Chore Charts

I’ve had people asking me about my kids ‘morning chores’ and ‘evening chores’ that I reference in our ‘day in the life’ posts and schedule posts.  Here they are for your downloading pleasure, feel free to alter these to your needs and use freely.  One file is what I used before my kids knew how to read (picture chart) and they got mini stickers to put in the boxes.  The other chart we used after they could read and they liked putting check marks in the boxes.  That one is printed so you can cut the paper in half sheets and I would usually print a week or two work and staple them between two half sheets of their choice of cardstock.

The charts they use now are pretty much the same as the ‘readable’ charts mentioned above but in a graph format (several days per one page and practice reading graphs in the process.  When I find that file on my computer I will add it here.

Click these links to download.  Enjoy!

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Meal Planning Binder….

People have been telling me lately how organized I am. Anyone who’s known me closely for any length of time is welcome to chuckle along with me at these comments 🙂 I don’t typically classify myself as an organized person. I generally operate in a lot of clutter, chaos and ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ kind of adventures- however, because I know this of myself I have created organization within my chaos as a means of keeping sanity. I call it ‘post it notes on steroids’.  At the inspiration of a very good local friend, Heather, I have put together our own ‘meal plan binder’ and it has been working out beautifully!

Start with a blank calender and begin plugging your favorite recipes into the blank slots. I decided that our family only really needed to plan and buy for 5 dinners/week due to the inevitable leftovers night and one night out either with family, friends or at restaurant (also a good night to try out a new recipe if we happen to be home instead).  To make my recipe brainstorm easier I started by designating some ‘theme’ ideas for example:

crockpot/oven recipes (1 per week):
chicken enchiladas
Veggie Sausage Soup
Italian Chicken legs
Cranberry Chicken
Taco Soup
Shepherd’s Pie

fresh (1 per week):
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad
Chef Salad
Shrimp Cocktail and salad pack
asian chicken salad
pasta salad with Chicken/apple salad sandwiches
tomato/basil fresh rolls

stove top/BBQ or oven (1 per week):
creamy orzo with chicken and mushroom
chicken and apricot couscous
paella
turkey burgers
chicken picatta and pesto pasta
BBQ chicken pieces with garlic greenbeans

stir fry (1 per week):
chicken and brocolli fettucini alfredo
chicken stir fry and fresh rolls
fajitas
beef and brocolli with fresh rolls
stir fried rice
peanutty noodles with tofu and peas

easy/fun (1 per week):
homemade pizza
spaghetti or lasagna
baked potato bar
homemade mac and cheese
corn dogs
burritos

Next I got myself a binder and some pocketed subject dividers and started organizing this all in a central location.  Note that as you will see in the pictures and attached files, I have not finished weeks 5 and 6 yet.  Each divider is a weeks worth of dinners, with all recipes printed and in page protectors.  Each weekly pocket holds the master grocery list for that week of dinners, items divided by quantity/item/recipe name so that it is easy to edit out a recipe or multiply it for bulk cooking.  Also note that ingredients are organized by dept of the grocery store (my grocery store in the order I walk it, you’ll have to alter it for your own grocery store and habits) and there are extra blanks in each ‘dept’ so you can add items to your list throughout your week (aka we are out of bananas and yogurt for breakfasts).  Once the binder is all compiled (or at least one week at a time) you can start using it and rotating through the weeks.  The more weeks you have then the more variety you have.

Just last week we had lasagna scheduled (which is something I always cook in bulk).  I bought extra ingredients and in the end had 9 lasagnas on my counter to put in the freezer.  With a 6 week rotation of menus- that is 1 year worth of lasagnas!  If I pick 1-2 freezable recipes per week to make in bulk I will have a stocked freezer and quick meals on hand for 6month-1year!

I hope all this information is helpful to others- I know it has been wonderful for our family 🙂  Enjoy!

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Week 1 of school…schedules and sewing

I decided to start ‘school’ earlier this year than planned due to the upcoming births I will be helping with in the fall (which always requires some recovery time).  Its a gentle start meaning that we still have a full summer schedule of play dates and outdoor adventures but have been adding in a bit of our school work as we’re able.  This year I’m going to attempt a more structured day but its a guide that I won’t let dictate everything as I want all our days to have the flexibility for creativity.

8am- wake up and do morning chores (hopefully they were done the previous night by 9pm with evening chores completed). The kids have printed graphs with their morning and evening chores listed

9am- we start ‘school’. The kids each have their own rolling carts/scrapbook totes with their personal school books in them that they have to roll out and put next to where they will sit for the day (they also have their current reading books, craft project and sketching notebooks in these carts and anytime they finish an assignment before their sibling they may pull that out and work/read quietly while they wait for what is next). Part of their morning chores include clearing off the table, so they should be sitting with their books ready and the table clean at 9am. I spend that morning hour making myself breakfast and getting Bayus ready for his day, also checking email, printing papers for their work of the day and getting myself dressed and ready for the day. We are using MFW curriculum and start our day with a short review of our memory verse for the week, sometimes there is some discussion, a short Primary Language lesson, handwriting review and writing in their journals (I have a list of writing prompts and will have already written the day’s verse and the day’s writing prompt on the sliding glass window). So basically we start the day with a bit of bible and english.

9:30- 15min-30min ‘recess’. My kids think its really fun to have recess and they take it so very seriously to play hard during that time that I find it adorable. I set a timer in the house and go out and ring a cow bell when the time is up and they come running. Sometimes I will tell them to collect eggs or eat strawberries from the garden but mostly its free time that involves a lot of running and chasing and playing in the ‘forest’.

10am- Math; we are using Singapore math this year and so far I’m not impressed but I’m going to go a bit further with it before I pronounce judgement and switch. We move into Geography after math and they have a geography binder they are often filing worksheets or construction paper flags they’ve made during this time. Sometimes the lesson involves a game or song that goes along with the given country

11am- Science; they have science notebooks that they write about what we read from ‘Living World’ in and illustrate a bit

11:15 (or so) they are outside for more recess time (hopefully with their science lesson fresh in their mind as they run around outside). I take this time to set out lunches

11:30-noon we eat lunch and I’ve usually got a CD playing with international music from the country we discussed that day or the memory verse or our Latin studies playing in the back ground

Noon- Quiet time; Elias and Hannah each grab their current reading books and have to find quiet corners to read in for 40mins while I get Bayus to lay down for what usually results in a nap (He spends most of the morning hours playing with trains or castle toys and running outside with the others during recesses)

1pm- Elective time; these rotate daily–> Monday= music lesson,Tuesday= Latin, Wednesday= Sewing, Thursday= Draw Squad, Friday= letter writing to relatives and free choice as they can pull out any craft projects they’ve wanted more time on to work on in the afternoons

1:30/2pm our school day is done and they run off for lots of free play, crafts, afternoon trips to the YMCA or library or friends houses…..that sort of thing. We may have some cub scouts for Elias and Celtic dance classes for Hannah in the fall that will be afternoon/evening on our schedule.

So I started our ‘school’ the first week of August and so far it has gone well. I have not wanted to stress about our schedule, I want it to be a guide but not a dictator, and we are doing about 1 week of work every 2 weeks. The kids like everything we are doing, the schedule is doable and they are loving the electives and recesses this year. I’ve had the materials for most of these electives for years now but never had it formally included in our schedule- now that it is its fun to see it happening. Its also fun to hear the kids greeting each other in Latin.

Here’s a picture of the kids first sewing project.  Using a full adult sized dinner napkin they made small lunch napkins and silverware roll ups.  I used the remaining fabric to make a bag to hold it all in with their new Tiffin lunch pails.  The kids are loving using these for our picnic outings!

Make your own habitat

I love it when I come across an idea that is so very ingenious and yet so very simple that I must, just must, find some opportunity to re-create it!  This summer while visiting the zoo the kids played with a set of seemingly random items put together by the zoo to be used to make ‘habitats’.  Each storage box contained a cut out of green and blue indoor/outdoor carpeting to represent water and land and then an assortment of various other props.  Add in a hefty dose of a child’s imagination and maybe a few small toys (I’m dreaming of little bendy fairies and needle felted animals) and you have endless possibilities!

Not quite the adventure we had planned…

What started out as a low tide discovery hike on Alki Beach quickly turned into a close encounter for Bayus with some sharp barnacles.  We spent a good portion of the day at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital getting our little Bayus stitched up.  His only comment to the doctor was when the proceedure was finished and the doctor was preparing to leave the room, Bayus said ‘Hey, you didn’t give me a balloon!’  Spoken like a true 3yr old.  We finished out our evening at grandpa’s house making sure Bayus had a bunch of green (his favorite color) balloons to take home.  Its been 2 weeks now and his stitches are out and I’m relieved to say he is healing quite well.

2008-2009 School Year: 2nd grade here we come!

In honor of this new school year I thought I would finally start up a blog to chronicle  our adventures (I’ve had enough people hounding me to do this- yes you Val!).  As my first entry I figured I’d provide blogworld with some links and info on our plans for this year.

The core of our studies will come from My Father’s World curriculum, in particular the set Exploring Countries and Cultures

Our electives consist of piano, latin, sewing, 3D drawing with after school activities of YMCA, cubscouts and possibly dance.

Music for Little Mozarts

Prima Latina

For sewing at this point I’m just planning small projects for the kids to do once a week using their sewing machine, eventually I may have them work through the following books (I already have some of these and really like the format and content)

The Draw Squad (anyone else remember running home from school so you didn’t miss Commander Mark on PBS?)

YMCA homeschool PE; local branch offering swimming and variety of sports opportunities

Elias will likely be in Cubscouts as well and we are still debating Hannah’s involvement in possibly Celtic dance or some sort of Girlscout opportunities.

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Elias is now 8yrs old and Hannah will be 7 next month (end of September).

They continue to be really good friends.