Category: Life Lessons

Weaving Through the School at Home Maze

Weaving Through the School at Home Maze

How do you homeschool when you didn’t plan on schooling from home?

At the end of the day on Friday, the whole world seemed to flip upside down. Instead of worrying about carline, you now had to worry about getting school done, feeding the kids all day (because let’s not kid ourselves, it’s never just three meals a day), and still do all you need to do to keep the plates spinning.

That would have been bad enough, but the normal release during normal breaks are being discouraged. DON’T go to the bowling alley. DON’T go to the museums. DON’T have play days.

What do you do when everything you thought last week is suddenly different today?

Tips for School at Home

  • 1. Relax. If things are too crazy to get anything done then don’t try to get anything done. If they miss a day or two of schooling, so be it.
  • 2. Focus on things you can get done. Do what you can do or what absolutely must be done. Let the rest wait.
  • 3. Prioritize your list. Last week you may have planned to spring clean this week, but under the circumstances, you may need to rearrange the plan. What MUST be done needs to go to the top of the list?
  • 4. Think outside the box. Let learning come from a different angle. Feed the birds (and identify your visitors). Have the kids help out around the house or teach them to cook dinner. Make your life the classroom for the moment.
  • 5. Get outside. Sunlight is good for the heart, the mind, and the immune system. Try to get outside at least 30 minutes every day.
  • 6. Listen to your school directions. Some schools are moving classes online. Some aren’t. Follow the guidelines provided and you will be okay.
  • 7. Learn together. Take an online class together, try out a new hobby, or dare to tackle a new skill (it’s the perfect time to create a container garden).

Ultimately, the key is to not get caught up in the chaos no matter how much the chaos is determined to disrupt your life. Do what you can do. Accept that you can’t do it all. And above all else, find a way to enjoy the journey.

It doesn’t have to be all fun and games, but it should be all smiles and adventures.

How are you finding your way through the schooling at home maze? I would love for you to share your tips and ideas in the comments below.

The Mom

For the record, we homeschooled for 17 years before the two oldest graduated and went to college and the youngest decided to go to traditional school. I have been involved in just about every form of homeschooling imaginable. But despite being home school veterans, I was caught off guard. Don’t feel like you are alone if things are a little wonky.

Are you interested in getting daily tips on dealing with schooling from home? Like and follow the Facebook page and look for updates there or drop your questions on the site (or in the comments below).

Throw the Kids out of the House

Throw the Kids out of the House

According to a report on Fox & Friends on March 29, 2019, kids are having more surgeries for sports injuries than professionally athletes.

Why – because we aren’t throwing them out of the house.

Okay, maybe that wasn’t what they said. But it was close.

Kids aren’t free playing anymore. The aggressive sports players do get out and practice, but that’s not the same. Attending exercise classes or working out at the gym is not the same. Free play gets the kids out of the house and into their imagination, their group engagement, and activities that don’t happen any other way.

My sons have always been free-ranged. It’s a little easier for us, because we live in the back corner of 40 acres and neighbors don’t see the free-ranging for the most part. Living in town, neighbors that don’t know you, complete strangers that have never met you, and even family members that just don’t like you want to get into your business are all watching and waiting to pounce on your lack of parenting skills.

But we live in the woods, so in the woods they go.

One day, the older boys (probably 8 and 10 at the time) came in and told me there was nothing to do. I encouraged them to go dig a hole. Later that day, they came in and asked if they could dig a tunnel from the shed to the creek.

“Absolutely,” I replied without hesitation. Not because I wanted a tunnel from the shed to the creek, although it might be cool. I was quick to respond because I understanding of how much would have to go into a tunnel.

To their credit, they did manage to dig a hole about five feet deep and four feet wide. Years later my youngest son would continue their efforts, but the giant rock that stopped his brothers also put a damper on his tunnel plans.

Did I tell them they were exercising? Nope. Did I mention they were working their joints? Of course not. Did I explain to them the value of getting the natural D from the sun? I bet you know that answer by now.

It’s not as easy with my youngest. His brothers are off at college or work. They don’t have time for playing or hanging out with their brother. I’ve started encouraging him to get out with me to build, to dig in the garden, or to burn (boys LOVE to burn).

Together, we dug a fire pit in the back yard, so now I’m more comfortable with him going out to build a fire without supervision. He’s a Boy Scout and has his firem’n chit (which means he’s supposed to be responsible), so that’s another reason to let him go.

Over the last several days, I have been pushing him more and more to get out. It’s spring break, the sun has been shining, and he needs to have less screen time. So do I. And in encouraging my son to free play and enjoy all that is around us, I have been encouraging me as well to get out and do more.

So encourage your children to free play more, even if they are involved in structured sports. And try to make some time to join them. Free play – it’ll do your heart good (and don’t forget your own rubber boots)!

The Mom

Girl, Stop Washing Your Hair

Girl, Stop Washing Your Hair

Confession time!

I gave up shampoo three years ago and haven’t looked back.

I used to tell people that I quit washing my hair, but it made my husband uncomfortable. “You DO wash your hair,” he kept insisting.

It’s true. I wash my hair, just not with anything you might expect.

It all started with a pool.

After the tornados, we installed an above ground pool. I went to the pool store to get the things I needed to keep the pool healthy and almost passed out. It was going to cost more to upkeep the pool than it had to install it.

My research instincts kicked in and I went searching for a better way. The research led me to the BBB Method on Pool Solutions.

It worked and it got me thinking. If there is a better way to maintain a pool, what about other tasks?

My research uncovered an ant killer solution that was simple, safe, and quick.

My research uncovered a homemade alternative to quick fix rolls.

My research uncovered a shampoo replacement.

And that is when I quit washing my hair.

It’s simple. Every week or so, I mix a small bottle of baking soda and water. I use this paste to scrub my scalp. After I’ve rinsed out the past completely, it’s time for the second round. I mix a larger bottle of ½ water and ½ Apple Cider Vinegar. I then coat my hair and make sure it gets over every bit of my scalp.

All that is left is rinsing well and letting my hair dry.

My hair is naturally curly, and always been more than a bit unruly. The more humidity the bigger it would get. It is also tight curls, which has always made brushing and styling a challenge. If I wanted it to be soft curls, I had to wait until it got “dirty” or I had to apply lots of product. I then had to take the time to curl it with hot rollers or with a hot iron. I spent a lot of time with my hair in a ponytail.

My hair is VERY think, which means my scalp had always stayed dry making it impossible to wear anything dark (especially if there was a chance of a black light making an appearance).

My scalp had always broken out once a month. It would itch so bad I had been known to pour Sea Breeze (original formula, of course) right on to my scalp. Yes, it would hurt, but it would also stop itching.

Now, it’s all changed.

I can brush my hair as soon as it dries and it doesn’t frizze up at all. It falls into a soft curl. I haven’t used product of any type in the last three years. The only time I use any styling tools is when I want to direct my bangs – although they still revert to their own thing when they choose.

Hair – on the road and on a rainy, humid day!

In the last three months, I have had dozens of people tell me how nice my hair looks. My reflection amazes me almost every morning. I haven’t had to “treat” my scalp for itching and I can wear any color I want. Most importantly, I don’t have to put my hair up to control it.

All in all, not washing my hair has changed my life.

The Mom

What secret natural tips do you have that you’ve implemented for drastic change?

It’s Okay to Do Things a Little Different

It’s Okay to Do Things a Little Different

I give you permission to do things a little different – a little different from the way you do them, a little different from the way others do them, or a little different from the directions. When you dare to try new things, you never know what you might discover.

While cleaning out some of the final boxes of items from storage, I found my mom’s spiced tea infuser – at least that’s what I remember her using it for when I was growing up. It was always exciting for me to see the container come out because I knew the treat that would be around the corner.

I love sipping on warm drinks while I write. Coffee is great for the early mornings, but when my husband gets up and the pot is empty then he begins to worry. I don’t worry . . . although I do hit a speed of going that often ends up in a collision.

Coffee all day will make me nauseous no matter how good the coffee.

An alternative became a necessity if I was going to work beyond lunch (and it turns out I’m supposed to do that).

Brewing one cup of tea at a time was not an option. I want to take a break, walk into the kitchen, and refresh my cup without an hassle. I tried brewing a pot of hot tea after the coffee ran out, but I forgot to tell my husband. It turns out if you are expecting coffee and get tea, it’s a shock to the system.

We received a second coffee maker from a family member. It was white. It was perfect. I know could brew tea to my heart’s content.

I then found my mom’s infuser and everything changed. The tea bags I had were quickly put to work and it was time to find a better way to brew the tea.

Did you know they make loose leaf teas? I didn’t. I found a new world of flavors when I discovered these wonderful delights.

Recently, I ordered two blends from Tiesta (through Amazon) and the Blueberry Wild Child Blueberry Hibiscus Fruit Tea – which is a lot of words for WOW!

The first time I brewed a pot, I used about a half a cup of blend. I put the infuser in the pot and then ran the water through the coffee maker and let the hot water steep with the tea. The result was a dark purple – almost black – liquid with magical properties. I drank a few cups, added some more water to the pot and brewed some more.

It was still thick and when I finished the pot I left the infuser to brew a second pot the next day.

Today I used only ¼ of a cup and it was the perfect amount.

How I Do It Different

  • Add a little hot tea to the sweet tea for a tasty blend.
  • Add a little cayenne pepper when you are feeling rough. It’s a great healer.
  • Change it up. Follow the directions the first time (if you must) but be willing to change it up until you find the perfect level of flavor for you.
  • Mix it up. You can blend blends with blends to blend the perfect blend for you need. You can also add spices to existing blends.

If you have been trying to find a good alternative to coffee then I recommend checking out the different flavors from Tiesta.

The Mom

Blessings (and Curses) of Working from Home

Blessings (and Curses) of Working from Home

Working at home has its blessing (although there are those days that these same blessings can be cursings). The kids are close at hand, so I know what they are doing and where they are – for the most part. Work is dictated by me because I am the boss, so I work as much or as little as the chaos of the day allows. Being a work at home mom (WAHM) is the perfect life for me.

It wasn’t the perfect life just a few years back.

There were so many ideas running through my head and not enough direction. It took some serious soul searching to narrow things down. Instead of trying to find something new, I went back to my first love of writing and found new ways to utilize it through online opportunities.

Find some classes in your area (online can be a great source). Taking classes is a great way to learn new tips, refresh old skills, and grasp the trends that are hot for now.

I took some grant writing courses to help me refresh the skills I had gained in college. These same courses gave me the basis for developing a business. With the accumulated information, I put together a packet to help other new businesses lay out a strategic plan and potential find money. These same courses also gave me a leg up on grants research and development that I have used in many applications.

The local community college has online courses available at a large discount if I go through their website. I am able to take my class when time allows – which is great when you are a work at home mom with active kids.

Attending conferences will give you contacts and increase your experience in the field of your choice. Go to all the seminars that are offered at the conferences and get engrossed in the lunches or dinners. You never know who you might be sitting next to or where you might hear about your next job.

Dive right in. There are always opportunities to do what you love; you may just have to search them out. If you get paid for it, no matter how small the pay, it will be more than you are making NOT working. My first writing job was for a local paper. It wasn’t much, but cashing that first check meant I was an actual PAID writer. Now I don’t hesitate to fill in the employment section of forms. WRITER.

Don’t underestimate the skills that you have. When I first began writing online, I was hesitant to charge anything. Being new in a field can be scary. After working hard for no very little pay – or worse, NO pay (because some guy stiffed me), I became a bit bolder in my requests. I expect more because I know that I am worth it.

Pass it on. The most valuable thing I can do as a work at home mom is to share the information and experience I have with others so that they can join the ranks. When I found a paid to post opportunity, I shared it with friends and family. As I began to branch out into the blogosphere, I encouraged others to join me. At least two of my compatriots are now making a decent living writing online.

Finding employment on the internet is a new experience for most of the world. Being a work at home mom can add to the apprehension. It is possible to make a living through the internet with more than just selling items. With a little creativity and a lot of faith, you can write your own ticket to financial freedom.

Budgeting Basics to Help Get Finances on Track

Budgeting Basics to Help Get Finances on Track

Living off a budget takes some time and planning, but it will be the best decision that you and your family could ever make. Not only will it help you if you are struggling with debt, but a budget can also guide you to financial goals (like a new car, a dream vacation, or even a new home.).

The first step will take about a month. You need to keep a record of everything (and I mean literally everything) that you spend AND what you spend it on. If you buy a soda for one dollar, write it down – it could be groceries or entertainment or even personal. If you put change in the meter, write it down – it could be work-related or auto costs. Be methodical when you make your list of spending. It could be what determines whether your budget will be a glowing success or a dismal failure.

Step two: Take the list you made and break it down into categories. Make a list of MUST PAYS – tithe (I’m a firm believer in giving God his first), mortgage, internet, phone, cell phone, water, electric, garbage, television, alarm, car insurance, and flood insurance. The next thing is the NEED to pays – gas, groceries, pets, clothes, car, education (we homeschool). Then finally there is the WANT to pays – entertainment, gifts, savings, and misc.

Step three: Total up how much you spend in each category. If your outgoing amount is less than what you are bringing in, then it is time to make some changes. Either you have to bring in more money or else you have to cut the fat out of your budget. Start at the bottom of your list – with the wants – and cut until the outgoing is less than the income. It might hurt for a little while, be eventually you will find your way out.

The fourth and fifth steps just require you repeating the second and third steps every few months. Your budget will fluctuate as your income fluctuates. The key is learning to control your spending no matter where that income ends.

What tips do you have for keeping your finances in check?