Super Busy at Home

Family blog about homeschooling, autism, saving money, mom blog, travel, vacation, budgeting.

Our Fresh Start Began with Popsicle Sticks

Homeschooling sometimes gets hard, y'all! 

This year I had the amazing idea of making our homeschool year last all year round. 

No long summer break for us.

I really think this will be a good idea but with no end in clear sight things are starting to get a little sticky around here.

Bad attitudes.

Crankiness.

Procrastination. 

And if you think those sound bad you should see the kids. 

Ha!

Truth be told it's been all of us. Just not into it.  Doing the bare minimum of work required.

It's been a good day if we get all of the worksheets and problems done.  Forget fun projects or artwork. 

As the sun was setting on the end of our yet-again horrific attempt at homeschooling last week I knew we had to do something.

Something had to get turned around or we were headed off the edge of a cliff in a car.

So I spent all weekend planning.

You know, like I'm supposed to every week .

How Our Fresh Start Began with Popsicle Sticks. Super Busy at Home

The thing is, I spent MONTHS last spring preparing for this school year. I have a notebook with everything detailed that I need for each week.  Every book I need, art supply, everything. But some of it I had decided not to use and for some reason in my mind that meant that I wasn't going to use it at all. 

Which just is absurd.

So I went back to the notebook and ta-da!  most everything was already planned out for fun activities. 

With the help of that, pinterest, and just simply getting things ready for the week I was able to get started this week with our ducks already in a row.  Everything was planned out and ready to go.

So that was done but I was also faced with the problem of all of the bad attitudes.  I had managed to get myself out of my funk but how was I going to get the kids okay-ish with doing school again?

The answer, like always, practically jumped out of the Bible and smacked me in the face.  I love when my help comes from the Lord.  Which is pretty much all the time. 

Our Fresh Start Began with Popscicle Sticks. Super Busy at Home.

Calvin had to memorize this verse the week before to complete his Awana book so it was a perfect jumping off point for this week.

Our Fresh Start Began with Popsicle Sticks. Super Busy at Home

To enforce or rather to encourage this, Sunday night Nick and I sat down in the living room with a bunch of popsicle sticks.

And we made chores.

Glorious chores.

It wasn't anything too hard.  Or anything that will take too long. But they are things that will definitely help out.

How Our Fresh Start Began with Popsicle Sticks. Super Busy at Home

Clean the bathroom sink.

Put random lost socks in the laundry.

Things like that. (And as a total side note, can you figure out which of the popsicle sticks was written by me?  Nick totally has Doctor/Architect handwriting.)

And to think, our fresh start Began with Popsicle Sticks. Super Busy at Home

I introduced the popsicle sticks to them in the morning while they were still in bed.  We had talked about the verse the night before so I reminded them of it and told them about the chore sticks.

I told them that all of their complaining and arguing just sucks the life right out of me.  And then I am too tired to do all of the chores so they will have to help.

It's only the third day but we've only had to draw out a popscicle stick twice.  Which means there's only been complaining two times

Which for me is like drawing a popsicle stick from the mom lottery.

Two times complaining in three days is a total win.

And every day we've been able to get our school work done.

Another win.

Our Fresh Start was three days ago and it's only just begun. 

Happy day friends! 

What do you need a fresh start on? Brainstorm, switch things up, and get going!

 

Making the Every Day the Everything

Last week my uncle passed away.  It's been a whirlwind of family in town, memorial services, moving furniture, cleaning, crying, and more.

And in those times is when family is reiterated as being the most sacred of all blessings God gives us here on Earth. 

Where would we be without our tribe to hold us all up collectively?

My extended family is amazing.  We all seem to get it, we all laugh about the same things and more.

And when I come home from funerals and look around at the life Wit and I have been blessed with around these two blessings of ours, I'm astounded by how it all is going by so quickly.

Like a blink it will all be over.

Making the Every Day the Everything. Super Busy at Home.

I was on Facebook a couple of days ago and while their intent is not to inspire me, I have a few friends who post photos of their children all.the.time. And while for others it may be annoying, for me it is inspiring. 

I think at times when you have babies and toddlers around it is easy to see things as exciting and photo worthy.  But then the play-doh's been played with so much it's not fun to take the pictures.  And the sledding's been done so many times you are convinced you'll remember them on your own, you don't need to soak it in.

But you all remind me to relish the small things, to soak in the moments in the every day.  I want to remember it all so I can look back and see that these every day moments that just could have gone by unnoticed amidst the laundry and the cleaning and dishes, these every day moments are everything in life.  Aren't these moments why I wanted to be a mother?  Aren't these moments the ones who define who I am as a caregiver and nurturer?

And so, after seeing my friends posting pictures of their kids eating a donut in the backseat, or giggling after a bubble bath, inspired, I set off to capture my own every day moments.  To preserve them in photographs to commit to memory time and time again.

May I not forget the mornings where the snowstorm raged outside while the tangles in dolls hair laid flat and we giggled and swapped outfits on dolls.

May I not forget the excitement of pieces being put together and constructed into something that has been dreamt of for a year.  Of a toy saved for and cherished, of the learning moments through frustration and toil.  May I remember it all. 

And so you Momma's on social media, please keep posting your photos. 

You inspire me. 

To take my every day and to once again pick up my camera, put down my laundry basket, and to stop and see my everything around me.

I thank you for helping me get back to the root of what is important.

Making the Every Day the Everything. Super Busy at Home #Superbusyathome

Zulily has Jelly the Pug on Sale!

This blog post may contain affiliate links that help offset the cost of running this blog.  You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Eek, I couldn't wait to jump on here and let you know the news...

Now through the 19th Jelly the Pug is on Zulily

Jelly the Pug is my absolute fave brand for Emma!  Especially as she is getting older and more vested in what she is wearing each day, Jelly the Pug has really helped to keep the peace between us.  They sweet brands are "sassy" as little Kazoo says and the details like ankle ruffles, knee patches, or bows really help her feel like she is wearing something that is cool and far from boring.

I think that this dress has to be my favorite and it is on sale for only $17.99!  Regularly $48.00 you can see why I love Zulily so much!

I also am in crushing on this dress, the Hot Pink & Teal Love Birds Hannah dress. I love all of the patterns of fabric that they use and they way they mix them together. This dress is $17.99, on sale from $44.00!  So cute and ruffley. 

And if you are looking for a great Easter outfit or for a Spring tea I think this is just darling.  I love outfits for things like Easter egg hunts because they can have fun and they don't have to worry about sitting like a girl or bending over.  My Aunt calls these hippie pants and so does Emma now but we still think they are the cutest!  This is the Peach Sweet Heart Brandy Top and Pants.  This outfit is $19.99 and was originally $48.00.  Hello, you beautiful bargain you! 

So those are some of the Jelly the Pug over on Zulily that I am a bit obsessed with right now.  But hurry because the sizes and styles sell out really quickly :(.  If you are new to Zulily it is a bargain website that has new deals every day.  You have to be a member to shop but it's free to join! You can click here to join today and get to shopping for so many cute things...including Jelly the Pug!
 

Happy Shopping, sweet friends!

This blog post may contain affiliate links that help offset the cost of running this blog.  You can read my full disclosure policy here.

 

 

Our Winter Trip to the Indianapolis Zoo

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day we went to the Indianapolis Zoo.  I wasn't sure what to expect going to the zoo when it was only 7 degrees out but we went anyway.  It was amazing.  Even though not many animals were out we had an amazing experience.

As I mentioned in this previous blog, to get in we only had to pay with canned goods to help the local food bank.  How amazing is that?

The first thing we went to see was the indoor aquarium. 

Winter Trip to the Indianapolis Zoo.  Super Busy at Home.

There is something so magical about taking the time to just let the world go by behind you while you gaze at the fish swimming contentedly around.  And then there is something to ethereal about watching your children be able to do the same thing.  It is such a joy to watch them enjoy God's creation and to discover all of the attributes about it.

Winter Trip to the Indianapolis Zoo.  Super Busy at Home.

I think our favorite part was getting to watch the Dolphins.  They have this walk through thing where the tunnel is under the water and the dolphins swim by. Because it was the winter and there was hardly anyone else there we had the whole place to ourselves and the kids and I laid down and watched the dolphins swim over us.  At first Emma thought I was crazy but after we left she said that was her favorite part.  See?  Sometimes it pays to be the weirdo mom :)

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Other things the kids loved were the penguins waddling around,

Winter Trip to the Indianapolis Zoo.  Super Busy at Home.

the walrus under the water eating his fish and then spitting it out at us (I refrained from posting those pictures on here.  You're welcome! :)  ).

Winter Trip to the Indianapolis Zoo.  Super Busy at Home.
Winter Trip to the Indianapolis Zoo.  Super Busy at Home.

The orangutan exhibit was so neat and we spent lots of time there watching the apes (not monkeys as we learned!).

Winter Trip to the Indianapolis Zoo.  Super Busy at Home.

We also saw a polar bear,

Winter Trip to the Indianapolis Zoo.  Super Busy at Home.

a tiger that looked like he just wanted to be pet (or eat our face off but you know, whatever), and more!

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All in all it was a super fun day.  I think our most memorable thing though were the dolphins. After lunch we returned to the zoo for the dolphin show.  The kids had no idea that dolphins were capable of performing and doing all of the neat tricks.  They were squealing with delight, it was so precious.

So there ya have it, our fun, freezing trip to the zoo.  If you go in the winter I do highly recommend it because we were able to have so much more interaction with the cold weather animals and with such low attendance it practically felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Have you ever been to the zoo in the winter?  Did you like it more than other times? Comment below, sweet friends!

Homeschool Co-op Drop Outs: What I've Learned

So I am a co-op drop out. 

Yep, I'm a cool homeschool mom like that. 

I keep thinking of that song about being a beauty school drop out. 

I'm a Homeschool Co-op Drop Out. #autism #homeschooling #grace. super busy at home.

And yes that probably makes me a dork.  I'm learning to be okay with that.

The truth is that this has been a long time coming.

And by long time I mean about a month.

Here we go with my lengthy explanation.

We started a homeschooling co-op in the fall.  It was a group of other families with the moms teaching and assisting in the classrooms with class periods set up.  The kids went to different classes throughout the day and we had a lunch period in the middle. The co-op set the school year into trimesters. 

The first trimester seemed to go fairly well.  We had some issues but nothing serious in the classroom.  The big part I was having a bit of an issue with was when the second trimester came along, the only heavy weight class the kids were in was Chemistry and the kids were falling drastically behind the class with their homework. It wasn't for lack of trying but they were just not grasping what was being covered.  So I was having to struggle with how to get them to learn it while having them behind and not knowing whether to speed them up to be with the class while not understanding what they were doing or to stay behind to understand but go to class every week with unfinished homework and assignments.

The other classes were nice but they were extra curriculars.  Legos, crochet, etc.  And so by going to co-op I felt that we were kind of missing an entire day that could be used for instruction on fun stuff.  Don't get me wrong, I know they were learning things and having a great time with friends.  But I also knew that behind the scenes we were falling drastically behind in math, grammar, and latin.  Yoinkerdoodles.

I also somehow forget that Calvin has autism.  The summer and autumn we were in a really great cycle.  I don't look at my son and see "autism" plastered over his forehead, he's just him.  But over Christmas break he started being able to not communicate again.  And started stimming again.  And a whole other myriad of things including not having control over the tone of his voice.  So when he's answering you in a good mood he sounds like he sounds irritated and mad at you.  It's difficult on us.  It's super difficult on him.

And I just knew then and there.  There was no way I was going to be able to send him back to co-op like this.  I can't ask mothers to handle this when they have a classroom of other children to help.  I can't ask other children to act like nothing's going on when he's yelling at them for no reason. 

And so we dropped out.  I felt really bad.  I cried.  A lot.  I've asked that they allow us to return if we want but haven't heard what the final "verdict" from the leadership board is. 

But in the end of it, I am holding my head high.

I did what was best for our family.  While it was difficult for me because it might not be the best thing for Emma to leave but it is for Calvin, what that meant was if it's not good for one of us it can't be good for any of us.  It might seem unfair sometimes but we're learning we're a team and we have to stick together.

Dropping out of a homeschool co-op is teaching me all about grace.  Super Busy at Home.

As a homeschooling mom I am constantly worried about what people think of me.  I don't want others to think I'm a "weirdo" because I homeschool.  I want the other homeschool moms to think I have it all together. Ugh.  it's just a weird place to be sometimes when you carry this title.  But in this instance I felt that I had finally grown mature enough to be able to recognize that this was not working and it wasn't the best fit for our family.

Through this homeschooling journey I swear I am learning as much if not more than the children are.  I'm learning to laugh in the rain, to give myself grace when things get rough, and to see things as trial and error rather than failures when they simply don't work out. 

As I write this we should be at co-op right now.

Instead we dropped out. Before I would have felt like a total failure because of that.

Instead we made it half way through a math lesson today before Calvin went into his quiet corner in the homeschool room and was on his own with his cat for 20 minutes.  Then he went and played piano.  He learned 15 spelling words and successfully wrote legibly two sheets of words for me in handwriting.  All of those are things we wouldn't have gotten done even last week.  I'm considering this a win.

And as a homeschooling mom and an autism mom, I'll take as many wins as I can get.

Happy weekend sweet friends!  Hope you learn to look for wins and to give yourself grace.  Love you!

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”TheNaturalHomeschool”