Friday, May 25, 2012

How was Cohen’s last day of Prek3?


We finished our homeschooling a few weeks ago, but last week was Cohen’s final day of Wee Care. It was a very exciting day.

Here’s a quick look back…

September 2011


May 2012

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My boy has really grown up a lot over the past few months!

I got Cohen to stand still long enough for me to get his picture with his teachers.

Mrs. Sissy… (not sure what is up with Cohen’s chipmunk face, and that other adorable kid in the picture with him, but it works).

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And Mrs. Kodi… (sorry for the fuzziness)

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For their last day, the school celebrated with a Water Day!



They also gave the kids snowballs.

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Here is a picture of Cohen and his best friend Jonah. These boys are a mess when they get together!

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After school, Jace picked up Cohen and the boys went out for ice cream.

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It was a great day. I’m sad to see the school year end, but I’m super excited to spend my summer with this wonderful little boy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

How was your Mothers Day?

A little overwhelming. I have such a wonderful little family. These boys spoil me!

Church was a refreshing place to be on Mothers Day, but I certainly remember the Mothers Days in the past where I wanted to be so far away from everyone. Hidden in my house, sulking, depressed, aggravated and feeling mighty lonely. Looking back, that was an incredible selfish way to act.

This Mothers Day I had other emotions. I had never really thought much about Mothers Day being sad, until we were trying to get pregnant. Then it became the most miserable day of the year. Now, looking back, I realized that I was not the only one sad and alone on those Mothers Days. My son was too (and lots of other babies waiting for a mom and dad to love them).

See, he was 16 months when we met him, which means for his first and only Mothers Day he spent it with no Mom. It breaks my heart to think that he had no one to serve breakfast in bed, no one to share chocolate chip cookies with, and no one to kiss him and tell him that he is loved.

As many of you know, Jace and are trying to adopt again. It’s going to be a much slower process this time. On this Mothers Day, I imagined another baby, one that is meant for us, spending his/her Mothers Day all alone. It breaks my heart.

Today, I’m speaking out on behalf of all those babies, waiting. Moms, I hope that you enjoyed your day of pampering and gifts and spoiling, I know I did. I also hope that you took a minute to think of those without. I have no doubt that God has a plan for each and every one of these precious little lives. Our prayers should be that they find a forever family. But for many, that just doesn’t happen. Say a prayer for those children, that someone, somewhere shows them the love of God. The love of a Father who will never leave, One who loves them unconditionally, and desires them as His child.

John 14:18
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.


Also, take time today to teach your own child about the amazing gift of Everlasting Life that our heavenly Father has promised each one of us. Our time on this Earth may be very challenging. God never promised it would be easy, in fact, the Bible actually tells us quite the opposite. What greater gift could a mother give her child, than the gift of the knowledge of Christ.

Looking back on Cohen’s first Mother’s Day in May 2009, he probably didn’t really know he was missing anything. I mean, he was like 11 months old at the time. He was content. He didn’t know any different, and I think that’s what breaks my heart. There are lots of kids out there who are content in not knowing any different. We must be careful that in our own contentment (or lack thereof), that we do not loose sight of the great plan God has for our lives and the lives of all His children.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

I know that God has not called everyone to adopt a child and welcome them with open arms into a forever family, but He has asked that we care for the “fatherless.”

Isaiah 1:17
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

For more information on how you can help I’d encourage you to visit Show Hope. They have loads of resources on their site for how to support an orphan, how to donate money to assist with adoption costs, how to start an adoption fund at your church, and where to go to start your own adoption process.


Now, pray for those babies!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

How did you make that cute magnet board?

I wanted to give you some instructions on how to make the magnet board. I’d love for you to purchase one of mine, but I know all my readers love doing crafts, so I’m going to share this fun project.

Materials Needed:
12” Pizza Pan (I got mine from Wal-Mart)
Scrapbook paper
Spray Adhesive (I use 3M General Purpose 45)
Mod Podge

Use your pizza tray as a guide and cut out a circle of scrapbook paper to fit in the middle of the tray. I wanted mine to be close to perfect, so I pulled out a compass, measured the radius, drew a circle on the back of an ugly piece of scrapbook paper and used that as my stencil or guide for cutting the pretty paper.

Once you get the paper cut, spray the back of the paper (don’t spray the pizza pan…just the paper) with the spray adhesive. Stick it to the pizza pan. With the 3M stuff, I was able to move it around a bit if I placed it wrong at first.

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Now, you could easily leave them just like that…and move on to cutting a hole in it, but I wanted mine to be protected and a little more durable, so I covered it in Mod Podge.

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I used a sponge brush to spread it out. I find that if you use a BIG sponge brush it works best and you don’t get little globs of Mod Podge left behind. Also, once you are done spreading it, get a scraper (like those little things you get with your Pampered Chef Stoneware baker) and spread out the paper. Even though you sprayed the paper to the pan, it can wrinkle in places. Smooth it out with your scraper.

The mod podge dries clear, but creates a protective coat so that the paper doesn’t tear or get messed up by moving around the magnets later.

After you let that dry for a long time, you will want to drill a hole in the top for  your ribbon. I used my Dremel tool for drilling, but you could also use your drill. Make sure to wear protective glasses because those tiny pieces of metal could accidentally land in your eye. That would not be good.

After you cut the hole, check to make sure that it is not dangerously sharp. When I used my drill, it created a sharp edge. I found that when I used the Dremel, it did not. If it creates a sharp edge, use some sandpaper and sand it down a bit.

And there you have it…a cute magnet board!

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I am selling a few of these in my Etsy shop, so go on over and take a look. I’d also be happy to make something custom just for you, if you are interested. Just e-mail me at eraney03@gmail.com and let me know what you need.

Friday, May 4, 2012

What do you do when you have more than 1 child at your house?


Keeping kids in your home banner

 

In the last post, about the letter V, I shared some fun times Cohen and I had with some of our good friends. In this post, I want to share with you some of my tips for keeping more than one child at your house (may also be some good tips for folks with more than one child all the time).

Disclaimer: I’m not an expert. I’m only a mommy. I have just one child. My only qualification is that I’ve done this before and this is what works for me.

I’m going to start with this great picture of Cohen and his friends Victoria and Katelyn.

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Keeping 3 or 5 children in your home is not difficult. There are times when it is more challenging than others, but it’s not difficult. You do need rules, and you must stick by them. I love this picture, because my rule is when I’m fixing lunch, no one can be in the kitchen. (Lots of reasons for this rule…but mostly because all the kids do when I’m cooking is beg for food…gets a little annoying after a few minutes). In this picture, all the kids are politely sitting right outside of the kitchen waiting for their food to be ready. This is not a rule I typically have when it’s just me and Cohen, but when there are more than just 1, it’s a must!
Some other rules you may consider when keeping more than one kid (especially if you are used to having just one all the time)…


 

Drinks are only allowed in the kitchen, and must be kept on the table.

I can’t stand to have my child walk around with a drink cup! I don’t allow him to do it, so I don’t allow the others to do it. They learn this one really quick and I didn’t have any problems with any of them. The younger kids need reminding often. I find that if I wait for them to set the cup down and go put it back on the table myself, they never remember. What I do instead is ask the child with the cup to please go put it back on the table and remember to keep drinks in the kitchen, then they remember next time.

 

Eat what is on your plate, and do not share food.

Cohen would eat everyone's food if they let him. Some of the kids are allergic to things. It’s important that we teach them when they are little not to share food or drinks. This is a rule that Jace and I try to observe everyday (at home or restaurants). When we eat dinner at home or at a restaurant, Cohen has his own plate and his own chair. He must stay in that chair and eat off of his own plate. He is not supposed to request food from other people’s plates. If he doesn’t like what he ordered or what I’ve cooked, too bad. You will not take someone else’s food.

Snacks are at a specific time, and not just whenever you get hungry.
My child doesn’t usually get snacks. I find that he doesn’t eat his lunch as well if I offer him snacks earlier in the day. Also, he wakes up at 8, has breakfast at 8:30 and lunch is usually served at 11:30. No time for snacks! When I’m keeping other kids, I know they are used to eating a snack, so I offer it to them around 9:30-10:00. Once snack time is over, the food is put away and there is nothing else to eat until lunch.
When Cohen came home from Russia, we had some problems with him overeating and hoarding food. It was easier for us to deal with this by giving him specific eating time. I do not allow Cohen to go to the fridge and pull out whatever he wants and eat it whenever he wants. Same rule goes for the other kids. The kitchen will not have a steady flow of traffic all day because kids are eating crackers, gummy snacks, or fruit whenever they want. It may seem cruel to tell a hungry child “no” but it’s best. I know that whatever they have for lunch or whatever their parents serve them for dinner will be better than the gummy snacks they want right then.

You must stay at the table and in your own chair until everyone is done eating, or until you have been excused by an adult.
I find that if you give kids the right to get up and wonder around, they won’t eat. If I force all the kids to sit and wait until everyone is done, they encourage each other to eat. Once I see that they are done eating, I may dismiss them one at a time to pickup their mess, wash their faces, etc.
Jace and I have this same rule for restaurants. I must say, since we have implemented this rule and we stick by it, our dining out experiences with our 3 year old are WONDERFUL! I really love going out to eat with him. He knows that no matter what, he cannot get up from his chair and he cannot leave the table. He’s also not allowed to sit in someone’s lap while he eats. How am I supposed to eat if I have a kid in my lap?

Everyone must clean up their own mess.
After everyone is done eating, EVERYONE is required to take their plates, cups, trash, etc. to the garbage or sink. I make Cohen do this after every meal. I think it’s a great way for him to contribute to cleaning up, since he can’t really wash dishes or load the dishwasher. I have also found that if I make Cohen clean up his mess, he’s less likely to make a huge mess when he eats. For example, we went through a phase where all he wanted was pudding. I love pudding, and it’s sugar free! He was having major problems getting the pudding from the cup into his mouth. It was all over the table, chairs, floor, and his clothes. After he had to clean up that mess a few times, I noticed that he was being a little more cautious and eating it slower and taking smaller bites.

During naptime, everyone will be quiet and stay on their mat.
Our bedtime/naptime routine is simple. When the door is closed, you are to be in your bed and quiet. When we have friends over, that is no different. The only difference is that if there are lots of kids and they don’t all usually take naps, I may play a movie and let the kids nap in the playroom. Everyone has their own mat, blanket, and pillow. Everyone must stay very quiet and they cannot get off of the mat.
I do this because out of a group of 5 kids, there is bound to be one that wants/needs a nap. If all the other kids are moving around and making noise, that one will not be able to sleep. It’s inconsiderate and I don’t allow it.
The only child that seemed to have a problem with this was mine. I simply moved his mat to the other room, and he was no longer allowed to watch the movie. Simple fix. And by doing that, he actually went to sleep and was much happier later that day. Worked out great for everyone!

I decide when naptime is over.
Just because you wake up from your rest, or the movie is over does not mean that naptime is over. I require that Cohen stay in his room, in his bed, for at least 1.5 hours. That means if he chooses not to go to sleep, he still sits there for all that time and rests. This same rule goes for naptime when friends are over at our house. All children need some down time, and this is a nice way to give it to them. Their little brains and body’s need to rest! It’s also a great time for me to rest as well. I don’t take naps, but when Cohen is napping, I usually sit down and eat my lunch, read a non-children book/magazine/blog, write, or watch a tv show (yep…I watch TV while my kid naps!). I’m writing this blog right now while Cohen is in his room “napping.”


You can say “Emily, that’s too many rules,” if you wish. I don’t think it is. When your child is at preschool, do you think the teacher isn’t observing these same rules, and then some? Why do we treat our kids so differently when they are with us? Why do we choose to undo what the teachers have tried to do all day? Isn’t it easier to have a few rules so that you can have a great day with 1 or 5 kids? Also, I stay with my child all day, everyday. If he’s unruly, out of control, inconsiderate, and disrespectful, that makes my day miserable and makes me not want to be around him. I setup these rules so that Cohen and I can have a pleasant day together and keep making happy memories.


I’m also under the impression that if we teach them rules like this when they are little, then I’m not going to be teaching my children simple table manners at 16. When my child is 16 I’m fairly certain that there will be a whole new set of life lessons I will be teaching him.


Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
-Proverbs 22:6

 

Do you have some tips you’d like to offer me and other moms?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What starts with the letter V?


The week we learned about V was a very special week for us. One of our school days, Cohen had 4 of his friends come to play. It is spring break for lots of schools around here, so these fun kids decided to spend the day with us: The Pourciau girls, Stella (4) and Cille (1.5), and the Courville girls, Victoria (almost 8) and Katelyn (5).

We started off learning about vegetables. I thought it would be fun to have the kids do a little painting with vegetables. I’m pretty crazy, I know, to have 5 kids ranging in ages from 1.5-7 painting on the kitchen floor, but I’ve yet to make a mess that I was not able to clean up later. So, we had some fun with it!

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On a fun day with friends, there are no worksheets, and we didn’t sit for hours reading books. I think it’s important to allow my son to have some play time when his friends are here. We will have plenty of days for reading lengthy books and doing worksheets.

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After playing for a long time outside, everyone was ready for lunch and a movie. Some of these great kids even fell asleep!

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As if that day wasn’t enough fun, we stretched our our fun with friends later that week. Victoria and Katelyn came back to play and we had even more fun with Vegetables.

We learned about how it is important to wash our vegetables when we get them from the garden, farmers market, or grocery store. Everyone got a chance to wash some of my yummy veggies! Now if only I could find a way to get these kids to eat them.

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That afternoon, we went to the library. All the kids got a chance to play some games on the computers.

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Stay tuned…tomorrow I’m going to share some tips on how to handle a houseful of kids!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What starts with the letter U?



We started off learning about the letter “U” by learning under (and reviewing other placement words, and following multi-step directions). Here is Cohen and all his animals playing “Mommy Says.” Its and easy game…you just simply say “mommy says ‘put Hugsy on top of the table.’”



We did over, under, above, on top, below, bottom, beside, next to, left, right, and lots lots more! Cohen did great considering we haven’t really had a formal “lesson” on these items. I firmly believe that this is one of those things kids pick up while they are just doing life with their parents. We go over these at the grocery store, park, library, etc. It was a fun game and super easy for Cohen. (And you can see that Ella enjoyed watching as well).



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Cohen is getting much better at putting together pictures. I remember the first one we did a few months back…it was ugly and there was lots of whining and complaining.



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Color by number.



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The last thing we did was draw some letters in shaving cream. This is so much fun!



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If you are interested in the pintables we used for the letter U, please visit Confessions of a Homeschooler.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What begins with the letter T?


This week was supposed to be our last week of official homeschooling, but that just didn’t happen. Cohen and I just played too much. I’m not really set to much of a schedule this year anyway, because let’s face it, the beauty if doing this at home is you can have whatever schedule you want, AND HE’S 3! Nothing goes according to plan with a 3 year old. Maybe we will finish next week.

Anyway, all that to say, I’m pretty far behind with my posts. Here are a few things that we did for the letter T.

We sorted turtle pictures, largest to smallest.

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We found different types of Transportation.

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We matched the workers with their mode of transportation.


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This was a really fun lesson. If you would like to get a copy for yourself and your kids, head over to Miss Kindergarten or go to my pinterest Homeschooling Board.

I found some really cute little transportation themed foam stickers at the dollar store. I drew a road and railroad on a piece of paper and told Cohen to stick the stickers where they should go. It turned out really cute!

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Learning the letter T was a lot of fun!