Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Time4Learning Online Curriculum Review


I've tried several different online homeschool programs for my kids but so far our favorite has been It's very visual for my kids and makes it fun for them to homeschool every day.  I have kids in several grades using this program.

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 Another great thing about it is how it keeps track where your child left off from the day before.  I'm able to look up their grades they made on any of the assignments to see if I need to reassign it so they can understand it better.  That's where you can see the portfolio in the upper left hand corner of the picture.

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I have several kids on this program and you can select how many different classes you want for your child.  Of course for Ashley I chose only Language Arts, Math, and Science as her focus for now since she is only in Kindergarten.  You can try this out for free so definitely check it out!  It's also very easy to get a hold of anyone that is on staff.  They are very friendly and quick to help!

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cone of Shame

The last time I wrote a blog I said pretty soon I'd find another animal in need. That very day I got a knock on my door. A neighbor told me of a hurt dog in the field right next to me. He had been attacked and won't go to her. He was shaking and hurt. Before finishing talking I ran through my back gate and out to the field. He was so little and camouflaged I almost couldn't see him. At first I could tell he was worried I was coming to hurt him. I saw bite marks on his body. Ohhh, my heart broke. With soft words I was able to get close enough to him. I could see he couldn't use one of his legs. We wrapped in a blanket with my hands and arms covered back to our house. 

He's doing much better no after a week and is running around with our other dogs. We found an  amazing product for his wounds that help him to heal quickly. Sometimes he shakes from the pain. I'm pretty sure he escaped from nearby breeders. Often their gates are open and their chihuahuas just wander the streets. I've taken in several before that were underfed and their bones were brittle. :( Makes me sad. We eventually had to get Popcorn an ecollar because he kept chewing and licking his wounds. He is such a happy dog now even though he still has a ways to go in healing.  He gets lots of loving from my kids too. The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Rescuing Abused or Lost Animals

Often times when someone finds a sad little animal somewhere without its mom they usually call me. Not sure how I became home base for people to call but they do. Good thing I like animals. That doesn't mean I have 20 dogs running around. Haha

Last week someone called me about a 3 week old black Labrador. This puppy should have still been on mommy's milk. Well, it had no home so I drove off to go pick it up. Craigslist gets so many ads from me. I usually have the animal about a week to make sure it's healthy and watch behavior. This puppy was doing amazing even though it needed mommy's milk. After putting up ad I got bombarded with calls. I screened the lady first and then drove puppy over. This puppy was the cutest ever!  I will miss him. Most likely another person will call next week about a lost puppy.

It hasn't always been roses rescuing dogs. Once we found a black chihuahua who was incredibly skinny. We immediately started trying to get him back to health before finding a home. He ended up breaking one of his legs real easy because his bones were so brittle from poor nutrition his whole life. Yikes! We had to take poor little Ninja to the vet and set his leg in a cast.

One horse we rescued died a month after we found her a home. She was tied up somewhere with no water and had cuts on her leg. It was so sad. :( Sheyenne was a sweet horse but couldn't be saved in time. I have some pictures of how skinny she was when we first got her till we fattened her up. She ended up dying while in owners care because the infection in her leg was so bad.

Rescuing animals has its sweet moments and it's bad moments. But it's worth it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Burdens of a Large Family

Being that it's a new year, I always try to evaluate our cleaning routines and see what's working and what's not. 

So far I'm still loving the routine I set up for my kids. I can't seem to get through one of my older boy's head why he has more chores than his younger siblings. I have to think about ages, maturity level, and whether or not there is Aspergers Syndrome involved (which only changes it slightly). Trying to explain this a hundred times shows me it's more of an attitude problem. I'm extremely fair and NEVER EVER put a larger load on one kid because they are older and can do more.

Whenever I run into older women than come from larger families I ask them these same questions.

1. What did chores look like for you and your siblings?

2. Were they fairly laid out according to ages and did the load even out as the younger grew older?

3. Was mom the main caregiver of the younger ones or did she expect the girls to do that?

4. What were the positives/negatives of being raised in large family?

5. Are you still close to your siblings?

I'm not joking. They love talking about it anyway because often they are reminiscing. The funny thing is I hear the same thing over and over from people born into larger families back in the 40's and 50's. Most of the older siblings had to be the main caregivers of their younger siblings because mom was cleaning the house, washing clothes, and cooking most of the time. Many weren't close to their moms because mom was so busy. Many grew up not wanting any kids and if they did, maybe only a couple. I'm not sure but I wonder what some parenting articles suggested back in the day. Many girls were being trained to be mothers someday so it was considered a good thing. These days with birth control, pressure from society, or just because, many women are full time workers in the work force. When and how many kids you have is all optional these days. I have made sure to never place the burden of caregiving to my kids. Just to let them enjoy their baby siblings without it being forced on them. Often the girls beg me to change Juliet's diaper and want to dress her. I love having all my children and the burden is on me solely. Fine with me! I have enough time sharing as it is. Ha. We all do chores but the kids never touch anything of mine. I clean up my own messes I leave around and my own room and bathroom. I do the best I can! I'm sure they'll complain about something though because no parent is perfect. I'm FAR from it.

Well, I think times have definitely changed. I guess it's more important to me that were are like a team where everything is evenly divided according to ages. I found a pretty neat chore chart for me where you do a basic routine. However, you write down all the rooms in your house and then each week focus on one. Well, that's fine and all but I have many kids. If I only did dishes and making bed each day first, then only did a 1 minute pickup in each room, our house would be a disaster. I think the chore was made for much smaller families. However, it's a great concept if you just tweak it to make it fit! She picks one room a week to completely declutter, clean, and reorganize. Then pick a different room the next week. It's not overbearing and gives you 7 days to do it. I can handle that. Last week I completely cleaned out the kitchen, wiped out and bleached, reorganized, and threw out all the excess of clutter. Man, the kitchen looks incredible. This week it's the breakfast room. Next week it'll be my bedroom. So on and so on. On a hard day, If you just couldn't get it all done as far as keeping house up, my grandma always taught me to just make sure dishes are done and the bed is made. That's the same advice this lady gives.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Decluttering My Crazy Messy Kitchen

As much as I straighten and wipe down the kitchen after these messy kids, it just needs a deep, deep cleaning quite often. One day I just was rummaging through the cupboards when I realized how badly it needed the red carpet treatment. Taking every single thing out of the cupboards, sanitizing all inside and outside of the cupboards, putting back what I want to keep and getting rid of the rest. Wow, I had more crammed in the cupboards than I thought. It was out of control. I think I'm getting rid of about half of what was in there.

Being the way I am, things get messy before I realize it. The only way I can get a handle on it is to constantly do these declutter sessions. I never, ever see a problem till it becomes a mountain. I haven't got a handle on the maintaining. Here's why. I am crazy about my kids and spend every waking moment with them. Literally. They are homeschooled as well. I can't imagine a minute apart from them. I play with them, teach them, cuddle them, and I probably say I love you at least 10 times a day to each kid. I blink and it seems we're having so much fun the house just falls apart in the process. I'm not addicted to cleaning. I'm addicted to my kids. I don't worship my kids and they know it. We just love living life together and experiencing everything together.

To battle the problem of clutter I have to constantly take turns going thru rooms and clearing them out. I like the idea I heard recently about having a weekly rotation where I pick one room to really focus on. Of course I have my daily chores. For example. This week I'm focusing on kitchen. I'm doing more than the usual wipe down. Whew. Tons of work. I wish I could snap my fingers and it's done so I can spend more time with my family. ;)

I told the kids on Monday that if they'll help me clear out the cupboards I'd do the scrub down. It wasn't an easy job for them because we didn't know of all that was crammed in there. Wow!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Second Day in Vegas

Forgive me for not posting much! My computers stink and I'm having so many problems with them. It gets so irritating that I'm resorting to blogging from my phone again. I don't like it because it pushes all my pictures to the bottom of my posts. Oh well. I'm such a busy mom it's hard to find time to sit at a computer anyway. :P I'm writing at the dentist office while my kids are getting their checkups.

Our second day in Vegas we were feeling like we didn't get to see enough and had a family discussion about staying longer. So when my sister Jodee asked if we wanted to come visit their church. I was like yeah! Jodee and Dan have always amazed me because ever since they got married, even before, they just had a vision to reach souls for Christ. They haven't looked back since. They even built a church in South Africa for several years and did a really good work there. So we were excited to see them while visiting in the area. The kids got to see their cousins. That's all the pictures you're seeing on here. ;)

After church we went to the Bellagio and watched the fountains. It was around 11pm but we didn't care. Vegas is fabulous at night! The fountains were so beautiful and are synchronized with music.

It is super fun to shop in Vegas. I've always loved bling on everything and that's where I can find it real easy and not overly expensive. Charles is stinking awesome because he kept making me go into stores to buy all my favorite stuff. Even if I was holding back he would tell me to find stuff because it's harder to get where we live. :D Yay for guys that love to give to their wife!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Bringing Our Large Family to Las Vegas

True to our former ways, Charles and I took our family off on an adventure.  We are known for not really planning.  Just deciding one day to up and take off for another fun trip.  5 years ago we were eating breakfast and decided to take our kids to Disneyland.  We picked up the kids from school and took off for 7 days.  The kids still talk about that trip!  Ashley was a baby and I had just found out I was pregnant with our sixth child.  It was an amazing trip.

Sometimes planning is good but sometimes it takes the fun out of it for me.  We knew we might do something but we literally didn't know what we were gonna do for sure until the day of our trip.  All we knew was we wanted a Christmas get away!  I'm not usually the traditional type where I have to keep up with different traditions for the holidays.  If it gets to where it's the same year after year, we have to shake it up a bit.

 We decided to take our kids to Knott's Berry Farm in California for Christmas and then to the beach.  The night before our trip my husband said he's always wanted to take the kids to see the Vegas lights in Nevada.  I'm like, "Okay, we'll pop in there for a couple of days and then head off to California."  We made sure not to arrive into Las Vegas till night because we wanted the kids to see all the lights from very far away.  Well, that's not hard when driving far and with a large family.  We had to make tons of potty stops.

  The kids loved all the lights in Vegas!  They oohed and awed.  It was getting late so we headed quickly to our hotel.  Because we knew Las Vegas could be iffy for families, actually for Christians in general, we tried to figure out a casino hotel to stay in that was safe.  You know, simple things like not wanting strippers on a pole while trying to check in our hotel.  Someone suggested we try Circus Circus because it's so family friendly.  TRUE it is very family friendly.  We weren't very pleased with our room and it was pretty outdated.  The service was very slow and the lobby for horrendously crowded with families.  Normally that is a good thing but it really did feel like a circus. LOL.  

Regardless of our hotel we had soooo much fun looking at everything that the kids voted to make the entire trip about Vegas and not leave so soon.  Fine with us! Less driving and more sightseeing! Even though we got checked into our hotel late we HAD to walk around the casino and look for a yummy buffet.  They had a decent one except for how expensive it was.  Basically $16 per person. Normally not a big deal with one other person but there were nine of us. Well, I had to show the kids how awesome Las Vegas buffets are!  It was huge and the kids were having to go into different rooms to find all the different types of food. It was goooood.

As much as I wanted to live it up, we passed out early because of all the traveling.  Oh well, the next day we would live it up!