My Very Educated Mother

Friday, July 29, 2016

3 Essential Considerations to Help Decide if Homeschooling is Right For You

This past month I’ve been thinking a lot about homeschooling. I’ve questioned if we’re still making the right decision, reassessed curriculum choices, researched new subjects, and ordered new homeschool books. It’s an exciting time that reignites my love for learning, making it the best time to share my experiences and advice to those considering homeschooling. 


This is the deal! This is the real stuff you need to be thinking about if you are considering homeschooling! No water-downed or sugar coated info!


Whatever Your Reason to Homeschool


There are so many reasons you might be thinking about homeschooling. For our family it was a choice we made after many unsuccessful attempts to deal with bullying, and if I’m going to be honest it was something I’d wanted to do since my oldest was in kindergarten. During the five years we’ve been homeschooling we’ve met families who homeschool for religious reasons, behavior problems, for consistency (military families), or simply because they were homeschooled and it’s what they know and want for their kids. 

Whatever your reasons - there are still factors you need to take into consideration before you make this decision and they fall into three main categories: Energy - Time - Money. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Harry Potter Craft: Paper Owl Letter Carriers

Just a quick message to remind you to be sure to get entered in the giveaway at the end of this post and follow the links to a treasure trove of creative Potter crafting Ideas. 

These super easy Harry Potter Owl Letter Holders make a great afternoon kids crafts.

Is your family Harry Potter fans? We are, and while we anxiously await the release of the next movie we're trying our hand at incorporating a little bit of the Wizarding World into our crafting!

Last year I had the pleasure of taking part in The Happy Harry Potter Party hosted by RaeGun Ramblings, were I shared my first Harry Potter craft Butter Bear Cork Necklaces. This year I decided to go with a more kid-friendly craft, Paper Owls Letter Carriers. 

Gather supplies and spend the afternoon making one of these super fun Harry Potter Owl Letter Holders!

Supplies

  • Paper (both patterened and colored)
  • Googly eyes
  • felt 
  • mini clothespins
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • 2in scalloped paper punch (optional)

If you're going to making this project with younger kids I recommend cutting and gathering all the parts ahead of time. That means cutting out circles (I used a salad plate as a guide), triangle felt beaks, and feathers. For the feathers I used a 2 in. scalloped paper punch on a variety of patterned scrap paper. 

How to make a paper owl in four easy steps! Harry Potter Owl Letter Carriers

Step 1: Cut your paper into circles. If you'd like you could use paper plates and paint them for an extra bit of fun.

Step 2: Fold two sides of your paper circle down and then fold over the two closer corners you've created. Um, I'm sorry, that doesn't make sense, but if you look at the pictures you'll see what I mean. 

How to make a paper owl in four easy steps!

Step 3: Glue your felt triangle down so that it peeks out from your fold, and then glue the fold down.

Step 4: Add your eye tufts, googly eyes, feathers, and clothspin claws.

Having a Harry Potter Party? Here's a great idea for invitations!

That's all it takes to create your owl carrier. With a quick search you can find printable Hogwarts acceptance letters to send to your little witches and wizards. Plus, if you're hosting a Potter themed party this is a great way to deliver your invitations.

So easy to make and a fun way of delivering mail. Harry Potter Craft for Kids - Paper Owl Letter Carriers!

Harry Potter Craft for Kids - Paper Owl Letter Carriers! So easy to make and a fun way of delivering mail.

GIVEAWAY 

It's not a party without gifts! Here's one of the prize packs and all the amazing goodies in it! 
Be sure to get entered!


So many awesome Harry Potter gift ideas. Great for readers

Prize Pack #2 See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you're there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Camp Craft: Finger Woven Bracelets

This year at Girl Scout camp we used old t-shirts to make these finger woven bracelets. The weaving method is easy to both learn and teach others, in fact many of the girls commented that they'd made them in art class. What I like about them the most is that they require very little supplies and/or time. 

Here's a super easy camp craft to try on your next scouting adventure, finger woven bracelets!

When you're out in the wilderness the last thing you want to do is lug along a bunch of crafting supplies or spend half the afternoon waiting for glue to dry. These bracelets can be made in as little as five minutes making them the quintessential Craft Lightning Camp Craft! 

Such an easy kids craft, perfect for making at scouts, camp, or in a group setting. Woven Bracelets

To begin you're going to need an old t-shirt and a pair of scissors. 

This easy kids craft upcycles old t-shirts into stylish bracelets.

Cut the shirt in strips about 1 1/2" wide, and snip them so that they are one long piece and not a loop.

upcycle old t-shirts into stylish bracelets with this fun kids craft.

Give them a little tug so that they curl up on the edges, and then you're ready to get started. 

Upcycle old t-shirts into stylish bracelets with this fun kids craft. Perfect for camp, scouting, or church groups.

The best way to show how to make these bracelets is with a video. 



During camp the girls worked in groups making their bracelets, and once they understood the weaving method many of them had theirs done in just a few minutes. I, being a southpaw, even managed to show the right-handed girls how to make them!

Use your old tshirts to create these fun bracelets with the kids. A great craft to make during scouts or camping!

I really love these things because you can easily customize their color and when you're out camping they make great arm sweat bands! 

A great craft to make during scouts or camping! Use your old tshirts to create these fun bracelets with the kids.

Click the image below for more fun Craft Lightning Scout Crafts. 


Monday, July 18, 2016

How to Save Money on Furnishings For Your College Freshman

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it's advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BigLotsReady #Collective Bias

The first year of college is eye-opening in so many ways, but especially when it comes to understanding cost of living. Whether you’re moving into a dorm or apartment, outfitting your new home away from home can get expensive but it is still important. This is where you’ll be studying, entertaining, dining, and living the next few years, it needs to be a place that makes you comfortable and at ease. 

For those who start their college careers while living at home, a great way to break from the norm is to give your bedroom a makeover. When you’re searching for affordable furnishings you needn’t look any further than your local Big Lots store.

It's easier than you think to save money on furnishing your college freshman's dorm, apartment, or bedroom!

High school graduates don’t want to hear this, and many of us parents might let out a groan, but the number one way to save money your first year of college is to stay at home. Community colleges offer basic education classes at a much lower rate. My son has decided to go this route, and it has allowing him time to decide on a major and start building a household for his future.

Still, it’s made getting into a college state of mind a little harder so we’ve been refreshing his bedroom and creating a space that feels more like a dorm room or apartment. Recently we made a trip to Big Lots and picked up a few items.

Save Money on Furnishings for Your College Freshman

Big Lots is our go-to store for an amazing assortment of quality, back to college items. It doesn’t matter if your outfitting a bedroom, dorm room, or an apartment. 

It's easy to find stylish furnishings that are budget friendly! You just have to know where to look.

They’ve got mattresses, small appliances, and a fashionable selection of linens for both bed and bath. While styles and assortment vary by store, all are on trend. Check them out online for even more options.




On this trip we found a chic lamp that helps make his comic posters look more kitsch than kiddish.

Dress up any bedroom with a stylish desk lamp.

We had a hard time picking out a couple throw pillows, but now that they’re on his bed they help the room feel more like a studio apartment. 

Throw pillows are a quick and easy way to dress up any dorm room!

By staying at home we’re cutting college costs and also using what we save to get a head start on buying home decor and household supplies for when he does move out. So far one of the biggest money saving items we’ve picked up at Big Lots has been a Black&Decker Brew ’N Go™ Coffeemaker.

I’ve seen my son’s bank statements and pointed out to him how much money he is spending at coffee shops. With this personal coffeemaker we’ve made those frou-frou frappes a special treat and not an everyday expense.

If you want to save money your freshman year of college, buy a coffeemaker!


Let’s keep this conversation going. 

Comment below, with more ways to save on college furnishing!  

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Strawberry Cream Cheese Crumb Cake

Strawberries can be sensitive fruit, and by that I mean they can go from looking scrumptious to questionable overnight. Unfortunately, most strawberry recipes call for berries at the peak of their perfection or at least presentable. Since I refuse to waste money, and food, throwing out produce just because it doesn’t necessarily look good, we end up with a lot of strawberry smoothies and milkshakes. 

A great recipe for overripe berries that don't look perfect, a strawberry and Cream Cheese Crumb Cake.


For the last few months TheKimSixFix has been hosting an Ultimate Recipe Challenge, and with strawberries being this month’s challenge ingredient I decided to share a recipe that makes use of strawberries slightly past their prime. (NOTE: If the berries have mold, don’t chance it-duh, throw them in the compost bin.)

I’m all about homemade goodies but when it comes to cake, eh, I stick with the boxed variety. Since this recipe has a few different components it made it much easier to use a mix. While we served it for an afternoon snack, I can image this being a great brunch or breakfast cake, served warm. Since this is a summer dessert I highly recommend storing it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. 



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Let Kids Be Kids With an Outdoor Paint Station

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Clean2TheCore #CollectiveBias


Let Kids Be Kids - Explore creativity at an outdoor painting station! Kids Activities kids crafts

I’m always looking for fun ways for the kids to let their hair down and create with wild abandon. So last week we set up an outdoor paint station with the sole purpose of letting kids be kids; giving them the opportunity to explore creatively and let their imaginations go. Sure, things got very messy, but with the cleaning power of all® POWERCORE™ Pacs you’d never know it.

Most of my kids have had mild sensory issues during their toddler years. Simply put, they hated getting messy. Currently, our littlest guy refuses to drink out of his cup if it’s wet on the outside. Donuts? No thanks, they make your fingers sticky. Meals are loads of fun at our house! 

Sometimes the creative process beckons us to get a little paint on our hands. Which is why it was important to me to start encouraging the little guy to get dirty. 


Use household utensils to let the kids explore their creative side!


What I love about setting up an outdoor paint station is that we weren’t making a ‘project,’ there are no expectations nor are we looking for a pretty picture to hang on the wall. This is all about exploring and enjoying the experience. 

To set up a station of your own follow these three easy tips! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Toddler Time: Sharing Feelings and Emotions

Introduce toddlers and little kids to emotions using a feelings chart. It'll help them express themselves better.


A month or so ago I made a fun emoji pillow project  with the hopes of it helping my littlest guy express his feeling. Well, it worked.

At first it was a toy; he'd have fun playing with it and giggle when we switch from happy to sad faces. Then he started using it to tell us how he was really feeling. After a temper tantrum, usually through tears, he'd eek out, "Me happy now," with his arms outstretched looking for a hug.

It is his way of switching gears and starting over. There's nothing wrong (in fact it's an essential part of living) with feeling bad when you've acted poorly or made mistakes, but it is not healthy to hold onto those sour emotions after their importance has dissipated. I tell my kids all the time, "be like Elsa and let it go."

Back to the little one, since he's mastered the basic emotions we thought we'd introduce him to a few more by creating a Feelings Wheel, or Circle if you're looking at the pictures. It's super easy to make and perfect for older kids to put together.