Bloggers Night Out at CHEA Con

I am so excited to be on the panel this year for Bloggers Night Out at CHEA Con. We will be talking about how to start, grow and expand your platform! The event will be hosted by the incredible Kristi Clover!

She is a blogger, vlogger, podcaster and homeschool mom. You can check out her blog here. If you are coming to CHEA be sure to stop by and say, “Hi!” Can’t wait to see you there!

Top 5 Pick of Summer Activities

The summer is upon us! As you began to plan for your kids being home for the summer here are 5 activities that will keep them away from the screen.

Puzzles – If it’s too hot outside or the kids just want something challenging to do. Sturdy puzzles are the way to go. I like wooden puzzle pieces that can withstand my children’s rough play. These Tetris like pieces come with an added bonus in that there is more than one way to “complete” the puzzle. They can use the pieces to create animals, buildings, and people to imagine and role play with. The possibilities are endless.

LEGOS– Legos and lego-like building blocks can keep kids busy for hours. They can create people, creatures, building, structures, and whole cities. The blocks come in various sizes allowing you to foster the love of legos at a young age.


Building Blocks– Kids love to build. I love to see them learn from building things. The hand-eye coordination, imagination play, architecture, physics, concentration, and math skills that are developed and fostered during the process makes building a valuable learning activity. What looks like play to us is actually a lot of problem-solving and theory testing.

Painting kits– The summertime is perfect for painting. Having kids paint outside makes for easy cleanup and quick dry paintings. I like to allow the kids to use various tools for painting and stamping such as leaves sticks and rocks. You can set up a string between trees or along a fence and set use clothespins to set up an outdoor art gallery.

Sculpting– Kids love to touch, shape and transform clay. I recommend you using various colors then leaving the clay pieces out to dry in the sun. My kids love to use both colored and white clay. Colored clay can create some fun blended color creations while all white sculptures allow kids to color or paint their finished pieces if they so choose.

What activities are you planning on doing this summer? How will you keep your kids engaged and learning?

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Battling Perfectionism

I used to replay my day before falling to sleep. Every comment said, by myself and others. Every mistake made, actual and assumed and I would choose this self-punishment over rest. I would get up the next day, tired, defeated, frustrated and determined to get it right.

I had some good days. Days where everything went right. Silent pats on my back for a job well done, crises averted by my careful words and expert planning. This perfectionist attitude was taking over my mind.

The small fox destroys the vine. Let me tell you, those small foxes are tricky. They seem small, insignificant, and harmless but they are extremely damaging and life-threatening.

Small foxes can destroy dreams, destroyed dreams cannot manifest into destiny. So here are things I do to battle the perfectionist mindset.

1. Tell on myself- My husband is confident, funny, and honest. I trust him. So wither I say something that comes off too flirty or too cold I can tell him. He usually responds by teasing me and making me laugh. Sometimes I have to go back and apologize to a person I may have offended, but it helps to have someone I can be honest about myself with. I have learned that my greatest gift can also get me into trouble and that is my way with words. I have to totally rely on God to keep me in check.

2. Journal- If I don’t want to talk about how I am feeling I can write it down. I don’t write my mistakes and shortcomings. Instead, I change to focus and journal about a scripture or the things I am thankful for. (Philippians 4:8)

3. Say no- Jesus needed rest. Its okay to say no simply to take a breath. Sometimes we need to stop to clearly hear from God. (Mark 6:31)

4. Take the risk – If my only concern in failure I must take the risk. In the parable of the talents, a master was leaving his home to travel. He gave talents to each of three servants according to their abilities. One man invested and doubled his money, another also was able to double what he was given. The third man hid his talent. He made no profit so it was taken away. (Matthew 25:14-30). It was the man who was too afraid to act who was punished. Inaction is worse than failure.

5. Recognize and Appreciate the Seasons – Everything has seasons. There are some seasons in which I am able to accomplish so many things at once. It is as if times stands still for me. Then there are times where there are not enough hours in the day to complete even the smallest tasks. I have learned to roll with it. When things are running smoothly I seize the opportunity and when it is time to rest I try to do that too. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

I hope these tips help you on the journey of self-care. Life can get hard so we must be our advocates for health and mental wellness.

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Eggs and Hearts

My four-year-old boy KJ is fun! He is rough and smart and… destructive. He often leaves a trail of broken toys, trinkets, and household items in his wake. He breaks things for different reasons. To see how they are made. Out of frustration or retaliation. Even just to see what the consequence will be.

I am trying to raise kind, compassionate, mindful children which meant I needed to address this issue. I needed to teach my son that not only was this action unappreciative it was also unkind and hurtful. These actions could have unforeseen consequences for both himself and others. While praying for wisdom concerning this manner God answered my prayer in the form of an idea.

So I went to work soft boiling a half dozen eggs. I wanted the eggs to be messy when broken but cooked enough so the kids wouldn’t get sick if ingested. I handed KJ one cooked egg and said,

“This egg is mine, it is very important to me. Please take care of it. If you break it there will be consequences. I don’t want it to get hurt so please be careful.”

The first egg broke within fifteen minutes. I explained that this was my egg and I was sad that it was broken. He cleaned up his mess, then he was put in time out for 3 minutes. I gave him a new egg and repeated the speech.

“This egg is mine, it is very important to me. Please take care of it. If you break it there will be consequences. I don’t want it to get hurt so please be careful.”

The next time around he lasted 30 minutes and this time when the egg broke it made a huge mess and left a trail of egg in his wake. He came to me crying (by now he understood the consequence that came with the broken egg. He tried to explain but I stopped him, reminding him that the egg was in his care and it was really important that he protect it. I told him,

“When we break other peoples things sometimes it affects other people too. Your sisters can not walk over here until we get this cleaned up, no one can sit in the chair we just cleaned until it dries. Our decisions sometimes have unforeseen circumstances.”

The time after that he held on to the egg for an hour. Each time he took more and more care of my egg. By bedtime, he held the egg close carefully aware of AR (19 mos.) and SJ (6). He was learning his lesson. So was I. See peoples hearts are like these soft-boiled eggs.

Wither in friendship or romance when one opens their heart they are saying,

“This heart is mine, it is very important to me. Please take care of it. If you break it there will be consequences. I don’t want it to get hurt so please be careful.”

I am so proud of my little guy and I pray that I am as careful with hearts as he has learned to be with soft-boiled eggs.

The Great Homeschool Convention Review

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This year I had the pleasure of going to the Great Homeschooling Convention in Texas. It was amazing! There are so many things I want to share, so I’m going to break it up by days.

Day 1

On Thursday the 15th my mom and I get to the convention center and start to set up. I have to be honest I was overwhelmed. I did not realize how many vendors would be there. I also did not realize how elaborate some of these booths would be. They were amazing! Some booths had a setup that allowed you to walk into the convention center and look up and see their advertisements or displays right away.

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I was feeling a little anxious and inadequate. So we dropped all of our boxes off with our product and run to the Dollar Tree to find stuff to pretty up my vendor table. The doors open and they one of this convention there are so many people. The very first hour is young white kid about 16 years old comes over to our table grabs one of our shirts explain to us what the one drop rule is historically and then dives into Acts 17:26.

I was so impressed by this kid and his parents who have homeschooled him because they are awesome! Of course, he ends up buying a shirt later on in the convention but this was just an example of the bright future of homeschooling.

 

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Running a booth was a little intimidating because I’m not really a salesperson, so it was hard to deal with some people avoiding the booth altogether because they don’t want to be sold anything and then other people being weary, wondering what we’re about and gauging whether or not my brand represented what they believed or who they are. I wanted to yell, “Hey guys! I’m nice I promise.” Thankfully most of the interactions at my booth were positive. However, going forward I will be a much nicer, engaging, consumer to booth owners when I am just an attendee at these kinds of things.

Day 2

I came into the convention center on Friday the 16th feeling really confident. I knew what to expect from the types of people that were at the homeschooling convention and I was really excited to engage with people again. This is also the day where I caught my first class called Integrating Cultural Diversity using Homeschool Curriculum you Already Have.

This class was so much fun! We didn’t have a huge turnout but I really felt like there were the exact people there that God wanted in that class. The presentation part of the class was about 45 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of the class, we made some activities that I will add to the site this week. During the craft time we discussed race, multiracial families, resources for different cultures, and exploring different cultures; it was a whole lot of fun.

I will be creating cultural book list and posting them to this blog in the upcoming weeks just to share some of the books that we have read and some of the books I plan to integrate into our library this year.

Day 2 I sold out of all of my books! I was really nervous but thank God I was next to a booth with an established author Aaron and Joyce Kook. They’d run into this issue before in their many years of writing and selling books and simply encouraged me to set up a form and allow people to direct order the books.

I follow their advice and continued to sell books throughout the day. I learned that support can be found anywhere. Those women in my class on Cultural Diversity really connected with me. I felt like they were rooting for me and that gave me a lot of confidence and a great feeling of support. They inspired the creation of this shirt.

Day 3

My mom and I got into the convention center and right away we had people at our table asking questions about our book. Since I’d sold out of the book I converted half my table into an activity station so children could recreate the activities we made in the cultural awareness class.

We got a lot of great feedback and interaction at our booth and at 11:30 that morning I went and taught my class titled Emotional Intelligence for Teens. This class had a great turnout. You can check the class out here.

The feedback I received from the class really warmed my heart. People felt like they’d received tools, to help them strengthen their emotional resolve, improve their communication skills, and live a more fulfilled life. I had people find me after the class to talk to me about the things they’d learned and I had people in tears, come and talk to me about how just what they’d read in the first part of my book, touched them. You can pick up your copy of the book here.

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All in all, it was an amazing experience I cannot wait to go to the Great Homeschooling Convention in Ontario this June. If you are in the area I highly recommend you get tickets the classes the curriculum vendors, the wealth of information will be well worth it.

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Thank You So Much

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This has been an exciting time for Melanin Taught! The love and support we’ve gotten, has almost been overwhelming. I’ve gotten tons of messages and emails asking how to support Melanin Taught and I’ve come up with five ways you can be a blessing to us.

1. You can buy your homeschool supplies from our online store. We have pencils, puzzles, and all sorts of materials needed for the activities listed on our blog. We are adding items to our store daily. You can click here to visit or you can type hmschoolsupply.com in your web browser.

2. You can buy a Melanin Taught t-shirt. These shirts are comfortable with catchy sayings. By clicking here you will be able to purchase shirts for men, women, and children. We even have hoodies!

If you want to support us but don’t have any extra money at the moment, don’t worry here are three more ways you can support, us without spending a dime.

3. By clicking on our Dosh referral link and connecting a card, we will get a referral bonus and you will get cash back for purchases made at approved retailers.

4. If you live in California, you may qualify for a program that allows you to get cash back for cutting back on electricity. Click here to use our referral link.

5. We are grateful for all of your support. We would also like to ask you for your prayers. We appreciate you praying that God gives us direction, insight, and wisdom when it comes to raising and homeschooling our kids.

Thank you! Click here to like and follow our Facebook page!

The Great Homeschool Convention

I love teaching, I love homeschooling and I love Jesus! So of course when I heard about the opportunity to be a seminar speaker for The Great Homeschooling Conventions I had to apply. Well, my application for an Emotional Intelligence for Teens workshop was accepted and I will be teaching on March 17, 2018, at The Great Homeschooling Convention in Texas!

I am so excited, and this has really kicked some of my goals into high gear. One of them being completing my latest book on Emotional Intelligence. Just a few weeks ago I was at My Own Kind Of Beautiful‘s vision board party and now I am watching my dreams unfold. I have launched a t-shirt campaign to cover travel expenses and the feedback has been great.

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You can get your Melanin Taught shirt or hoodies here. We even have kids sizes available. If you have ideas for sayings for shirts we should put in our store please leave it in the comments below.

Thank you all so much for your support. It truly means the world to me.

 

H & M and Our response

 

Every so often, too often, headlines break as the world is in shock and horror because someone allowed a racially insensitive ad to go into publication. It got through at the very least hundreds of people without being successfully flagged or called out for racial insensitivity.

We’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times. The company is really sorry and they mean no harm. The solution to there not being enough representation in the first place to stop these shenanigans is for black people to create and sell their own products. We need to be our own voice and stop being surprised when different voices misrepresent us.

With that being said, we turned this upset into an opportunity. We want to teach our kids to see the world differently and one way we do that is by giving them some control over the narrative of their lives. So we created a shirt for our brand. This sentiment is true for my babies and it is something we are all proud of.

We used teespring.com to design our shirts. I like teespring.com because it is really easy to use. I even told the kids I would post their ideas or artwork for sale so they can share it with our huge family. The campaigns are short but this is a great way to introduce your children to e-commerce and to encourage them to create media rather than follow it.

Check out our shirts they will be available until Monday 1/15/18. If we get enough feedback we will continue to make them available for purchase. I hope you like them and if you make one of your own drop the link below so we can support. Let’s not count on others to represent us, let’s represent ourselves.

Much love!

5 Financial Tips For 2018

 

Happy New Year!!!!!! This year I am committed to being intentional about maximizing and increasing our monthly income. I started looking for deals in December 2017 and I came across some really cool ones.

  1. Ebates – You have probably seen the commercials I am here to tell you it is legit. Ebates is an easy way to get cash back. Sign up, open a “shopping trip” on their site and purchase what you want. It usually takes a business day for you to see your cash back. The cool thing is they pay out monthly automatically and it goes to your PayPal account. When getting cash back you only get a few dollars or cents at a time but it adds up. For larger purchases, it is a must. Did I mention you can use it on Amazon?! If you aren’t on Ebates up here.
  2. DOSH – This is a cash back app that allows you to connect your credit card then get a percentage of your purchase back when buying from their listed retailers. I like this because you don’t have to do anything but use your registered card. Dosh ran an amazing promo at the end of 2017. I joined the promo late but was able to make over $100 over the course of a few days. They pay out via PayPal which I always like but it does take 3-5 business days to process. It’s just like Ebates but you’re rewarded for both in person and online orders.  Click here to sign up.
  3. Ohm – We all need and use electricity right? Wouldn’t it be awesome if to save money on your electric bill and get cash for using less energy? Ohm lets you do just that. This program is in California only and you MUST have an online account with your electric company. Ohm connects to your Smart Meter and sends you text alerts so you can power down during peak hours. By powering down you get points which convert into dollars. Its good for your pocket and the environment. See if it is available in your county by clicking here.
  4. Budget Book- This may seem simple but its something that can change your finances. Write it down. Micheals has a cute budget book that helps you keep track of every dime you spend. I love planners! This one is great for my home planner. It’s also really inexpensive so get a few to use throughout the year. budgetbook
  5. Challenge Yourself – Have you heard of the nickel challenge? Maybe the nickel or quarter challenge? Basically, you take a box, large bottle, piggy bank ect and put every nickle, dime, or quarter in that box. Don’t open it until the end of the year.

I hope these 5 tips help. What are your financial goals in 2018?

Amy’s Farm Review

This month we took a field trip to Amy’s farm in Ontario, CA. At first sight, I was unsure whether to drive in or park outside. I took a chance unsure and drove in. With cows on either side of me, I pulled right into a small parking lot.

As we looked around for a few minutes we were met by Farmer Stephanie our tour guide for the day. She gave us the ground rules, then we headed for the garden. This garden is the stuff dreams are made of! I aspire to have a garden this fruitful one day and seeing this really encouraged me to keep trying to grow my family food.

Look at this beautiful kale!

The kids got to pick a leafy snack for the piglets.

Until now I didn’t know okra flowers were so beautiful. 

Once we left the garden we went to feed the piglets and see the goats. We learned that these goats only had bottom teeth so their nibbles wouldn’t cause any damage.

The chickens shook their tail feathers and the goats competed for the dino kale.

Then it was off to meet a Jersey Cow named Donut. She made 5 gallons of rich creamy milk a day.

The kids brushed Rocky.

Then we were off the milk Martha.

I don’t eat pork at all (or generally allow my family to due to environmental racism) but K loves bacon and since this farm offers organic, responsibly sourced meats, he splurged and got a few packs.

This was a great outing for the kids! Amy’s farm is open to the public most days of the week and it’s free unless you are paying for a tour. If you are in SoCal and looking for something educational to do with the kids stop here and check it out. I would even splurge on the tour.

How to Teach Your Kids Emotional Intelligence

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Kids feel so much and have such a limited vocabulary. Teaching children Emotional Intelligence techniques allows them to better handle stress while helping you as a parent stress less. It may seem like a big task but once broken down it’s really easy. Make these tasks habits and you will see a big change in the way your child communicates with you.

1. Quiet time – Some days my kids are extra whiny. This is so annoying to me, they get whiny I get frustrated, they whine, I’m irritated it is a vicious cycle, and next thing you know we all need a time out. Taking time out in the morning for no reason at all works wonders. I have my kids pick a square and for 3 to 5 minutes we all sit and are still. Teaching children to pause is a very important thing in a society that values speed over quality.

2. How do you feel? This may be simple but many parents, especially of young children, don’t ask their kids how they feel. These conversations equip children with the proper vocabulary to express their feelings. For example, one can be frustrated but not angry, to children those lines may blur. Having these conversations also fosters empathy.

“Mommy, are you mad?”

“No, I am frustrated.”

“Can I help?”

“Yes, can you hand me that.”

Our vocabulary may determine if or even how our feelings have or can be changed.

3. Share how you feel. Simply sharing how you feel teaches your children how to share what they are feeling. “I feel ….. when…”

Equipping children with tools for effective communication makes them more confident and allows you to teach them how to appropriately manage their emotions.

If you enjoyed this check out How to be an Emotionally Intelligent Parent. Also, be sure to pick up a copy of my book How to Lead With Emotional Intelligence for practical application of EI in your daily life.

 

5 Ways to Be An Emotionally Intelligent Parent

Have you heard of Emotional Intelligence? It’s a buzzword that has been going around the past few years. Heres the scoop. It basically means the ability to control one’s emotions and even the emotions of others. So the higher your Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) the better you are at keeping a grip on life. Pretty cool right!

So here are some tips on how to use Emotional Intelligence to thrive as a parent.

  1. Be Aware: Wake up, feed kids, brush teeth, clean, school time, snack time, clean, homework, dinner, clean….repeat. If you are like me throw in some breastfeeding sessions, diaper changes, errands, phone calls and meds (for grandma). Wait! What about “me time”? Sometimes we can get so into the routine of the daily grind that we forget to check in with ourselves. It is so important to take out at least a few minutes alone to see how we are feeling and most importantly why?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  2.  Be Real: When you don’t know how you feel its easy to speak with more or less force than may be required when communicating with your kids. Good news is you can always stop and ask yourself, “Is your response really the best response”? If not simply apologize. Our kids are learning how to adult by what they see us do more than what they hear us say. So take time to slow down and self-correct.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  3. Be Honest: Why do you feel the way you do? Is your child really doing something harmful or are they simply being a child? Are you frustrated, tired, or overworked? Ha! That last one is not a real question. Of course, you are! This means you may be acting out of your feelings rather than your child’s actions. I once heard it said that kids get in more trouble at the end of the day not because the kids are worse but because the parents are tired. Try to make it a habit to give more grace as the day goes on.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
  4. Be A Kid: Take out some time to play. Seriously! Taking time to play with kids makes it easier to think like one. When you try to see the world through a child’s eyes you open up the door for grace. One of my favorite things to do is to have my kids take pictures with my camera. As I scroll through I am able to see things from their perspective and it really helps me appreciate their worldview. In fact, all but the first and last picture in this post were pictures taken by my kids. Even AR (18 mos)  got in on the fun.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  5. Be Realistic: There is no such thing as a perfect kid, and there is no such thing as a perfect parent. However, in order for you to have the best relationship with your child you need to be able to look inside yourself and understand your behavior so you can better shape the behavior of your child.

I hope this helps! Click here to find out How To Teach Your Kids Emotional Intelligence. You can also pick up a copy of my book How to Lead With Emotional Intelligence for practical ways to apply EI to your daily life.

Skinny Girl Secrets

*I am not a medical professional this is not health advice. In fact skinny isn’t even the standard. I use that term because that’s what people call me. Genetics also has a lot to do with it. My mom is skinny, so is my grandmother ect. You can do all this and still rock beautiful curves. I don’t even own a scale. These are just my food habits. So here we go! 

I was out to lunch with friends and I ordered an appetizer.

“Is that going to get you full?” My friend asked.

“No, I don’t eat to get full I eat to keep from being hungry,” I replied.

“What? I never heard that!”

“Yeah, that’s what my mom used to say.”

“See you skinny people keep these secrets to yourselves!”

So this is for you, friend. You know who you are! Here are 8 Secrets From Your Skinny friend.

(1) Drink water first. Most of the time you think you are hungry you are likely just thirsty. Try water first if after 15 min you are still feeling hungry, grab a bite to eat.

(2) Eat to stop the hunger sensation not to get full. When you eat to get full the food in your stomach expands your stomach making it harder and harder to get full. Weight gain doesn’t happen all at once it happens one pound at a time. If you only eat to satisfy the hunger sensation your stomach will only hold so much. This will keep your stomach its current size it will not shrink it.

(3) Look at the serving size. Some nights I want to eat all 4 servings of Ben and Jerry’s Almond Brittle Dairy Free Dessert, other times one serving will do. Knowing how much makes up one serving makes you less likely to make a habit of eating all the servings at once.

(4) Small Servings. Speaking of servings. It is a lot easier to put more on your plate than it is to take what is on your plate off. This goes for both life’s proverbial and physical plate. My mom used to say, “Don’t let your eyes get bigger than your stomach.” Eat small servings then if you want more get more.

(5) Don’t eat or drink out of a container. There is something about eating directly out of a vessel that makes us want to empty the vessel. Take your chips, cookies, or caramel popcorn and put it in the smallest bowl you have. Use a cup for your soda even if it is in a can. Better yet don’t drink soda.

(6) Use smaller plates. Speaking of containers, bigger is not always better. Use small cups bowls or plates. I know there is only a .25 cent difference between the biggest and smallest size and I know you say you won’t drink that much but let’s face it. You WILL want to empty that container.

(7) Don’t eat right before bed. When you eat right before you go to sleep your body spends the night digesting food instead of being completely at rest. Our food cut off for the kids is 2 hours before bed. Their tummies are almost empty by then so they aren’t hungry or digesting food through the night. That time seems to be the sweet spot for us. Amazingly enough, they don’t wake up starving. Hungry but they can usually wait for their oatmeal or pancakes to be made without complaint.

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(8) Supper on Sundays. Growing up we ate twice on Sunday’s. Once before church and once after church. We usually went back to church in the evenings so when we got out of service it was too late to eat. This habit has been so ingrained in me I still follow the tradition of two meals on Sunday. If the kids get hungry they can eat all the fruit and veggies they want.

At the end of the day the goal is to be the best you at any size! I hope these tips help you on your health journey. Be well!

Waterbead Experiment

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Have you heard about water beads? These things grow about 20 times their size and they are seriously addictive. Well, I got some, for the kids, and turned it into a learning experience. The word of the day was “absorb” watch our video below then read through our critical thinking questions.

 

Questions

  1. What does absorb mean?
  2. What do you think will happen to the dry water bead once we add water?
  3. *Remove bead from water at 4, 6, and 8 hours
  4. Which bead is biggest? Why?
  5. Which bead is smallest? Why?
  6. Put the beads in order from the least amount of water held to the most amount of water held.
  7. Name three things that absorb.
  8. Name three things that do not absorb.

This is an experiment we will visit again as the kids get older it would be a great way to teach permeation! Let us know how it goes!

Primary Color Lab

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My kid’s favorite way to learn is through touch. They love to build, create, and destroy so this lab was a great way to teach them about primary colors and how they are used to create other colors. So I grabbed some red, yellow, and blue craft paint some paper and a brush. We headed outside and got to painting. You can watch the video below and get some critical thinking questions for your littles.

Questions

  1. What are primary colors?
  2. What do red and yellow make?
  3. Red and blue?
  4. Yellow and blue?
  5. What are secondary colors
  6. Create a secondary color formula ___+_____=

If you try this activity let us know below!

6 Steps to Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy

Every now and then I go through these spells where I feel completely inadequate. I feel my job as a mom is not enough and I get the itch to find gratification outside of my home. This isn’t a bad thing in and of itself except when it causes me to lose sleep, act grouchy and be an all-around buzz kill. I compare myself to the perfect mom in my dreams, I water my weeds as they choke the life out of me.

I’m human, I feel things but I don’t stay there. How do I get through this?

  1. Identify the Trigger – For me, the trigger usually changes or rather uncertainty. The anticipation of change but the uncertainty of time. Basically, planning something big but not knowing when it will happen and not being able to stop it. 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
  2. Honesty- I am honest with myself and at least one other person about how I feel. Usually, I have to talk through my feelings so I do it with someone that allows me to backtrack and overexplain all while asking probing questions. Ephesians 4:25 25 Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,”[a] for we are members of one another.
  3. Forgiveness – I have made decisions that I wish I’d hadn’t. Maybe I should have taken that class, maybe I shouldn’t have. Either way, I have to forgive myself realizing I made the best choice I could at the time. Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
  4. Action- Forgiveness does not mean without consequence. There are natural consequences of our actions and we should handle them with grace. If there is something I can do I do it! Can I change the situation or make strides in the right direction? If so I do what I can. We can also remove ourselves from any temptations so we don’t repeat our mistakes. Matthew 5:29-30 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body is thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body goes into hell.
  5. Acceptance – I can’t fix it all. This means having to accept that some things are simply out of my control. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
  6. Gratitude- This is the most important one and it’s pretty easy to do. Look back at old pictures, make a list, take a walk, whatever it takes to remember all that was overcome. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Recognizing this pattern and following these steps helps me keep bad days, from becoming bad weeks. I hope this helps.

The Mystery Blogger Award

mystery-blogger-award

I am grateful and honored to have been recognized for this award! I want to thank The Crowning Glory for the nomination! She is a great lifestyle blogger sharing her adventures with the world.

Here are three things you may not know about me…

I am sensitive I hate to admit it but sometimes my feelings get hurt. I hate feeling pushed to the side so I retreat slowly and it can take a long time for people to notice. I’m working on it.

I am living my dream.  I always wanted to stay home and homeschool my kids, live close to my family and run a business.

I love to cook. Okay, you probably knew that one. I want to learn all things food. Yum!

Questions from The Crowning Glory

  1. What is your greatest strength? My compassion. It’s easy for me to put my feelings aside for others.
  2. If you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be? Loving, confident, HIS
  3. What is your favorite kind of music and why? I love worship music. It takes you to another place. It’s like an armor for my soul.
  4. Who in your life do you admire the most? My grandfather. He is taking care of my grandmother who has Alzheimer’s. After 50+years of marriage and despite her diagnosis he still tries to sweep her off her feet.
  5. Who was your childhood celebrity crush? Vin Diesel (until I realized he was old enough to be my father).

Here is a link to my favorite post so far. The Nurturing Of Weeds

The Rules:

Feature the award logo/image on your post
List the rules
Thank the blogger who nominated you
Tell the readers 3 things about yourself
Answer the questions provided
Nominate 6 to 10 bloggers and notify them by commenting on their blog
Ask the nominees 5 questions of your choice with one weird/funny question (specify)
Share a link to your best post

My Questions

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. Whats the last book you read?
  3. Whats your favorite kind of food?
  4. Favorite artist (any medium)
  5. Who is your biggest fan?

I nominate

littlecrunchy.com

rumiskitchen.blogspot.com 

mysterhow.blogspot.com

bestreviewguru

jdeducational.com

yukonmamaof4.com

myownkindofbeautiful.com

howtomarryamillionaire.fr/

My Favorite Vegan Sandwich

I love to eat! Food is delicious and comforting and there is nothing quite like a good sandwich. If you are looking for a bite with texture, depth of flavor and picture worthiness this is the hot sandwich for you.

Favorite Vegan Sandwich

Ingredients

Bun (Check the ingredients to exclude milk or eggs)

Easy Peasy (Vegan) Pesto

Baby portabello mushrooms (Enough to fit on one hand)

1/4 Zucchini sliced longways

1/4 red bell pepper sliced into strips

1 small white onion

2 tbs Vegan Butter (cut in half)

1 tbs of Olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

Sea salt and pepper to season

To Prepare

In a hot cast iron skillet add 1 tbs vegan butter and olive oil. Sautee all the veggies until the edges are caramelized. While veggies are cooking butter the potato buns. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper to the veggies, stir then remove veggies from heat. Place buns on the hot skillet and toast.

Assembly

  • On the bottom bun, spread Easy Peasy (Vegan) Pesto Sauce.
  • Top with your cooked veggies.
  • On the top bun spread hummus and add chopped olives (they will stick to the hummus).
  • Put the top bun on the veggies and enjoy!

It will be messy but worth EVERY bite. K loves this sandwich even though he is a carnivore. How do you like it?

Easy Peasy (Vegan) Pesto

I love the fall and all that it brings especially the food! I love pasta and chili, hearty casseroles and fried comfort foods. Since changing my diet I have had to do a lot of exploring and experimenting. Let me say I am not a vegan. I don’t eat land animals or dairy, but I do eat fish, honey and occasionally eggs. My goal is to be my healthiest, best self.

It was easy to give up beef because I was never big on beef, I feel I have already had enough chicken to last a lifetime (I can hear my husband gasp in shock and disgust at that last part) and I equate eating pork right up there with buying diamonds and new smartphones. Along with this diet change, I have learned that just about any recipe that calls for one cheese can be swapped out with nutritional yeast. So if you already make pesto from scratch, save yourself the read and swap out the cheese. For everyone else here we go.

Easy Peasy (Vegan) Pesto

1 cup pine nuts

1 1/2 cups of fresh basil

1 tbs of olive oil

Juice from 1/2 a lemon or 3 drops of Lemon Vitality oil

1 tsp Sea Salt

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 tbsp of water

1 clove of garlic

Throw this all in the blender and blend until you reach your desired consistency. Some like it chunky but I like it smooth because I use it on my favorite sandwich here.

Use the sea salt, yeast, and garlic to taste. I tend to add a bit more lemon juice depending on the size of the lemon. Make it and let me know what you think!

Alkaline, Acid, Base

This weeks theme is color. Naturally, we will be doing some cool color based experiments. First up was “Alkaline, Acid, Base.” This experiment called for everyday things you likely have in your kitchen or can easily pick up. Purple grape juice, lemon juice, and baking soda. Grape juice is an indicator liquid meaning it is a neutral liquid that changes color when its acid level or alkaline level is increased.

Set up is easy. Take two glasses and put about 1/4 cup of grape juice in each. In one glass add the juice of one lemon. Note the change. The color of the juice should change from purple to red. In the next glass add about 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda and stir. The grape juice will bubble and change to dark greenish blue color.

If you add lemon juice to the blue liquid the color will change back to purple. If you add baking soda to the red liquid it will also go back to purple. If you want to add another component to this experiment include ph test strips and add the lemon juice or baking soda using .5ml droppers measuring the ph after each addition.

Here is a video of us doing the experiment. Below are some questions to ask your student.

Alkaline, Acid, Base Experiment Video.
How do we use color to give us information? (Traffic lights, cooking, fashion ect.)

What color is the grape juice?

What do you think will happen if you add lemon juice? Baking soda?

What happened when you added the lemon juice? Baking soda?

How can we turn the lemon juice mixture back to its original color?

What is the ph of the grape juice?

What is the ph of the juice after .5ml of lemon juice?

How many ml of lemon juice did it take for you to notice a change in the color of the liquid?

What is the ph of the juice after .5ml of baking soda?

How many ml of baking soda did it take for you to notice a change in the liquid’s color?

This was a fun experiment for the kids and they really enjoyed watching the colors change.

 

 

Teaching Phonics to STEM Kids

Last year I tried to teach Summer to read. She hated it! “She will read when she is ready.” “Just keep reading to her, she will eventually like it.” None of these tips worked and despite the reassurance, I was sure my kinder who seemed to excel at math would NEVER learn to read.

Over the summer I was gifted a wealth of elementary curriculum and materials among them was a phonics program written by a former teacher. As Summer and I are working our way through the program her reading ability particularly her ability to sound out words has greatly increased. The foundation of the program is teaching the student onsets and rimes. By learning these parts of words students are able to use this information to sound out words. For a brain that likes to decode this is awesome!

“What in the world is an onset,” you say?

An onset is the first part of a word. So if we look at the word spot. SP would be an onset and OT would be a rime. Learning these common sounds allows students to be able to effectively sound out words like spring, SP-R-ING. SP is an onset, R is also an onset your student will learn and ING is a rime. Teaching students to spell this way allows them to decode the word using a formula they already know. I quiz Summer on onsets and rimes on a weekly basis.

I quiz Summer on onsets and rimes on a weekly basis. Usually giving her sounds to spell out while she eating breakfast or a snack. She thinks its funny as I try to “trick” her with new sounds. I typically work off of a list of common words alongside the program I was given but here is a list of common onsets and rimes here.

 

Please post your success stories in the comments and check out our Facebook page for videos, games and learning tips.

Friendship 7 and Summer’s Digital Report

Yesterday we had family movie night and watched Hidden Figures. Half way into the movie KJ left the room to watch something else but Summer baby hung in there the entire movie. 

This morning we talked a little about it and headed to the computer to do a little fact checking. We used Prezi for her presentation she choose the pictures, text colors and she even typed up most of the report. 

At one point I couldn’t deal with the one finger typing and had to take over but we had fun. Enjoy the final presentation below. Make sure to leave a comment so baby girl can read them. 

Building Block Fun

Every now and then I like to shake things up and have a game day with the kids. On game day we focus on our learning objectives through play. This game is great for critical thinking, following directions, and spatial perception. For smaller children this would also be a great activity to further develop fine motor skills.

This activity was really simple to execute. I found some cheap blocks online and built various structures. I then took pictures of each structure and had them printed at my local drugstore. Drug stores always have great deals on prints so I snagged a coupon online and paid a few bucks for about 20 photos.

I gave the kids the photos with the easiest structures first and then the more difficult structures at the back of the pack. The kids enjoyed building to the exact specifications. Below are the pictures I used along with a picture of the blocks that I bought online. Feel free to download these pictures and print them out for your kids.

The Nurturing of Weeds

 

I was growing a weed. I am not saying that a weed sprouted up alongside my plants I am saying I watered, tended to and actively grew…a weed. In an effort to grow some peppers and cucumbers from seed I mistook this innocent looking weed as the start of a pepper or even a cucumber plant.

Let me back up a bit a weed as defined by a gardening friend as a plant you did not intend to plant, growing.  In other words, this was a weed because it was not bearing and would not bear the fruit I intended it to.

You know God showed me myself.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 I had to stop, meditate, and examine my fruit. I was not actively watering plants that would lead to this fruit. In my absentminded apathy, I’d begun to water and nurture some weeds. 

I’d begun to compare my actual husband to my perfect imaginary husband. The fruit was frustration and bitterness. My kids were too much. Too loud. Too busy. Too kid-like. The fruit was impatience. I was too busy to read the word, too busy to take time to hear from God, too busy to be grateful.  The fruit was sternness.

I’d realized what I was doing by examining the fruit of my weeds. I was taking time, energy, and intention to care for these weeds. My husband was not going to get away with not meeting the impossible standard set in my mind. My kids were going to learn to act like 30 maybe 40 years olds with good sense instead of the 6, 4, and 1 year old they are. I was going to look like I had a lot going on even IF God intended I be still after all I need to keep up appearances.My weeds were bearing fruit and they needed to be uprooted.

The next part was simple. Repentance.

God uproot these weeds! I had to intentionally pull every one of them. When I started to day dream about what perfect husband would say or do. I replaced that thought for the gratitude of what actual husband did. When I started to get impatient with the kids I would try to savor the moment and appreciate the innocent way they see the world and I would be intentional. I would be intentional in my spiritual growth. I would seek out Gods presence and study His word. When I failed at this…I would repent again because a garden full of weeds is not an option.

 

5 Things to Consider When Deciding to Homeschool

 

So you’ve decided to homeschool or you are at the very least considering it. It’s easy to get so bombarded with curriculum ideas and homeschooling styles that you forget a few of the basics. Here are some things I feel you need to know.

  1. State laws – Different states have different laws in place. Some states are very hands-off suggesting you send in a letter of intent to homeschool while others require more due process or they will mark your child as absent from their local public school. To avoid legal action find out what your state laws are concerning homeschooling and use your findings to decide which homeschool route is best for you. You can find out what your state requires here. We choose a state charter and explain our reasons here.
  2. Motive – Why are you choosing to teach your child at home. Religion? Content? Content delivery? Freedom to travel year around? Show business? Whatever the reason keep it in mind. You will likely need to remind yourself at least once a year why you choose to embark on this wonderful journey. This will also help determine which homeschool style or styles will help your family reach their goals.
  3. What’s the deal with socialization – I think every homeschooling parent has been asked this questions at least once, “What about socialization?” If I am in a chatty mood I will ask, “What about it?” Then listen as they find a way to politely ask, “Aren’t you worried your kid will be weird?” The worry is that the homeschooled kid will grow up without friends and become the awkward co-worker that doesn’t know how to make small talk around the water cooler. Rest assured I don’t intend for my child to grow up and go work for someone else. My hope is that by raising my children outside the system they will be able to imagine and freely create innovative ideas that will allow them to provide jobs not work them. We are in such an interconnected society it is easy to put kids into extracurricular activities, take them on field trips or even travel the world. My objective is to equip my children to live their best life. Having friends and being a friend is on the list of things to make that happen but it is not the top of the list.
  4. Curriculum – This is tricky because, in my opinion, it depends on the age you start. The younger your child is the less curriculum they NEED to take that time to explore what works for you. When you find one you like to use it until you outgrow it. For math I use Horizons workbooks, for English, I use a personalized curriculum from a friend, and for social studies, geography, and science we wing it. I do use common core standards as a guide for creating content though. DO NOT SPEND A LOT ON CURRICULUM. There are so many buy/sell/trade groups online that allow you to purchase used curriculum so you can see if you like the program your interested in.
  5. Time – If you take out recess, lunch break, distractions from other kids, traveling to and from classrooms the average child spends less than 4 hours a day actually receiving education instruction. Keep this in mind when structuring your day. You are not teaching a group of 20 (unless of course, you are) so you do not need to structure your day as such. Last year we had a clear schedule you can see it here. This year we have an order but some days are shorter and some days are longer. Just the other day SJ finished school a whole hour early! We were both surprised and proud. She simply went through all her assignments for the day and was able to go play after. There is no rule that says all four hours (or less) of instruction have to be done at once. You can break it up based on your schedule. Do you both work best when you sleep in? Great! School starts at noon! Are you a night owl? Start school after dinner. You can even do math at sunrise and English at dusk.  Explore and see what works best for you there is no hard fast rule.

Homeschooling is awesome! It’s freeing in that my children are able to learn in an environment tailored to their needs by a teacher who is personally invested in their growth, me! Please comment below with any questions you may have. I hope you take the plunge!