Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sweet Dreams Spray

Ever had a child who just couldn't go to sleep?  I've had lots of experience with this.  I used to be a preschool teacher, and my own 4 kiddos could spot a monster a mile away.  Here's a little trick I figured out:  Sweet Dreams Spray and Monster-Away Spray!  It's cheap to make, and the kids love it!  (Sweet smelling house is a bonus!)

All you do is find a small spray bottle - the cuter, the better!  The travel size bottles work great because a little goes a long way!  I also love the old-fashioned atomizers.  Just make sure it's never had perfume in don't want your Sweet Dream Spray to turn into a nightmare...bad pun, but I couldn't help it.  Moving on....

Get the spray bottle of your choice, and fill it with water.  Then add a few drops of vanilla, lavender, camomille, or another snooze-inducing scent.  I went to Hobby Lobby and purused through the essential oils section.  We now have Sweet Dreams Spray in vanilla and lavender, and we also have a Monster-Away Spray that has a more woodsy scent. 

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a label of course I like to doll mine up with cute oval labels with pretty script lettering.  But that's just

Lindsay's beyond daytime naps now, but when she was smaller, I would make a pallet for her in the floor of her room (not the bed...she would sleep all day if I let her in the bed), put a quiet box fan nearby, and spray a few times around the room, and then one in the air (about 5 feet) above her head....just enough so that she could feel it "kiss" her forehead.  She slept like a baby, and I never heard her complain of nightmares.  It helps a lot with the transition between playtime and naptime, and the subtle scents make falling asleep much easier. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Follow Friday - January 29, 2010

Friday Follow

Welcome to Follow Friday brought to you by One 2 Try, Hearts Make Families, and Midday Escapades!  This is my first attempt at this, and I hope I'm doing everything correctly.  The ADD kicked in while I was reading through the instructions, so I'm just kind of flying blind now.  :)  
This Blog Hop is supposed to generate more followers and traffic to your blog, and this is my understanding of how it works:

* Link up your blog name and URL using the MckLinky below. Only need to add to one blog linky.

* Follow the Friday Follow hostesses listed in the first 3 slots. They will follow you back.

* Follow as many blogs as you like.

* Comment on the blogs telling them you're from Friday Follow.

* When you get a new follower, follow them back!!

The Blog Hop is the same at each of our three hosts blogs so you do not have to add your blog at each site. Just one - but you can follow each host blog. Here is the great part, they will follow you back.

** Please note that a link to co-host Tami @ Hearts Make Families is not included on this week's linky because she is having technical difficulties with her site. She should be good as new next week. 

MckLinky Blog Hop the spirit of adventure and everything fun in following.....
Feel free to leave a comment, click "Follow," and maybe even hang around and lurk a while!  :)  This particular blog is relatively new for me - but you're welcome to browse if ya like.  Here are a couple of my favorite posts:

Homeschool Toolbox-Recycling Project
The "S" Word

Monday, January 25, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook


(January 25, 2010)...

Outside my window...the sun is shining, and a slight breeze is rustling the leaves on the patio.  Lindsay is out there riding her tricycle around and around with Horsey and Bear tucked safely in her basket.

I am thinking...that I feel more like a maid than a homeschool teacher / mom.  Say it with me....PICK UP YOUR OWN SOCKS!!!

I am thankful for...our troops!  The fact that I can sit here in my nice, warm house, drive my new car, and still complain that I feel like a maid, makes me very thankful!

From the learning rooms... Trey is having a great day!  He has finished every single lesson and it's not even lunch time yet!  I am so proud of him!  Who says kids with ADD can't focus?  Give them a goal, make an attempt to find their learning style, and make learning FUN, and you'll find that they can do just as well as any "normal" kid!  :) 

From the kitchen... LOTS of boxes!  We're finally getting the storage unit stuff moved over.  There are boxes of wedding china, christmas china, pots, pans, corning wear, pyrex, loaf pans, muffin tins...lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!

I am wearing...jeans, Razorback long-sleeve tee.

I am great it felt to be a kid, and that I need to chill out when my kids come home soaking wet with muddy shoes. 

I am in my garage so we can convert it to a homeschool room.  I can't wait to get all of our things back on the wall, and be able to have everything we need available!  :) 
I am going...and going, and going, and going, and going, and going!

I am reading...anything I can get my hands on!

I am hoping...that I can get everything together for a yard sale this weekend.  I really want my garage cleared out - did I mention that I really want my homeschool room back?! 

I am noticing....that the days are starting to become somewhat longer!  Come on Spring!!! 

I am pondering these words..."Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand."

I am hearing...Trey complaining that he has nothing to do.  LOL..."Here, do another worksheet!" 

Around the are eating lunch, laundry is going, hubs and dog are napping, and I'm wishing I could join them! 

One of my favorite 600 thread count sheets - a splurge (found on sale) that every woman should treat herself to! 

A few plans for the rest of the week: starting my 2 week liquid pre-op diet on Wednesday (ugh!), yard sale this weekend, registering the kiddos for baseball/t-ball, church Wednesday night.  :) 
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Ok, so I'm not a photographer.  She does have two eyes, I promise!
I poured some sugar in a bowl and let Lindsay practice "writing" her letters.
She loves this activity!

Thanks for stopping by and visiting my Daybook!  If you would like to join in the fun, or simply check out other daybooks, stop by at Simple Woman's Daybook

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mayflower to Mayhem!

I absolutely love homeschooling!  On those rare occasions that Addie is out of public school, she joins us for a day of FUNschooling! 

As you can see, it started out as a simple little reading lesson about a family aboard the Mayflower.  They would take turns reading in Trey's book.

Addie kept mispronouncing a word - and Trey kept correcting her (it's usually the other way around, so he was having a little fun with her!)  And once Addie gets tickled.......

You just might as well......


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Purplicious Tea Party!

Our Smith Family Book Club is BACK!  And what Smith Family function is complete without a snack?  So Lindsay and I made PurpleBerry muffins to go along with her book selection, "Purplicious."  Trey usually joins us, but since today's festivities were a little too "girly" for him (GASP!), he decided to work on a writing project instead. 

But when the muffins came out of the oven, all of a sudden he decided that it would be rude of him not to participate "for Lindsay's sake."  Hmmm....

Monday, January 18, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook


(January 18, 2010)...

Outside my window...the sun is shining brightly, and the birds are singing a happy song.  Probably something from the Carpenter's Greatest Hits album.  :)

I am thinking...that I just aged myself by my last remark.

I am thankful family and home.  The past few weeks have been very cold and ugly outside.  I can't help but think about all those folks who do not benefit from a comfy bed, a fire to warm their toes, or a family to warm their hearts.

From the learning rooms...a lesson on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  No other lessons today - we're taking the day off!!  :) 

From the kitchen...pancakes for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch, and grilled chicken topped with fresh salsa and melted cheese for dinner.  YUM!!  :) 

I am wearing...jeans, gray v-neck tee. 

I am creating...a list of errands to run today.  Pet Smart, Car Inspection, blah, blah, blah...

I am try to remember to keep things simple this week - not easy for me.

I am reading...Shadowland by Alyson Noel.  Not my favorite, but it'll get me through till the next book in my other regular series comes out. 

I am hoping...this sunshine and warm temps decide to hang around for a while!

I am hearing...the hubs get ready for work.  He works so hard so that I may stay home and homeschool Trey.  Love him dearly...

Around the house...pitter-patter of little feet, the smell of bacon and maple syrup, and only one load of laundry left to do until I'm caught up again. 

One of my favorite snuggie and a good book - okay, that's 2 things, but you just can't have one without the other!

A few plans for the rest of the week:  more lesson planning, working on that wallpaper in the kid's bathroom.  I might decide to paint our bedroom - lots of odds and ends around the house to keep me busy for the next century. 

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Meet Stitch - our new old friend!
We adopted him from a friend who had been giving him a warm place to stay, after he showed up on her doorstep over Thanksgiving.  The owners were never located, and he's just too sweet to take to a shelter!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The "S" Word - Socialization!

We've all been there.  It's're on a field trip, having a picnic at the park on a sunny afternoon, or, if you're like me, just running errands around town and somebody asks your child (probably because they're too chicken to confront the adult in charge) why they're not in school.  When you explain that you happen to be homeschoolers, you get the big, "OHhhh...I see," accompanied by the disapproving head nod.  These are the people who believe that homeschooling is inherently wrong because of the "lack of socialization." 

I call it the "S" Word because it's such a source of discontention for me.  I'll admit that I THOUGHT the original reason I began homeschooling was because of my son's ADD and learning disabilities.  But when I look back on the events that led up to our decision, it's clear that the real reason we made the decision to homeschool was based primarily on the negative socialization that was going on. 

When my son was medicated (which I now realize was a HUGE mistake), he was every teacher's favorite student.  He was loved on the playground and in the classroom.  He had more friends than he could count, and he made excellent grades.  He was accepted into a Math and Engineering school which is like a magnet school, only they work a year ahead of other schools, and they have direct ties to Texas A&M University.  It really is an excellent school (for "normal" kids, that is).

However, the minute that we took him off the medication, his grades started slipping.  The teacher started to single him out in the classroom, and guess what happened on the playground?!  You guessed it!  My son became the victim of 3 little bullies.  I spoke with the teacher and was told that I should tell my son to "just stay away from them."  Thankfully, the principal had more sense than the teacher and talked with the bullies and their parents.  And that stopped the outward attacks on him. 

But we all know that's not the end of the story.  My son went from having many friends to having NO friends.  His grades were falling fast, and there was talk from the school of shipping him back to our home campus because this school does not make accomodations for children with disabilities (I know - sounds wrong to me too - but these were their exact words, I swear!).  He was ostracized by the same people he used to play with...and we're talking about 3rd Graders, here!  It only gets worse with age.  I was at a total loss.  I attended a public school, and was in the "popular" crowd.  I honestly had no idea what he was going through.  I had never been part of any bullying, and I had never been bullied.  So I really had no idea how to help my son. 

One day he came to me with tears in his eyes and asked me if I would consider homeschooling him.  HE asked ME!  Tell me that he's better off in public school!  Tell me that he's going to be totally unsocialized if I homeschool him, and I'll tell you, "If that's the type of socialization he will encounter at public school, NO THANKS!!!" 

In fact, I can't see where there's a whole lot of POSITIVE socialization that goes on in public school at all.  I can say this with 100% confidence because one of my daughters still attends the same public school as my son once did. While Trey seems to pick up more positive social behaviors, Addison seems to pick up those of her peers at school.

I don't normally compare my children to one another, but for illustration purposes, I'll give you a couple of examples of how Trey is more socially mature than Addison.  Trey, at 10 years old, has no problem speaking in public, giving presentations, taking a message on the phone, ordering with confidence in a restaurant, or looking an adult in the eye and having an intelligent conversation about current and/or historical events.  He completes his chores without being reminded, and uses proper etiquette at home and in public.  Addison isn't there yet, despite being only 1 year younger than him, extremely well-behaved (and always has been), and lest we not forget - socialized! 

And it makes sense when you look at it from the perspective of Janine Cate, at Why Homeschool.  She contends that it all depends on what you value the most.  She referenced a conversation she had with a friend who works at a public school,in which the issue of socialization was brought up. Playground popularity was more valued by the friend because of where she works, and the nature of her job.  Ms. Cate writes, "When I define socialization, its end goal is not transitory popularity on the playground. I grade socialization by how well a child interacts in adult society and takes upon adult roles."  I encourage you to read her entire post, as it addresses this in more detail. 

And I'll take it a step further and say that the folks who believe that homeschooled children are missing out on the socialization aspect of public schools, obviously aren't taking into account the negative aspects of that socialization and what they can do to a child's sense of self-worth.  I've seen my son go from being happy to miserable in a matter of months.  But today...he is truly happy. 

Today, he came to me and put his arms around me and said, "Mom, I just wanted to say 'thank you' for quitting your job so you could homeschool me.  I love you so much!"  It brought tears to my eyes and I knew that despite the nay-sayers, I was doing the right thing.  Thank God we live in a land where we're free to raise our children the way WE see fit.  Thank God we're not forced into the public education system where our kids are so well-socialized that they are miserable.

Homeschool Toolbox - Recycling Project!!

Ever go to Sonic and order enough drinks to constitute using one of their drink carriers? We actually do - way too often in fact. These things are pretty sturdy, so I thought I'd try to re-use this in a way that could benefit our homeschooling endeavours - but you could just as easily adapt it for a child's room, the living room remotes, in an art closet, etc. The uses really are limitless. Since we're doing our homeschool lessons at the kitchen table for now, I thought a Homeschool Toolbox would be handy for us.

You'll need a Sonic 4-drink carrier (I'm sure other places have similar ones, too - I've even thought about doing the 2-drink carriers for each child to have their own caddy), labels, stickers, and 4 containers that fit in the openings. I used some small decorative square flower pots that I had around the house. But I've found that those plastic SOLO cups also fit perfectly, and it's a great way to recycle those cups left over from the holidays, etc. :) OR - you could wash out the actual cups that came with the carrier if you're in Super-Recycler Mode.

I printed labels to place under each compartment of the caddy...just to make it easier for the kiddos to find what they need. I also placed a label at the handle - I found that return address labels fit perfectly here!

I also went through some old scrapbooking stickers and found these foam "tool" stickers! I think it turned out cute, and it took less than 5 minutes to put together. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Amelia Earhart Lessons/Activities

Today is Amelia Earhart Day!  I am absolutely facinated with all things Amelia!  She was a truly courageous soul, and not just in an aviation sense.  She was, and still is, a wonderful inspiration for young girls (and grown women!!!) in this great nation! 

I found a couple of great sites that have lessons, activities, biographies, photos, etc.  Feel free to share your favorite Amelia sites if you have em!  :) 

Garden of Praise - a wonderful resource for all things Amelia!  Vocabulary/Definitions, Biography, Photos, Reading Lists, Online Games,

Scholastic - The Flight of Amelia Earhart:  lessons/activities for grades 4-8.

Teacher Vision - FREE printable

Time Warp Trio - FREE PDF!!  Activities, Lesson Plans, Quiz, etc.

Patriapress - Free downloads!  Webquest, plus Teachers Guide to reading, "Amelia Earhart, Young Air Pioneer," complete with lesson suggestions, and connections to other subjects like Art, Math, Science.