Monday, 9 March 2015

20 Ways to Pamper Yourself without Leaving the House

 With four little ones that have a 6th sense that tells them when I'm trying to relax, me time can be hard to come by, It's not always practical, or even possible, for me to get out of the house.  By the time bed time rolls around, I'm usually too tired to go out.  However, I know that taking care of myself makes it easier to take care of my family so I make a compromise.  I pamper myself without leaving the house!

Here's a list of 20 ways that you can pamper yourself without ever leaving the house.  Which means you can do it without every changing out of your pj pants! YAY!

1. Take a nap.  (this is my favourite me time activity).
2. Give yourself a manicure.
3. Read a good book.
4. Have a hot bubble bath.
5. Make and eat eggless cookie dough.
6. mean watch an episode or two...of your favourite show on Netflix.
7. Have a glass of wine.
8. Knit, crochet, sew or do whatever hobby you enjoy. 
9. Play solitaire (or another one person game). 
10. Do a puzzle.
11. Online shopping! 
12. Give yourself a facial.
13.  Throw a dance party for one!
14. Do some journalling.
15. Listen to your favourite music.
16. Paint or draw. 
17. Do some light exercise or stretching.
18. Spend time in prayer and meditation.
19. Call a friend and have a good, long (uninterrupted) chat.
20. Write a letter. 

How about you?  What is your favourite way to pamper yourself?

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

St. Patrick's Day Craft: Salt Dough Necklace

I have three girls.  They love all things princess.  Sparkles. Frilly Dresses.  Pink.  Jewellery.  Especially jewellery.  This week we tried our hand at making our own beads!  Naturally, I needed to use these for my love of seasonal crafts...and Salt Dough St. Patrick's Day Necklaces were born!
St. Patrick's Day Craft: Salt Dough Necklaces
Salt dough is super easy and inexpensive to make. 
1 cup of salt
2 cups of flour
1 cup of water

You can let your kids eat it if they're inclined...but they'll quickly learn that it is gross.  I was hoping this would discourage R from eating play dough all the time but nope.
To make the beads, roll the salt dough into small balls and poke a hole in the middle (we used a knitting needle). 
To make the shamrocks, roll out three little balls. And place them as in the picture below. 
Squish them together and add a little stem.  Poke a whole in the top just like you did with your beads. 

Put your salt dough creations on a baking sheet and bake them at 200 degrees for 1.5-2 hours.  I pulled mine out every 20 minutes to flip them and re-poke the holes since the dough spreads a little bit as it bakes.  

Once they're baked and cooled you can go ahead and paint!

Once the paint has dried (leave it over night so it is really dry) you can put them on a string and enjoy your fancy new necklace!

Where I share: Mom's Library, The Mommy Club

Monday, 2 March 2015

Real Life Learning: Teach Your Kids While Getting Stuff Done

It can be hard to find balance when you're a homeschooler.  You have to teach your children.  You've also got meals to cook and a house to care for along with whichever other tasks you have to complete.  It can often feel like more than a few full time jobs!  Luckily for us homeschoolers, you can combine those things that you need to get done with your kids' education.

Giving kids real life situations in which they can learn is not only more interesting but also more effective.  Real life gives us a ton of teaching opportunities if you stop to think about it.  And if you can get your house cleaned and errands completed all while teaching your kids math and geography?  Well, I am going to call that a win!

Here are some of my favourite "to do" list items that we regularly use to teach:

Grocery Shopping
Yes, I am the crazy lady who brings all of her kids to the grocery store (it's actually getting to the point where I need a second cart.  One for food, one for my little people).  My kids love coming with me and I love seeing those math skills in action.  

The grocery store is ripe with opportunities to practice math!  If 1 pound of beef costs $4, how much will 5 pounds cost?  How many apples do we need if all six of us will eat 3 apples this week?  My preschoolers love to help me count the pears as we drop them in the bag.  And let's not forget the financial aspect.  Another great opportunity for math practice AND you can teach your kids about budgeting and financial responsibility!  

If you want to take it a step further, check out these awesome printables that you can take with you:

Cooking and Baking (and, obviously, eating!)


Most kids love to help in the kitchen.  Even if they don't love the cooking part, I'm betting they love the eating!  
Cooking and baking are another great opportunity to teach math.  Measuring ingredients, doubling recipes,  figuring out how to evenly divide up portions among the family.  And of course, the classic learning fractions by cutting up a pie!
Baking is also a great science lesson.  You and your kids can learn about how different ingredients react with others, like how baking soda vs. baking powder affect your cookies.  
This post shares some great ideas for how to teach math and reading through baking.
Building Language in the Kitchen if you're looking for some inspiration!


I am not a very good gardener but I try!  Two years ago we successfully grew 23 2 inch long carrots!  Even though our garden wasn't super successful my kids learned a ton in all that time we spent out there.  They developed a fascination with worms and wanted to know everything about them.  We learned about weather patterns as we eagerly waited for rain and why the sun doesn't stay in the same place in the sky.  They learned about the life cycle of a plant and how to make healthy soil.  There's a ton more but this paragraph is getting long...
Honestly, of all the things that we can do with our kids, I think that gardening is one of the best.  Nature is one of the best teachers!
Here are some great resources for gardening with kids:
Your everyday life is full of teaching opportunities if you're willing to let your kids to work a long side of you.  There are so many things that they can learn and skills that they can develop and they'll enjoy spending quality time with you and contributing to the running of their home.  

What to do list items do you use to teach your kids?

Friday, 27 February 2015

Handwork for Kids: Dyeing Wool with Kool Aid

After making our own knitting needles a few months ago, I knew that B would need some extra special wool for her first knitting project.  I decided the best kind would be the kind she made herself!  We aren't quite ready to start spinning our own so I settled with dyeing.

  Dyeing wool with Kool Aid is a great project for kids and grown ups.  We really enjoyed playing with colours and I'm certain there are many more skeins to be dyed in our future. 

Handwork for Kids: Dyeing Wool with Kool Aid

What You'll Need
  • wool (make sure it is 100% natural fibres...we choose wool.  Acrylic will not work.)
  • Kool Aid in colours of your choice
  • a garbage bag or table cloth to protect your work surface
  • spray bottle (s)
Start by undoing your skein so it's wrapped in a large loop.  Tie sections off so that it won't get all tangled up.  We also used these ties to mark where we were going to change colours.  

Clean the wool with a mild soap or wool wash.  Make sure to use water that isn't too hot or cold and to be very don't want your wool to felt! 

Leave the wool to soak in clean water.

Mix your Kool Aid and water in a spray bottle (don't add sugar!).  How much water will depend on how bright you want your colours.  Less= more vibrant colour.  

Gently squeeze out your wool and place it on your work surface.

Start spraying the wool with your Kool Aid.  Try to get the wool fully saturated.  You may have to turn the skein and/ or pull apart the strands a little to get the Kool Aid everywhere.  

Once you've finished with the Kool Aid, put the wool in a microwave safe dish and microwave it for 2 minutes to set the colours.

Once it has cooled, rinse the wool in water (remember, the water shouldn't be too hot or too cold) until the water runs clear.

Hang to dry. 

Roll up your wool.

Now grab your home made knitting needles and knit something awesome!

Where I Share:PintorialsGood Tips Tuesday

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Easy St. Patrick's Day Craft: Paper Roll Leprechauns

 We have been very interested in leprechauns, especially since we heard that they know where to find a huge pot of gold!  Our leprechaun traps haven't been very successful so we've decided to make our own instead.   You can make your very own easy paper roll leprechaun too!

Easy St. Patrick's Day Craft

What You Need:

  • toilet paper roll (we painted ours but that's not absolutely necessary)
  • green and black construction paper
  • yellow buttons
  • orange wool roving
  • glue
  • scissors

I did the paper cutting ahead of time to make things easier.  You'll need two green rectangles that are wide enough to wrap around the toilet paper roll (leave a little extra for gluing) and high enough to cover roughly half of the tube.  Our rectangles were approximately 2 x 6 inches.  You'll also need two black rectangles of the same width but they should only be about half an inch in height.

For the brim of the hat, I traced around the circumference of the tube then drew a larger circle around that.  Cut out the circle and the inner circle, leaving a donut shaped piece. 

Now the kids can start!

Have them glue some roving around the top of the tube to create hair.  Make sure to leave a little bit of free space at the top for gluing the hat on.

 Have them cover one green rectangle in glue and wrap it around the bottom half of the tube to make the leprechaun's suit.  They can glue one black rectangle to the middle for his belt and add a yellow button belt buckle.

Next they should put glue along one edge of a green rectangle and wrap it around the top of the tube, just above the hair.  They can add the black band and yellow button just as they did before.  Next they can slip the green circle over top of the hat to create the brim.

Now you can add his face!  We chose to use googly eyes and draw on the mouth.

And there you go!  Your very own leprechaun!  Hopefully he can lead you to that pot of gold.  ;)

Where I Share: PintorialsGood Tips Tuesday, Mom's Library, The Mommy Club

Monday, 23 February 2015

DIY Homeschool Supplies to Save You Money!

Homeschooling can be really expensive.  We're also a single income family so money can be pretty tight sometimes.  Over the years I've learned a few tricks for making our pennies last.

  My favourite is making things myself.  I loooove the whole DIY movement and with Pinterest, the ideas are endless.  I've pulled together some of my favourite money-saving, homeschool related DIY projects to help YOU save some money!

How to Make Glitter Paint from Simple Fun for Kids
Homemade Self- Hardening Clay from Redfly Creations
Homemade Stamp Pads from Paging Fun Mums
Homemade Glue from Paging Fun Mums
Easy Homemade Water Colours from Growing a Jeweled Rose

DIY Rustic Art Display Hanger from Making It In the Mountains
Pringles Can Turned Paint Brush Holder from Mod Podge Rocks
How to Make a DIY Supply Board from Should I Be Mopping the Floor
DIY File Folder Box from Mothering with Creativity
Goodwill Mirror to Chalkboard Tutorial from Our Southern Home
How to Make a Homemade Globe from Bright Hub Education
Make Your Own Whiteboard from Modern Mrs. Darcy
DIY Bulletin Board from Fun Cheap or Free

DIY Wooden Base Ten Blocks from And Next Comes L
DIY: Number cards, hundred squares, teens and tens from Walk Beside Me
DIY Skip Counting Boards from Classical Conversations at Home
Make Your Own Abacus from

Toddler Fine Motor with Objects Around the Home from Pink Oatmeal
Homemade Light Table from Learn Create Love
The $30, 30-Minute, Do-It-Yourself Sensory Table from A Teaching Mommy
Feed the Alphabet Monster Game from I Can Teach My Child
DIY Salt Tray and Alphabet Cards from This Mummas Life

What projects would you add to the list?

Monday, 16 February 2015

Encouraging Your Kids' Interests in a Large Family

One of the reasons that I chose to homeschool was because I wanted to be able to tailor my child's learning to their own interests and learning styles.  Of course, back then there were only two children and one of them was an infant whose only interest was seeing how long his mother could go without sleep before she totally lost it.  Fast forward a few years....we've got a couple more kids (and the answer is three.  Three days with no sleep and I start to snap.) and they all have different interests.  I still want to provide them with an education that a good fit for their individual personalities but it's hard to do that with three (and counting) very different personalities. 

So while my family with four children isn't really that big and they are still young, I have discovered some ways to follow all of their interests without going insane. 

Involve the Whole Family in Individual Interests
My oldest daughter wants to open a bakery when she grows up so I've made it a priority to bake with her once a week.  While my younger ones do not want to be bakers, they do enjoy helping their big sister make cookies (and they love being taste testers even more).  She loves to teach them the things that she's learned about baking and I think that helps to reinforce the things she's learning.  All in all, involving all of the kids in one of their interests is good for everyone! 

Field trips are another great learning experience that you can involve the whole family in.

Use Read Alouds and Independant Reading Time
We love reading and usually have a few books on the go at any given time.  I try to make sure that one of our read aloud books is about a topic that one of the kids is interested in.  I rotate it so that each of them gets a chance to hear about something that they're interested in. 

We also make sure that when we get books at the library, the kids each choose a non-fiction book about something they'd like to learn about.  That way some of their independant reading time can be devoted to learning more about their chosen topic. 

Have Regular One-on-One Time
In our house every Tuesday night is date night with mommy.  The kids take turns staying up past bedtime to hang out with me.  This is a great time to tackle some hands on projects or do some more in depth research about something they're interested in.  Obviously I don't want to make date night to "schooly" so I try to keep it light and fun and to always follow their lead. 

For example, my son is very interested in dinosaurs right now so at our next date night we are going to watch a Walking with the Dinosaurs on Netflix (complete with special snacks) and then we might do a hands on fossil activity that I found on Pinterest. 

This has worked out really well for us because I am making sure I get quality, one on one time with each of my kids and we get to dive deeper into learning about something that they're really excited about!

When you combine all of these elements together, you can get a pretty well rounded education on whichever topic your child is passionate about.  Plus, you are exposing your other kids to something new AND you're getting quality time with your kids.  It's a win-win-win!

How do you ensure that you're teaching to your individual children's interests in a large family?

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