't a perfect fit for us since it is based on school hours and our state doesn't require us to track hours, just days. I looked at some pre-made paper planners which all had a LOT of stuff in them that I just don't need, so I ended up making my own. Surprisingly it wasn't too big of a deal. Here's what it looks like...

The first section is calendars, for my own reference to jot down appointments and things. I just printed some pre-made printable calendars online (from here).

Monday, July 28, 2014

DIY Natural Body Sprays

Remember my post about how pretty much all commercial skin care, bath & body products are full of BAD ingredients like parabens and mineral oil byproducts? (If not, read it here!) It'll probably come as no shock to you that artificial fragrances are bad for your skin (and the environment) too. They're a cheap, synthetic, chemical knock-off imitation of real fragrances found in nature. But you can make your own naturally-yummy-smelling body sprays using essential oils! (If you haven't found out already, be sure to check out what all the fuss is about essential oils!)

Besides smelling good, essential oils (when they're therapeutic-grade) are chock full of healing properties. So, when you make a body spray using therapeutic-grade essential oils, then besides smelling good you get the added bonus of those oils' healing and aroma-therapeutic qualities. It's a win-win! 

Today I'm sharing the recipes for a couple body sprays I tried at a Make-n-Take party. They both smell scrumptious.

Here's the base recipe (found here)...
  • 8 oz distilled water in a spray bottle
  • 1 TBSP witch hazel
  • 20-30 drops essential oils (see examples below!)
To make it, just combine ingredients, seal the bottle tightly and give it a good shake. Remember to shake it before each use.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Panaway Butter

Have I mentioned how much I love PanAway Oil for pain relief? It's an amazing custom-blend of essential oils that's great for tired or sore muscles, headaches, inflammation, bruising, arthritis and sciatica. If you're using it very often it's nice to have it already mixed with a carrier oil or herbal base of some sort so it's ready to grab and go. I mixed mine with my Mango Whipped Body Butter (because I love it) but even plain coconut oil would work fine. I add at least 5-6 drops PanAway to every ounce of herbal base (the body butter or coconut oil). The more you add, the stronger it will be, so just give it a try and then customize it to your own needs.



During the last few weeks of my pregnancy I used my Panaway Butter most days and was thankful for the relief it gave me! My mom uses it when she wakes up in the night with a sore knee (she mixed hers with Shea Butter Balm), and a friend of ours rubs it on his hand for relief from arthritis (he mixes his with plain coconut oil). Horray for Panaway! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lavender-Melrose for Eczema and More!

Today I'm sharing two recipes (one in cream form and the other in an oil roll-on form) that serve multiple purposes, but I originally made them for my son's eczema. They are made using the Lavender and Melrose essential oils, which are good not only for eczema, but also cradle cap, contact dermatitis, and ring worm. After just two applications to my son's cheeks, his eczema was already improving. (I really regret not taking a "before" picture!!) This blend was also effective on a pesky spot on his arm that we believe was a irritation to wearing a watch.


Lavender-Melrose Cream For Eczema and More!
  • 1 oz whipped coconut oil*
  • 10 drops Lavender essential oil**
  • 10 drops Melrose essential oil blend**

Whip to combine. Apply to skin for eczema, contact dermatitis or ringworm. For cradle cap, rub it into the scalp and then after a while gently use a soft baby brush or fine-tooth baby comb to work it through and gently slough off dead skin. Then rub baby's head with a warm wash cloth (and/or wash with a mild soap like Dr. Bronner's) to remove excess oil.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Calming Cream for Cranky Monsters

Do you ever have cranky kids? Or how about a crying baby?
Do you OR your kids ever need a little help unwinding to go to sleep at night?

If so, then today's post is for you. Here is my recipe for our calming cream. We use it especially at bedtime, but also for crying or crankiness.


Calming Cream for Cranky Monsters
  • 1 oz coconut oil* OR your favorite herbal base
  • 5 drops Peace & Calming essential oil blend**
  • 5 drops Lavender essential oil
This calming cream can be used all over the body, but it's especially helpful when applied to the big toe (vita flex point for the brain), feet, back of the neck and wrists. It's great to work into a massage before bed time.


*When shopping for your coconut oil, the key words you need to see on the packaging are: organic, cold-pressed or expeller expressed, and unprocessed. Also on the shea butter, it should NOT be bleached. 
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**All essential oils are NOT the same... please read this before buying any! 
 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Gentle Baby Diaper Rash Cream Recipe

Today's recipe comes from the book Gentle Babies" by Debra Raybern. It's an excellent diaper-rash cream, and completely organic! And did I mention that it WORKS?!

Gentle Baby Diaper Rash Cream
  • 2 oz herbal base of your choice
  • 4 drops Gentle Baby essential oil blend
  • 2 drops Lavender
  • 2 drops German Chamomile
  • 1 drop Melrose
  • 1 drop Cypress (I omitted this because I didn't have it.) 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mango Whipped Body Butter Recipe

If you read my post "What Are You Putting On Your Skin?" then you already know why you'd want to consider making your own body butter to use in place of commercial lotions. I already shared a simple recipe for Shea Butter Balm & Shea Butter Cream which requires no heat and very little prep time. Today I'm sharing the my current favorite body butter recipe, which is the result of testing a lot of different concoctions over the past few months. It takes a little longer to make, but it's my favorite finished butter so far for both face and body. I really like the consistency of it and what it does for our skin. I like to whip up a big batch and keep the extra on hand for later. Ready?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Make Your Own Shea Butter Balm & Shea Butter Cream

Today I'll share my two quickest, easiest recipes for both face and body moisturizers. They are organic, toxin-free, and made with only two ingredients: shea butter and coconut oil. (If you missed my post "What Are You Putting On Your Skin?" then click here!!)

Shea butter is a natural fat extracted from the nut of the karate tree. It naturally carries high amounts of both Vitamins A & E, which are great for the skin, so many studies site shea butter for its ability to fight wrinkles. Although it's not absorbed super-quickly, it provides great protection and moisture. 

Coconut oil is super-versatile, as its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties make it great for a variety of skin irritations from rashes and yeast infections to eczema and psoriasis. It makes a very gentle and effective skin conditioner, increasing the moisture and lipid content of the skin and even providing a very light level of sun protection. It can easily be used on the skin alone as well.


Recipe for Shea Butter Balm:
  • 4 parts Shea Butter*
  • 1 part Coconut Oil*
  • Optionally, add essential oils of choice
Combine using an emulsion blender or electric mixer with whip attachment. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

What Are You Putting On Your Skin???

Have you heard that it's bad to use parabens on your skin? Parabens, petroleum byproducts, and mineral oil derivatives coat your skin, making it feel great for the moment but actually drying it out over time. This means that you must use more and more of the product. I would venture to guess that most, if not all, of the bath and body products in your bathroom are guilty of having these ingredients in them!

When I was in school for skin care I did quite a bit of research on the ingredients used in cosmetics, and what I found was pretty grim. At that time I went to WalMart and read the ingredient label of literally every hand lotion they had, looking for ONE that was paraben-free, and there wasn't one to be found. I hate to break it to you, but Bath and Body Works was the same. Pretty much anywhere I looked, I was unable to find bath or body products without BAD ingredients in them.

Click here to view this chart LARGER!

Eventually I found Arbonne, which was the first big company I came across that is not only paraben-free but truly has quality products I'd trust to put on my skin. (My babies have never bathed in Johnson and Johnson in their life! Only Arbonne's Baby Care!)

Lately I've been getting back to the basics. As in, I clean my house with vinegar and baking soda and lemon oil instead of toxic cleaners that I have to hide from my kids. I've also been experimenting with making my own skin care products... so far I've made facial cleanser, facial moisturizer, body butter, lotion bars, chap stick, lip gloss, eczema relief oil and balms, and diaper rash ointments. Although it's taking some experimenting and tweaking to get my recipes JUST RIGHT, I'm enjoying the process and have been enjoying happier, healthier skin in the process.

In my upcoming posts I'll be sharing some of my "keeper" recipes, so stay tuned!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Make Your Own Non-Toxic Tub & Toilet Bowl Cleaner!

In the process of going completely non-toxic in our household products, I've switched to using vinegar and baking soda for a great deal of our cleaning. They're cheap, effective, and totally safe so I don't have to lock them away from the kids. But I wasn't 100% happy with using them to clean the toilet. Now I've found a simple recipe I really like for a non-toxic toilet bowl cleaner, and I've been using it for the last few months.  I found that it also works well in the tub! Here it is...

 

Non-Toxic Tub & Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • 1/4 cup Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap (try Lavender or Peppermint!)
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 2 TBSP baking soda
  • 20 drops Essential Oils (I used 5 drops each of: Lemon, Melaleuca/Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, & Thieves... this blend smells wonderful and each of the oils have powerful cleaning properties!)

Mix all ingredients in a 16 oz or larger squeeze bottle. Give it a good shake each time before using. For the container, I started out using a spray bottle but it eventually got clogged because of the baking soda. What I ended up finding that worked best was squeeze bottles from Sally's Beauty Supply that are made for applying hair color. You could also use an old dish soap container if you have one. I put the recipe right on the bottle so it's quick & easy to refill the bottles.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

NOdor Spray Recipe

If you ever find yourself in need of a powerful odor-eliminating spray, you'll be glad to have this one! I got the recipe from Crow River Animal Hospital, HERE, along with their assortment of natural cleaning recipes. It's a heavy duty odor eliminator that they originally formulated as a natural alternative to "Tom Cat Urine Odor".  It's some powerful stuff! Here's the recipe:


Monday, June 23, 2014

It's How I Roll!

Most of the essential oil recipes I'll share with you are either in spray form or some sort of a cream using an herbal base (I'll be sharing those next month). Another handy, simple way to use your favorite oils or blends is in roller bottles. Here are my favorites...


Each of the following Roller Bottle Recipes was made by first adding my essential oil(s) of choice to a 5ml roller bottle (I got mine here), then filling the rest of the bottle up with a carrier oil of choice. Some examples of carrier oils include olive oil, sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, etc. Just be sure your carrier oil is organic, cold-pressed or expeller-expressed, and unprocessed.

Antihistamine Roller: 5-10 drops each Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint oils. (Read more about this powerful, natural antihistamine blend here!) It's a great blend for runny noses and allergy sufferers. I only used 5 drops of each oil since I use it on my kids. We  use it mainly on the base of the toes, so there's no chance of irritating the skin. I've read that other people use it on the base of their neck or the thymus.

Eczema (and more!) Roll-On Relief: 5 drops Lavender + 3 drops Melrose. This is a great blend for irritated skin! 

Peppermint: 15-20 drops Peppermint essential oil. I loved having a handy roller of Peppermint oil when I was pregnant because I had a lot of heartburn and this would knock it out. I kept it in my purse and by my bedside. (For heartburn I applied it over my thymus or on the vita flex point on my upper foot.)  It's also great for digestive concerns we've used it instead of Tum's. It's been a life-saver more than once for tummy aches and upset stomachs, so I still carry it in my diaper bag as well as keeping it in both bathrooms. (Apply directly to stomach or to the arch of the foot.) It can also be used for allergies by applying it to the base of the neck or to the thymus.

Peace & Calming: 15-25 drops Peace & Calming essential oil blend. Use this on the big toe (vita flex point for the brain), feet, back of neck and wrists for overactive kids, fussy babies, and anyone who could use a little calming down. This is great to use right before going to sleep at night! 

RC: 15-30 drops RC essential oil blend. This is an amazing blend for Respiratory Congestion (hence the name... R..C..). I used 30 drops so it's nice and strong. Apply it to the throat, sinuses, chest, back, and feet.


*All essential oils are NOT the same... please read this before buying any!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Make Your Own Dust Mite Spray!!

In yesterday's post, KILL Those Dust Mites!!! I told you about the grody little creatures invading your bedding, carpet, and crawling all over your kids' stuffed animals. Today I'm going to share with you the dust mite spray that I came up with to kill those pesky creatures. After reading how effective Eucalyptus Essential Oil* is at killing dust mites, I made this spray to use on mattresses and stuffed animals between washings. You can also use some of this spray on your dusting cloth to actually kill the dust mites as you dust. Besides killing dust mites, this spray is also great to neutralize odors and repel bugs, making it a good choice to use in closets and shoes.

 Here's my recipe for a 4oz spray bottle:
  • 15 drops Young Living Eucalyptus Essential Oil*
  • 10 Young Living Purification Essential Oil Blend*
  • Fill the rest with distilled water & shake to mix.

Spray on stuffed animals, mattresses, and other bedding to kill dust mites. You'll still want to vacuum afterwards to remove their feeces, which is what actually affects your health and allergies. 

TIPS:
  • As I mentioned in Monday's post, you can stick stuffed animals and other bedding in the freezer to kill dust mites, but if your little ones can't stand to be without their lovies for 2 days while they freeze and another day while you wash them, this is a nice alternative. Spray the dust mite spray on the stuffed animals to kill the dust mites, and then vacuum or cold-wash it afterwards to remove residue. Then they can still have their teddy bear back before bedtime.
  • Remember to bring this spray along with you next time you stay in a hotel to cleanse the room and bedding!! 
  • To read my full post about dust mites and the other measures you should take to get rid of them, read my post "Kill those Dust Mites!

ABOUT THE OILS USED:
  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil* is antibacterial, anti-infectious, antiseptic, and antiviral. 
  • Purification Oil Blend* purifies and cleanses bacteria, kills odors and their bacteria, mold, and fungus. 
  • Between these two oils, this is a great spray for keeping your sleeping area clean and de-yuck-ifying kids stuffed animals!

*All essential oils are NOT the same... please read this before buying any!


Monday, June 16, 2014

KILL those Dust Mites!!!

What if I told you that this nasty creature was sleeping in your bed, and in your children's beds?

This is a dust mite. And I hate to break it to you, but dust mites live with YOU. They feed on the dead skin cells you constantly shed, and are mostly found in your bedding. (yuck!)

After reading up about dust mites I have to say I was pretty grossed out. They're not visible to the naked eye, but they live on your carpet, plush furniture, curtains, matresses, pillows, and bedding. Statistically, if you suffer from allergies or asthma, there's an OVER 50% chance that you're sensitive to house dust mites. Even if you don't have allergies, do you really want to be living with those creatures?

After finding out that my son is super-allergic to dust mites (he scored the highest possible reaction to them when allergy tested), I had a super-cleaning spree to purge them from our house. If you'd like to rid your house of them too, here's how...

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Make Your Own Natural Air Freshener!


Here's a quick, easy recipe for non-toxic air freshener. It smells wonderfully fresh and lemony, and is perfect for keeping in bathrooms.

Natural Air Freshener Recipe
4 oz water
2 or 3 drops Purification essential oil blend (I use 3)
2 or 3 drops Lemon essential oil (I use 2)

You can make this spray in what ever size you'd like. Just add approximately one drop of essential oil per ounce of water. So for a 32 oz spray bottle, you'd want around 32 total drops of oil. If you want to change it up a bit, some different essential oils that are great for air freshener are Peppermint or Thieves.




Monday, June 9, 2014

Make Your Own "Bug Off" Spray!

You know how OFF bug spray has a warning label to only spray it on your clothes, not your skin? I don't know about you, but my clothes don't get bug bites, my skin does.  Now I have a home-made bug spray with no toxins in it, that is so gentle that even babies can use it! Not only is it SAFE for  skin, but it doesn't leave it feeling or smelling disgusting, like all store-bought bug sprays do. Best of all it only takes about a minute to whip up.

Bug Off Spray Recipe
2 oz water
pinch of sea salt (an emulsifier)
15 drops Purification Essential Oil*
5 drops Peppermint Essential Oil*

I've seen several essential oil bug spray recipes online, but this is the one I use and like. Of course you want to use a good quality plastic bottle, which I found at my health food store. An empty Thieves spray bottle also works well, just half the recipe because it's only a 1 oz bottle. For an 8 oz spray bottle, use 60 drops Purification and 20 drops Peppermint.

If you want to change up which oils you use, some other combinations I've seen recommended include Lemongrass with Citronella and Basil, or Lavender with Geranium and Peppermint. Just use about 10 drops essential oils per ounce of water. My spray recipe includes the essential oil blend "Purification,"  which gives me the benefit of an optimum blend of ingredients without having to purchase them all individually. Besides preventing bug bites, Purification is also great for treating them too... just apply one drop of the full-strength Purification oil to the bite. It works wonders. One night my two-year-old got bit up with a cluster of huge bites all over his back, so I applied Purification. The next morning you couldn't even see the bites any more!

*All essential oils are NOT the same... please read this before buying any! 


Thursday, June 5, 2014

DIY: Organic, Non-Toxic Multi-Purpose Sanitizing Spray

Did you know you can make your own non-toxic disinfectant & sanitizing spray that WORKS? Today I'm sharing with you a SIMPLE recipe for a DIY antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-infectious spray to use on any surface that needs cleansing. I carry it in my diaper bag and use it for cleansing hands and surfaces when we're out and about. Ready for the recipe? It's a whopping two ingredients...

Organic, Non-Toxic, Multi-Purpose Sanitizing Spray Recipe
  • 6-12 drops Thieves Essential Oil Blend*
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 oz distilled water
First put the salt into your spray bottle, then add the Thieves. Cover the top and shake it well to mix the Thieves oil well into the salt. Then add water to fill the rest of the bottle and shake again to mix. The purpose of the salt is to help mix the water and oil together.

That's it! Now you can send the germs running. I had a two ounce bottle and added 20 drops of oil. If you're refilling an empty Thieves Spray bottle once you've used it up, then half this recipe.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Dr. Mom's First Aid Spray Recipe

Today starts a series of posts I have scheduled for June and July that feature the various essential oil recipes I've been testing and using for the last 8 months or so. I have a good handful of recipes that I've enjoyed using in that time, so I'll be sharing them with you over the summer. If you haven't already, be sure to see what all the fuss is about essential oils!

Today I'll share with you a super-simple recipe for a First Aid Spray you won't want to be without. It takes all of about a minute or two to whip up, and is excellent to spray on minor cuts and wounds. 


Dr. Mom's First Aid Spray Recipe: 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rit to the Rescue!

Whether you are having your third baby and your white onsies and burp rags aren't quite so white any more, or you have some brand new whites you want to make look cuter... it's Rit Dye to the rescue! Today's post isn't a rocket science project. It's just a quick little fix-up that gave new life to our third-time-around baby whites.

A lot of our white baby onsies and burp rags were all splotched up with yellow stains. I dyed the mostly-white looking whites "Aquamarine" and I dyed the ones with yellow-stains on them "Apple Green." I hoped that since green has yellow in it that it would hide the stains better, and I have to say that I am pretty pleased with how they came out. Not a stain in sight! And now they're so pretty! I wish I would have dyed at least the burp rags the first time around.

While I was at it, I also threw in a pink shirt of mine from Old Navy to turn it purple, but it didn't absorb any of the blue dye!

I don't know WHAT Old Navy did to that shirt to make it so resistant to dye, but if it is half as resistant to baby spit up, then it just may be my new favorite! :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Printable Passport! (A free geography printable!)

I've been working on getting everything planned, made, and printed for school next year so that when our baby's born I'll be truly "off" for the summer (well, as "off duty" as any mother ever is) and in the Fall I'll already have everything we need for home schooling sitting on the shelf waiting for me to just pick up and start using. One of the things I made is a printable passport, which we'll start using next year along with our Geography studies.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Free Printables for Kindergarten Letter Units

Today I'm sharing the last of my Kindergarten Printables. I made these to go along with our ABC Letter Units.

Sea Turtles Game Cards... I made these game cards based on the suggestion of a mom on the MFW Kindergarten boards who made up a Sea Turtles Race. This is my version of the game, including instructions and printable game cards. We used it during our Turtle unit, and it was a really fun game enacting the various perils that sea turtles face from the time they hatch to the time they get to the sea.  It goes perfectly along with the book "Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out," which is one of my boys' favorites. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Free Kindergarten Printables and Downloads!

Here are a few printable files I made for our Kindergarten year. You're welcome to download them for personal use, or link back to this post. Please don't link directly to the file or post it as your own.

Here's our 100 Chart, which we used in math...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

We Finished Kindergarten!

Woo hoo! Since last fall our little man finished a year of Kindergarten, learned to READ and add and started telling time. Somehow between moving, unpacking, painting & settling in we also managed to potty train little brother (well, mostly) AND read 380+ books together (less than a month after moving, the librarians knew us all by name). Several people have asked me about what we do and what materials we use, so that's what today's post is about. Ready? Here it goes...

Reading - We started out using the My Father's World reading program but it was way too easy so we switched to my own lessons using the Bob Books. I based my lessons on the ones I found on the Teaching Reading with Bob Books blog. This was a really good fit for him, and right on his level. Now that he's finished the entire Bob series, he works his way through other easy readers and story books. I'd recommend the Bob Books for anyone (home school or not) whose child knows their letter sounds and is ready to start blending sounds together into short words. You can read about them here and purchase them here.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Make Your Own Natural, Powerful Antihistamine!

Did you know you can make your own antihistamine? It's natural, it's powerful, and it works! It consists of equal parts lemon, lavender, and peppermint essential oils*, and is referred to as LLP.  You can use it in a variety of ways...

LLP SHOTS - 1-4 drops each of lemon, lavender, and peppermint placed inside of a capsule and swallowed.* Many call this "the allergy bomb"! Some people have results with only 1 drop each and others need up to 4 drops each, depending on the severity of their allergies.

ROLL-ON... This same combination (equal parts of Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint) may be used topically as well. Here are the LLP roll-ons I made. Since they're for my kids I diluted it by using 5 drops each of Lemon, Lavender & Peppermint essential oils, then filling the rest of the 5mL roller bottle up with olive oil. I made this particularly for my 3-year-old with allergies to use when his nose is running and he's sniffling. I roll it on the base of his toes, but you could also put it on the base of the neck, the thymus, or under the nose. If you have sensitive skin, you may need to dilute it more or only use it on your toes.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It Matters Where You Get Your Essential Oils!

Today I'm going to share with you which essential oil company I chose, and what makes them unique from other companies. 

Here are a few quick facts as to why it matters who you get your essential oils from:
  • Essential Oils are only safe when they are 100% pure, organic, AND therapeutic grade. 
  • Unfortunately, there are no standards when it comes to labeling a bottle of essential oil. By law, a bottle can be labeled as 100% pure, even if it only contains 5% essential oil! 
  • In cheap bottles of oil, the therapeutic compounds have been destroyed by heat, pressure, and/or chemical additions. You get what you pay for. 
  • If you have an allergic reaction to essential oil, it's possible you're not allergic to the oil at all but are reacting to an additive.
  • Although they're chemically identical, research has shown that synthetic copies or oils adulterated by synthetic compounds don't work for healing! Only pure, complete oils do. In the case of wintergreen, the natural oil is harmless and has many healing properties, while the synthetic version is actually toxic. They smell and taste like wintergreen, but they aren't the same therapeutically.
  • Only 2% of oils in North America are suitable for medicinal purposes, and Young Living makes 98% of them!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Our Favorite Bible Story Books

Before giving these suggestions, I'd just like to say that no matter what Bible story book you choose for your child, always always read it with a critical eye because very few are 100% accurate. Be ready to change the text when reading to a younger child or discuss the inaccuracies with an older child. Without further adieu, here are our favorite Bible Story Books for children...

"Mrs. Lee's Stories About God's First People" and "Mrs. Lee's Stories About Jesus"... Although these two books are harder to find a copy of, both of them are great bible story books and worth it even if you have to look around to find a copy. She tells the stories accurately, (That's saying a LOT! I think these are the only books I've found that didn't need any altering to be true to the text.) in a language easily understood by children without dumbing them down. I love both of these books! They're very, very minimal on illustrations though, so they wouldn't work as a VERY first bible story book, but we started using it around age three as our boys were able to listen to a short story without pictures. I just wish she had more books to cover the rest of the bible- these two basically cover Genesis and Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
*UPDATE: Mrs. Lee's books are now available for purchase either individually or as a set HERE

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sarah's Amazing Transformation!

You may remember in my "What's all the Fuss about Essential Oils?" post that I referenced a sweet friend who's suffered from migraines 5 days out of 7 for over 20 years that is now off her meds, migraine-free, and couldn't be happier. Today I wanted to share a little more of her experience with you. I asked her if she minded, and she said she was happy to write out a testimony to share:

I have been mostly bedridden for 5 years. I almost permanently lost my legs and have had 3 back surgeries, much therapy, heavy pain pills, chiropractic, vibration machine and massage to get me somewhat walking. I have been in and out of my wheelchair, and needing heavy doses of morphine off and on. I have also been having migraines since I was 9 years old and have tried everything under the sun, including changing my diet many time with no help. I was up to at least 5 migraines a week. I'm now 31 days migraine free and prescription drug free!! I'm walking like a normal person, actually going places and enjoying life!! No longer to I have to have my husband carry me to the bathroom!! I can do everything for myself and I'm taking care of my family again!! God has handed me my life back on a silver platter called YL oils!!



She's also been sharing updates via FaceBook during her first month of using the oils, as she just couldn't believe the changes she was seeing. Here are some of them: 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How to Organize Right Start Math Manipulatives!

Isn't it fun to get packages in the mail? I love getting school supplies like this! This is the box we got from Right Start Math...

After receiving it I wondered how in the world I'd organize all that stuff in a way that was uniform and accessible. I googled it and checked on Pinterest trying to find a storage system I liked and kept coming up short. After looking at a variety of storage containers from several different stores, I ended up finding JUST the perfect thing, and the price tag was minimal. I imagine I'm not the only mom who has wished for a good Right Start organization system, so I thought I'd share what I came up with.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Right Start Math Review

We have been using Right Start Math this year, and are loving it! Right Start takes a unique approach to math that just makes sense to me and I love seeing my son do well with it. (Here he is with little brother tagging along.)

Here is a glimpse into their philosophy:
  •  "Informal mathematics should precede paper and pencil work. Long before a child knows how to add fractions with unlike denominators, she should be able to add one half and one fourth mentally." Instead of putting lots of abstract worksheets in front of a Kindergartener, we're working hands-on with quality manipulatives. A lot of them. 
  • "The only students who like flash cards are those who do not need them." Amen to that. We use games, not flash cards, for practice.