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Homeschooling: Without the Toddler or Baby Eating Crayons

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One question that I keep getting after people ask where Parker goes to school or what grade he is in and we respond by saying that he is homeschooled has been, "How do you do it with the little two at home?" I feel like this is actually a really good question. It was the first thing my hubby brought up when we discussed homeschooling. Honestly, at the time I didn't know how I would do it, but I knew that God was calling me to keep my boy home, so I came up with something to satisfy my husband. I would like to say that after a couple weeks... I feel like we will be okay!! I have not noticed any crayon eating, or paint eating... I haven't cried in the bathroom, or called my husband for back up! :) 



We have been settling into a good routine, and I feel like this has helped tremendously. We generally start breakfast and school at the same time with all three kiddos around the table eating, and me, reading. We start with prayer, recite our bible verse, story time, and read a little from our picture bible. Noah loves all of this and is very eager to listen. To transition away from breakfast we do a little "Rhyme in Motion" or "Fingerplay". This gets us up from the table to put away dishes and move around a bit. Noah is able to try and mimic the movements and has fun with it. 

After this we settle back down at the table while I start Parker on some things that he can do on his own. At this time I pull something out to keep Noah sitting at the table. So far it has been a puzzle of some sort. By now Aspen is ready to go down for a morning nap. I nurse her, lay her down and head back to the dining room table. 

Noah is most likely fed up with his puzzle and Parker finishes up his work to move on to drawing, coloring, or painting. This has been fun to work into our school work. I get to see Parker's imagination on paper, while he draws a "scene" from our story time or history lesson. Noah goes crazy with his project!!! :) I also have coloring or Do-A-Dot pages for Noah to do, that I will be using to introduce letters of the alphabet. He barely talks but has been pointing to letters all week saying "A". Hopefully it isn't a fluke and this next week he will be saying "B!". 

To give Parker a little independent break, I let him have free play for about 15-20 minutes while I sit down with Noah and a few board books. He has been into Lift-the-Flap books lately.


To kind of wrap up our "school" day, Parker comes back to do one-on-one work with me that requires more of my undivided attention. I like to pull out wooden building blocks or farm animals for Noah during this time to play on the floor with. It has been difficult to keep him on the floor and not the table, but it really helps Parker if he doesn't have his little brother, and toys, in his face when he is trying to concentrate. I may have been guilty of bribery a couple times in this situation... a snack works wonders. ;)

This brings us to lunch or Aspen waking up. We try to pick up our books and move on with our day.

So, I would say that we are doing pretty good so far! 

Blessings, XOXO
Dakota



Leggings aren't pants

Friday, August 5, 2016

Leggings aren't pants, and neither are shorts, or dresses, or skirts... yet the only debate here is whether ladies should be aloud to wear leggings without something covering their bum. I say it depends on the quality of leggings,  the whole outfit, your modesty, and just how comfortable you are in public ;)


I honestly love wearing leggings, they are so comfortable. Whether I am lounging around the house, in church, or running errands... I like my leggings, darn it. When buying leggings I will ALWAYS try them on... I need to make sure they aren't see through! Modesty will be your best friend when it comes to leggings ladies. Also, muffin top is a thing after three babies, so I like to make sure I don't have anything spilling over the sides... the struggle is real these days. Generally, I do like to make sure I wear tops that will at least cover the top portion of my bum, if not all. Tunic tops seem to be my "go to" when wearing leggings.

I have been eyeing all the printed leggings lately but never jumped on the trend due to either poor quality of leggings, or they were great quality but not in my budget. So... when my friend Lindsay reached out to me through Instagram, asking if I would like to try a pair of LuLaRoe leggings I was so excited!

I first found out about LuLaRoe through my friend Meagan, she had posted a photo of some VERY cute printed leggings and when I asked, she said they were from LuLaRoe! My search was on. I immediately Googled this brand, as I had never heard of it. My next step was searching Facebook and Instagram for a local consultant. FOUND ONE! This is where Lindsay comes in. I started following her through social media so that whenever I had enough money in the budget I would know where to go for cute leggings.

Evidently she thought I posted decent photos on my Insta account because she started following me as well, blushing here... :)  Anyways, when she asked me if she could send me a pair of leggings, I couldn't say no! I only got to choose size, and whether I want a solid color or print. I chose print of course. The sizes were "Tall & Curvy" or "One Size". I chose Tall & Curvy, you know, since I like to hide my muffin top and don't want to stretch them out so much that they end up being see through... I was very nervous that I never got to try them on, but I quickly got over that little issue.

When the pretty pink package arrived I was nervous to open them... I had said "print" but what if the print wasn't really my style?? As soon as I seen the pattern and the colors, I knew that Lindsay had put a little thought into what leggings to send me! Just my style!! They were wrapped in a cute little packaging (weakness of mine) and when I opened the bag to pull them out.. they felt DREAMY. So soft, and buttery feeling. I just rubbed them on my cheek for a moment... they are that soft friends. Like baby skin soft.When I finally got to try them on, I couldn't believe it. They are the single most comfortable thing that I own. If you thought leggings were comfy, you don't know what you're missing with LuLaRoe... buttery soft y'all...  The fit is also perfect for me. They sit right below my belly button, hiding the extra fluff. The top band is considerably wide, so I could also fold them down if I wasn't comfortable with them sitting so high. If you want to see what all LuLaRoe has to offer please check out Lindsays facebook page: LuLaRoe with Lindsay Hartsburg


I am excited to wear these all through the cooler...and colder months here in Nebraska. I also started my birthday list... I need a LuLaRoe skirt now too. It's coming up you know.. my birthday...hint, hint ;)

My cute little "Free in Christ" bracelet is a Plunder Designs piece that I purchased through my friend Meagan that I mentioned above. The necklace is also Plunder, and it happens to be my favorite piece of jewelry! Plunder has a fun vintage/glam look to their jewelry that I just adore!

Watch is Fossil I bought it about 4 years old, and shirt is thrifted.

Love you friends.
Blessings,
Dakota xoxo

What's on the Menu

Monday, August 1, 2016



I'll just put this out there... we eat like crap if I do not menu plan. Also, our budget gets shredded to pieces and thrown out the window if I do not menu plan. Lastly, I hate cooking meals when I do not menu plan. Moral of the story... I NEED to menu plan to keep our bellies, budget, and my attitude in check. :)

When there isn't a planned meal we end up eating cereal for breakfast, hot-dogs for lunch, and boxed pizza for supper... not literally every time, but most. I usually don't buy hot-dogs, or boxed pizza... so that means that I end up running to the store, yuck. I still can't get my hubby to kick his cereal habit so we always have Frosted Flakes... also yuck.

Our grocery budget isn't all that big, so extra trips to the store, or going out to eat, can really damage our budget. I try to keep our "household" budget around $100 per week. This includes things like toilet paper, supplies to make laundry detergent, our groceries, etc. During farmers market season I try to spend $30-$40 of our weekly budget at the market. We also get a CSA during the summer. That costs us $300 up front and lasts 20 weeks from May - October.

Feeling rushed because I don't have a plan and its five o'clock is HORRIBLE on my attitude... really horrible. Baby screaming, toddler crawling up on counters, five year old asking "what's for supper" and hubby calling to say he is on his way home... understand why I say horrible?

This all leads to my favorite part of planning: menu planning. If you don't do it, you should seriously try! I really struggled at first. I would sit down with my phone (for Pinterest), a blank paper and pen... then draw blanks! Scroll Pinterest, everything looks good but all of that is not in our budget. It wasn't until I realized that I never cook from my Pinterest board every night, and we basically have the same thing every couple weeks, that I realized I had been making things way too complicated.

Here is my outline for how I base our supper menu:
Monday - Mexican
Tuesday- Something new! (this is where Pinterest or cookbooks come in)
Wednesday- Simple/leftovers (church night)
Thursday- Family Favorites
Friday- Homemade pizza
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Crock pot

For breakfast I just mix and match the following favorites:  fresh fruit, muffins, toast, smoothies, pancakes, french toast, eggs (fried, scrambled, casseroles, omelets etc) --- and LOTS OF BACON ;)

Lunch is usually fresh fruits and veggies, leftovers, cheese/meat/cracker trays, tuna or chicken sandwiches, more eggs...

This week our menu is off because I thawed out the wrong meat for Monday so had to change things up.

Monday:
B - eggs and toast
L - cucumbers, tomatoes, applesauce
S - roast, potatoes, zucchini fritters

Tuesday:
B - pancakes and smoothie
L - leftover roast on toast
S - trying a new tuna and noodle casserole with leftover noodles from Sunday

Wednesday:
B - fried eggs and toast
L - cheese w/ crackers and fresh fruit
S - Tacos

Thursday:
B - muffins and boiled eggs
L - leftovers
S - Cheesy chicken and broccoli

Friday: 
B - sun butter and honey on toast, smoothie
L - tuna sandwiches
S - homemade pizza

Saturday:
B - pancakes and bacon
L - fresh fruit with broccoli salad
S - anything leftover or that needs to be finished off

Sunday:
B - toast, boiled egg, fresh fruit
L - chicken salad sandwich
S - crockpot cheesy chicken and beans


There you have it. This is what I base my grocery shopping list off of and how I try to keep sane. There are many times that the plan gets derailed due to a change in plans... or when you don't pay attention and pull the wrong meat out of the freezer to thaw out ;)

Do you menu plan? If so, do you thing it helps you stick to your budget better?

Blessings,
Dakota xoxo
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