Foot Prints Across the Year

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I thought this turned out adorable but in hindsight I would not use a black background.

Children grow up so fast and it really is true that the ‘days are long but the years are short’. As the mother of a 12 year old I can tell you that the years fly by and I’m sure that will become even more a reality as he continues to grow up and gets ready to leave home. I am blessed to have four children ages 12, 10, 4, and 10 months and I want to make sure that I utilize the perspective that comes from having older children to really enjoy the moments with all of them. This doesn’t mean that every moment is going to be fun or that I’m going to be any less exhausted (teething anyone?) but I want to make sure that I capture the memories while they are at each new stage.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

When my oldest was a baby I thought I would always remember with vivid clarity each moment, each new accomplishment, each different stage, but time has a way of making some of those memories quite blurry. I think this is especially true for busy moms that have so much going on with just keeping the house running and making sure everyone is clean and fed. I wanted to be intentional about watching the baby grow up even in the midst of the hustle and bustle so I decided to create a keepsake each month that would remind me how much he was growing.

Each month I’m going to do a foot print project that goes along with the month/season and at the end of the year I will have a fun collection and be able to see how much his tiny feet grew over the course of a year. My four year old LOVES anything related to paint so he will probably also participate although I don’t expect to see as much of a dramatic difference in the size of his prints. I may use his hands instead of his feet. I had originally thought about using hands for both of them, but attempting to make a hand print using the 10 month old taught me that it was not the best plan.

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The hand print did not turn out well as he did not want to relax his hand.

I hope to be able to create some kind of book or keepsake at the end of the year to commemorate the growth.  While you have the paint out and the children messy you can even create a duplicate project that you can send to grandparents or other relatives that might enjoy the keepsake.

For January I found this footprint snowman that was super easy to complete. For the baby I just helped him make his foot print and then I finished the project. I let my four year old see the example of this cute snowman project using a hand print and he loved the idea. However, I made the mistake of leaving him alone with his hand print and his new paint sticks and the results were not quite was I was expecting.  We may try again later this  month with a little more guidance.

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If painting isn’t the right fit for you, you could do some other fun craft, a series of pictures, or a program like Qeepsake which sends you a question each day to answer and create a journal of memories. I hope this post encourages you to have fun capturing memories of the hectic but wonderful time when your children are small and growing and changing rapidly. I would love to hear your ideas in the comments for how you record those memories and mementos.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies!

Make meal planning easier with done-for-you meal plans and a variety of recipes that will keep your menu full for years with the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle. Get recipes for every type of eating style for $37 during this 6-day sale!

Exciting news from All About Learning Press this week! They are coming out with a full color edition of levels 1-4 All About Reading and to celebrate they are hosting a $1,000 giveaway! We use All About Spelling and are hoping to use All About Reading next year with my son who will be in Kindergarten.

My Snowman Paul is Free on Kindle and many others in the series are less than $1.

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Are you looking for a free Bible study that your whole family can enjoy? The Proverbial Homemaker is offering up a study of James that is FREE for a limited time.

Join the FREE Get Active Inside Challenge!

Over the course of 5 days, we’ll discover ways to allow physical activities indoors, get your child’s energy out when it’s too ❆ cold ❆ to go outside & keep your kids busy so they’re not bored and asking for cartoons.

 

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Take a Child Outside Week!

 

The week of September 24-30 is “Take A Child Outside Week”.  There are many studies and books that show the benefits of children (and adults) spending time outside in nature. Honestly, it is the anecdotal evidence that I see in my own family that has me convinced that time outside is one of the most beneficial activities that we can offer our children. While I certainly do not advocate only going outside during this week, I think this is a great chance for us to get excited and create a habit of taking our children outside.

This time outside can be structured with a nature walk or study, fishing, kayaking or it could simply be free time for them to explore outside. You could go into your own backyard, a local park or check out a state or national park near your area. There are so many options for going outside with your children. If you need some help coming up with activities you can check out this great list.

Our family loves to hike together. Sometimes it is a simple local trail and other times we travel to the mountains or another area to see a variety of locations. When we hike we have the opportunity to see wildlife, plants, and scenic views that are amazing. We can clear our minds from the busyness of life, spend quality time together, and get some great physical exercise all at the same time. There is minimal to no cost depending on where you are going. You simply need a good pair of shoes (your sneakers will work just fine), a water bottle, and a place to hike. Many areas have free hiking trails available. If you want to add a bit of nature education on your hike an inexpensive field guide can be a great tool for helping you identify plants or animals that you see on your hike.

Kayaking is an activity that takes more equipment but it is lots of fun and great exercise. We own our kayaks and enjoy paddling around in the river and seeing all of the birds and even the occasional dolphin. I was out on a kayaking ‘date’ with my husband this summer and we were blessed to have the dolphins start swimming and playing near us. It was amazing to see them so close. If you don’t’ own kayaks do not feel like you have to go out and purchase hundreds of dollars worth of equipment to give it a try. Many parks or beach shops have kayaks that you can rent for a few hours to give it a try. If you have younger children you may want to try a tandem so that they can ride with you.

We love the beach. It is truly our ‘happy place’. I enjoy hearing the waves and feeling the sand between my toes. My children love to walk along the beach and collect treasures, fish, shrimp, bird watch, look for animals in the tide pools, and just explore all that the water has to offer. They spend hours swimming and playing and just enjoying the great outdoors.

Playing outdoors does not even have to mean going away from home. You can go outside in your own back yard and explore. You can do activities in small areas like a ‘micro’ nature study where you choose a small area (like a one-foot square) an study it closely looking at any plants, animals (insects), that are in that area. Even just walking and looking to see what you can find or maybe playing games that utilize the imagination. My children have this old fallen down tree that they love to use for imaginative play. Over the years that tree has been a fort, a ship, a pirate ship,the ‘poles’ of a tent and such much more.

No matter where you live or what your favorite outdoor hobby is, I hope that you take some time this week. If you do not have a favorite outdoor activity, pick something new to try. Spending time outdoors has numerous benefits but even if it did not have all of those extra benefits it is fun and enjoyable. Share with us in the comments what you can do this week to “Take a Child Outside”.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies!

The World of Peter Rabbit and His Friends Only .99 on Kindle! We love Beatrix Potter’s stories and this one includes her original illustrations.

Sunny Under the Sea  Free (always double check because Amazon changes prices regularly!)

Wind in the Willows on Audio for only $2.95

Alice in Wonderland on Audible for less than $1!!

FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

FREE Fantasy and Fairytales StoryBuilders from Write Shop!

You threw off my groove!

Getting back into the groove…maybe…perhaps…by next week? Any other home schoolers who took a Spring Break feelin’ this? Ugh. Slow as molasses starting today, and each subject for the little girlie was backwards. Just so you know, homeschooling life is not perfect, even for those who have been doing it in excess of a decade.

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Love her.

Today, we forgot what direction our numbers go in. Today in handwriting, we decided to make up our own cursive letters…in orange marker. Today, we were helpless in all ways in navigating on the computer. Today in grammar, the knowledge that any such thing as “opposites” might exist mysteriously vaporized. Today, in an assessment, we felt the need to become a mime, and do all answers without words…except when we needed to ask when we would be done. Today, we ran around the house like a banshee, in our continuing role as “Sooper Katherine”, providing profuse narrative for every action, thought, gesture, and facial expression.

I ask for prayer in our schooling, and people just don’t seem to get that I’m serious. They see these snippets of this spirited, clever little girl, and think it is entertaining, engaging. They have never tried to teach her.

So, no…things aren’t perfect. We had more to do, but we’re done, because I’m done. Any more effort to persevere I think will cause brain cells to selectively begin to wave their little white flags…for both of us. The synapses are twitching.

And no, I’d never consider sending her to school. She’d never be able to be herself there…it is simply too time consuming for a group setting. Secondly, she’d end up being sent home as a disciplinary problem more often than not, so why not just keep her here in the first place? 😉  Third, I can give her patience (most days) and the scriptural instruction that she needs to hone all of this quirkiness into the woman God wants her to be one day. They’re not allowed to do that at school.

School is not about getting done. It’s about getting US done. Not just the students, but the Mom, too.

Katie’s orange handwriting page today said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”  We are learning Psalm 23 by memory now that she’s done with her A to Z verses. I shall not want. He has all the grace, patience, creativity, ingenuity, organizational skills, ability to interpret and discern, prioritize and triage…He has all I need.

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isa. 40:28-31

I’m getting my ducks in a row for tomorrow. I want to remember to ask Him for all I need. I dare not do this on my own. The Mom, with God’s grace, will prevail!

 

 

The Old Chalkdust Trail–Writing Challenges

I don’t really feel motivated at this point in my life to begin another blog, but with starting up the “Schoolin’ Swag“* Facebook page, the creative educational juices have been flowing.  So, for now, I’ll post a few things in the category, “The Old Chalkdust Trail”. 🙂

Today, I want to share something that I have begun trying with our son, Michael.  Michael has some reading disability issues, and some ways that it translates into his writing (with backwards b, p, d, q, 2, 5, 6,9).  He has hated writing.  It requires an incredible amount of focus for him.

About a year ago, I noticed that Michael liked reading a whole lot better when it was “compartmentalized”…like in a comic book format.  I checked out all kinds of comic books from the library (he really loved Missile Mouse, so we bought him a couple for Christmas).  Then, just recently, I began wondering if the same thing might help his writing.

Michael is very creative in his story-making skills.  Here is an excerpt from a how-to essay he put together a couple months ago, entitled, “How to Make a Galactic Grilled Cheese”:

It’s lunch time, space cadet. You are hungry.  You can’t even boil water!  How will you make lunch?  Oh no!  I am here to save the day!  I am Grilled Cheese Man!

Your first mission is to retrieve cyber bread and space butter.  Your second mission is to find a flying frying pan.  Of course, your prime target is moon cheese.

Here are the steps to deploy your galactic grilled cheese sandwich:

First, energize your flying frying pan.  Setting number 6.

Second, get the cyber bread and space butter out.  Install space butter on one side of one piece of cyber bread.  Then put the cyber bread on the flying frying pan, space butter side facing south.

Third, put two pieces of moon cheese on the cyber bread that is on the flying frying pan.

Fourth, take another piece of cyber bread, put space butter on one side, and put it on top of the moon cheese that is melting in the flying frying pan.  Confirm that space butter side is facing north.

Fifth, take space dispatula and rotate entire sandwich continuously until it turns solar golden on both north and south surfaces.

Last, remove galactic sandwich with dispatula, place on food saucer and wait for de-heatification.  Then dispose through your food portal.

Clever thinking isn’t the problem…it is the execution (and believe me, he feels it in the truest sense of that word) of writing it down.  I have found that he does better when he skips the handwritten draft and sits down at the keyboard.  It sort of bypasses the vortex machine in his brain and, because he knows the keyboard by rote, it flows a whole lot more smoothly this way for him.  However, I don’t want him to bail totally on the actual pencil-in-hand process.  So…

This semester I asked Michael if he’d like to try making his own comic strip.  He jumped at it, and I was overjoyed!  He began with very simple ones.  Here is a cute sample:

I make him do them in pencil, so we can edit and learn grammar/spelling.  This has been a great project.  Perhaps, if you are encountering some similar challenges, it may be something you’d like to try as well!  We are gradually getting longer installments of this project.  He is saving them all in a notebook.  He excitedly tells his siblings about his creations…so I think we’re on the right track!  I thank the Lord for opening my eyes to this opportunity to help my son succeed. Grace.

*If you are on Facebook, join the “Schoolin’ Swag” page…lots of freebies and resources and helpful chat!  Over 100 links so far! It’s an open group, just click on the linked words. 🙂

Homeschool Freebies–Keep Your Kids Busy With Good, Clean Summer Fun!

Some great freebies this week from Homeschoolfreebieoftheday! On Monday and Tuesday we have:

The American Boy’s Handy Book: PART ONE (PDF ebook)

Part One of this wonderful, classic collection of projects from yesteryear for adventurous boys (and girls) to make and do all year long. Just a few are: building kites, unique ways to fish, building an aquarium, knots, water telescopes, boat building, wooden toys, hunting, even taxidermy! Fully illustrated.

This seems along the same lines as one of my son’s favorites from the library, “The Dangerous Book for Boys.”  Looking forward to checking this out, with summer approaching quickly!

And on Wednesday and Thursday…

The American GIRL’S Handy Book: PART ONE (PDF ebook)

In this great companion book to the Boys book, subtitled How to Amuse Yourself & Others”, we again have a huge collection of a bit more genteel projects, activities and fun stuff for girls (and boys) to make and enjoy. Includes: finding & preserving wildflowers, corn husk & flower dollmaking, and much more! Fully illustrated, A true classic glimpse of childhood in days gone by.

Thursday’s installment includes

nature art projects, parties for all seasons, games, plaster casting, home gymnastics, needlework, candymaking, holiday amusements, and lots more fun stuff from yesteryear.

Not quite “The Daring Book for Girls,” (which my 13 yo has enjoyed) but still sounds like fun!

Click here to join the list (free of course) so you can receive notifications of great stuff like this via email.  There’s more, but I’m not gonna tell ya what it is…go take a peek for yourself!