Monday, October 28, 2013

Not the typical classroom nor student

All I knew about school was desks line up in a row, kids sitting down and teacher standing in front of a black board giving instructions. Naturally, when I started home educating, that is what I tried to model. Out of the 3 little girls, only one can sit still at the kitchen table for a long period of time.

I have seen my little goose hanging upside down from the couch to watch a show on TV, why was I surprised when the same little one was trying to do the same at the table while practicing her phonics?


I am slowly feeling more comfortable letting the school being done outside the table and chair setting. Doing math on the floor works just fine, and they are enjoying the freedom of being able to learn without the limitation of a designated space.

There is a time and place for kids to be still, and they do need to learn that skill, and other time it's ok to let them wiggles it out.

How about you, do you have a formal classroom setting or more relaxed setting for your homeschool?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Creative play, a great learning tool

With young one, learning during playtime is the easiest way to incorporate a lesson. While they are having so much fun playing,  they are barely noticing that they are learning some new skills.

I like a certain structure to our playtime, like when we are playing board games or hide and go seek and other games or the sorts. At the same time I do let  the girls have some time to play freely, without "rules" or structure.

I think that it is important to have a balance between both freedom and structure. That goes beyond just play, but that is a whole new post.


I have to admit I often use that time of free play to do some catching up on chores like dishes or laundry, but I catch myself from time to time, just listening or watching them play. There I stand, smiling, being in awe of how much they have grown, how creative they have become and how much they have learned.

If I could stop time, capturing those little moments, I would.



I was reading Mama smiles blog and came across her post on The importance of creative play, there she mentioned a few skills that comes with letting children creatively playing.


  1. The ability to self-entertain
  2. The development of language art
  3. Emotional self-regulation
  4. Social skill practice

I have to say all those are true for our family. I  have seen all the points being practice during the girls free play. Of course I do sometime have to intervene and break a fight or two, Ok, there are days that I feel more like a referee then anything else. We all have days like that right? For most part, I seen them growing more and more and I love what they are becoming. 

These pictures are just a glimpse of some creative free play, I should have took a video, it was pretty funny seeing her act out the book we had been reading earlier that day.

How about you, what skills are your kids learning from their free play?

Before you ask, the outfit was found at a local thrift store, in the Halloween costumes section. She notice it from far away and was begging me to get it for her. 

Can you tell what book we are reading aloud from this post???

Friday, October 11, 2013

Favorite Fall Flavor Friday ~ Tuna Melt

Have you ever look at your watch and think "oh my where did the time go, it's dinner time already" You might have had a really busy day, or are just plumb tired and want somethings fast and easy.

Drive true are fast and easy, but don't come that cheap. If you do a bit of planning on your day to day meal preparation, this could be a very good alternative.

What you will need:

  • A can of tuna (if you are not a tuna fan, chicken, turkey or ham would be good substitute)
  • Mayo
  • Grated cheese
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce (completely optional) ~ for this recipe I use my homemade Curried BBQ sauce.
  • Bread (sliced)
Since I don't really measure can't really tell you quantities but it's pretty easy mix the tuna, mayo and BBQ sauce in a bowl, spread the mixture on slices on bread and topped with grated cheese. Put in the oven at 350 degrees until cheese is melted (you can turn the oven on broiled for a minute or two after the cheese is melted but totally optional) 

Now you are wondering what sides can we served with these. Salads, fries, *rice and vegetable are all very delicious with those. 

Do you have a go to meal when you are in a rush and don't know what to prepare for dinner?

*If you are the type of person that hate waiting for the rice to cook, you can make large pot rice (rice cooker or stove top) in advance and freeze in portion that you would normally serve. Can be heated up in microwave in minutes.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

If your wardrobe could roar

I love animals, they are absolutely beautiful, but wearing clothing that reflect them was not something I thought I would EVER wear. I am fine with wearing bold and bright colors, but animal prints are out of my comfort zone.

A few months ago, I got a pair of shoes with a little bit of leopard spot accent. It was barely noticeable, but my girls kept telling me that they loved it when I wore my leopard shoes. Then I noticed this fall a big trend on animal prints, really it's everywhere.  I got some rubber boots for 2 of the girls and they are zebra prints and of so cute.

Purse, boots, scarf ~ payless shoes store

When looking around for some boots, also another hot item this fall, found the prettiest scarf and cutest purse to go with the boots. 


 Stepping out of your comfort zone it not easy, but it is so much fun.

What would be one fashion item that you have been wanting to try but haven't dared yet?



pleated poppy

Monday, October 7, 2013

Learning on nature walks

I love that I live in a city where nature is so easily accessible.

 A few minutes drive, and you can but enjoying some glorious walking/hiking trails, the ocean, the rivers, waterfalls and many more exiting spots. 


We are even lucky enough to have lots of walking/hiking trails that provides information boards  that can be use for teachable moments.




If your kids are curious like mine, the questions will keep coming. Curiosity makes homeschooling so much more fun, and exiting.


I love  Educating is life outlook on nature walks. Here is a few wise words:


"I don't need to know everything, or even very much. Nature study can be a joint exploration with my children as we search after truth and beauty in the outdoors."



"My job is not to tell them all the facts. Rather, it is to gently lead them to observe things carefully for themselves."

 Learning together is such a great experience, and being an observant little student is a skill that we need to encourage.

 Exploring, manipulating, smelling, observing getting all senses involved in the process it far better then just learning from a book. Book learning is great, but when you can have the opportunity of doing some real hands-on learning, better take advantage of it.

Last week we went on nature walk every single day for about 2 hours each trip. Some days were easier then others, the little girls had their moments.


 Here are a few tips that can make your nature walks a bit easier



  1. Wear comfortable shoes
  2. Bring snacks (walking can create a big appetite)
  3. Bottles of water
  4. If available, bring a  map of the park or trails you are visiting. Some kids get insecure when exploring new places and being able to show them where we have been and where we are going. It also can prevent many "Mama we are LOOOOOOSSSSSTTTTTTT"
  5. A bag to collect stuff, rocks, pine-cones etc... whatever you child wants to bring along
  6. A few bandages and cleaning wipes (for those scrapes and small cuts that can happen if you are on the clumsy side!) 
  7. For those little people that can get discourage about the length of the walk, giving them something to look forward too like "we will walk until the next bit maple tree and take a rest and sit down for a snack" Treasure hunt is also a great way to keep them happy and busy. Playing a few round of "I spy" is always interesting.
  8. Camera to take pictures (for things you can collect but still want to use as a learning tool)
  9. And bringing a warm cup of coffee in a travel mug for yourself never hurt!


How about you, what are your tips to make nature walks easier on you and your children?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Favorite Fall Flavor Friday ~ Chicken&Dumpling soup


Summer is lots of fun, plenty of beach time and playing in the parks, but as soon as school starts and the weather changes I feel the business of everyday life sometime a bit challenging. Cooler weather makes me want to go on long walk in the woods, or spend a whole day cleaning and organizing, but that means that I have less time to be in the kitchen.

I found the best way to get a warm delicious meal, after a day exploring outdoor, is to set the crockpot before leaving. Nothing like coming home to the yummy smell of a cooked food.

This weeks favorite fall flavor: Chicken and dumpling


This soup always brings childhood memories. With every bowl full, whatever day you had, always brings a smile to my face. This soups qualifies as comfort food.

The soup itself does not take long to prepare but for the best flavor roasting a whole chicken (or in a pinch using the crockpot) does make a difference. Roasting a chicken and having it it with potatoes, gravy and veggies one day and using the left over chicken for the soup is how I choose to do this, but to each their own.

Soup

  • Chicken 
  • carrots
  • celery
  • onion
  • potatoes
  • Spices (oregano, summer savory, thyme, salt pepper)
  • Chicken broth (I use my homemade one)
Dumplings
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tps salt
  • 2 tps dill 
  • pinch baking powder
  • 3/4 cup of water (more or less)
Cut the vegetable (except the potatoes) and sautee them lightly with the pot with olive oil and butter. Add broth, potatoes, chicken and herbs to a boiled. Meanwhile in a bowl mix all the dry ingredients for the dumpling and add enough water to for a dough ball that should be formed but not wet. Drop small spoonful at the time in the boiling water, lower to med heat until vegetable tender.

Enjoy

Thursday, October 3, 2013

DIY Serving Tray Makeover

When you think serving trays, you might think breakfast in bed or dinner on the couch. To me, serving trays, always bring tea time in mind.

I own a set of 3 wooden trays that I had for a while and they were starting to look a bit dull, it was time to give them a makeover.

All you will need
  • used serving trays
  • Mod Pudge & brush
  • paper (scrapbooking paper, magazines, newspaper, old pictures, whatever you like etc...)
  • ribbons (optional)
Step 1
Clean the surface of your tray where you'll be doing the collage.

  Step 2
Cut all the paper and  get all other embellishments ready. Set aside.

Step 3
Coat the surface that you are going to be using for the collage with Mod Pudge

Step 4
Layer all the pieces of paper and such and add a layer of Mod Pudge over it all to seal your project. Let it dry.

Step 5 (optional)
Add an extra coating of Mod Pudge over it all, let it fully dry before setting any object on it (overnight should be enough)


If you had any item in your home that would need a makeover, what would it be?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Easy Fall outfits

Scarfs, hats, boots, layers are a few things that I love about getting dress in the fall. No need of heavy coat to carry abound, and no need to get the kids snowsuits and boots on and off.

Here is a glimpse of what I wore in the past few days

Outfit #1



  • Polka dot shirt, black dress (thrifted). 
  • Necklace& earrings ~ RW&Co. 
  • shoes ~ Also
Outfit #2


  • Blazer, Pants, Purse (Thrifted)
  • Scarf (gift from a lovely beautiful friend)
  • Shoes ~ Nine West
Outfit #3




  • shirt (thrifted)
  • Pants ~ RW&Co
  • Boots ~ Aldo
Now tell me what is you favorite of the 3 outfits? Comment below.


pleated poppy

Monday, September 30, 2013

Math you see

This year, we are using a new math curriculum Math-U-See.

 I remember doing "good" in math when I was in school, mostly because I could memorized very well. But teaching this curriculum to the little girls made me realized the logic behind what I have memorized, and that in my opinion is a good thing!

A friend give me the Alpha curriculum, dvd, teacher's manual and student work and test books. We have been using it  for a little while and so far are liking it. I like that the kids have a chance to manipulate blocks and making connections in their brain at the same time. The instructions are clear and you can work with your child own pace, not need to hurry things up.

Here is a short clip explaining the Alpha curriculum, for those who are interested in learning more.




Btw the guy talks about letting the kids play with the blocks at home, I do have leggos and duplos for playing, those little block will  only be used during math class. I really don't want to loose them, they will be use over and over again.

 Hopefully at the end of our school year, will be able to give you a fuller review about it.

How about you all, have you tried Math-U-See?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Favorite Fall Flavor Friday ~ Homemade Curried BBQ Sauce & meatballs

Autumn, the season of warm delicious food has arrived. I am planning to post here on Friday's sharing our fall favorite flavors and recipes. 


Easy Homemade Curried BBQ Sauce

What you will need:
  • 3/4  to 1 cup of brown sugar (to taste)
  • 3/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 TBS Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 1/4 tps ground mustard 
  • 1 tps smoke paprika
  • 1  to 2 glove(s) of garlic minced 
  • 2 TBS Curry powder
  • 1/4 Chipotle Chile powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring all the ingredients to a boiled (on med heat) add meatballs (I use some ground pork meatballs that I had previously cooked and frozen) let simmer on med/low until desired consistency. Serve on a bed of quinoa with fresh raw veggies sticks.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Easy Monogram Letter Craft

Cooler weather makes me in the mood for organizing, baking and crafting. I don't know about you, but with gray days and spending more indoor time, creating some pretty things to look at does bring a smile to my face.


 For today's super easy craft all you will need


  • Designer paper (Micheal's store always have tuns of paper on clearance)
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Buttons (random one will do)
  • Picture frame (mine was a old one that I just took the picture out of)


How to
  1. Open your frame and cut the paper to fit inside 
  2. using the buttons, shape the letter of your choice (child's name, first letter of your last name etc)
  3. Start gluing 
  4. put back the frame together voila!
Have you done any monogram letter craft? If so, leave a link into the comment of blog post or picture of it.

Happy crafting. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Avoiding distractions during school time

We live in a world of constant distractions.

Our call phone beeps to inform us that someone left us a text, a like on facebook or an tweet to let us know what is happening right at the moment. Our kids are getting use to see us glance at different screens during the day.

If you are doing home educations, all these distractions can be easily fixed. We can turn the ringer of the phone off, set a no computer or social media time and other little things.

 But what happens when the distractions come in a form of a sibling? When the option of sending the trouble maker to the principle office is not an option, what else can you do?


I wrote about certain ways that will keep little persons busy, at least for a while, but sometime you really need that "one on one no distractions" time.

I tried many techniques, some worked and others failed


  • Taking advantage of "nap/quiet time" works only if your student is not tired
  • Play a show on TV for the wee one in another room. Not a great solution if your toddler used that time to get into trouble (some kids needs to be constantly supervised) 
  • Play time with educational toys, stickers, puzzles are only good for those kids who like to be left alone for a certain period of time (some kids can play great together, others no so much)
  • Including the little ones in, works sometime and not others.
This is one of those things that you need to be consistent and flexible at the same time. They need to learn what is expected of them, while you keep reminding yourself that they are a "work in progress". And that what works today might not tomorrow, be willing to change things around.

How about you who are homeschooling with busy little one. What is your family favorite ways to make sure you can have that one-on-one time?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Are you in the mood to get yourself organized?

Photo credit here and from I heat organizing website

School has started, fall weather has arrived and I'm in the mood for cleaning, de-cluttering and organizing. Are you feeling it too? I do the spring and fall cleaning. With busy little kids, this task needs to be done twice a year. or maybe it is just in my house. 

I have many plans and ideas, and pinterest is a great source of inspiration for new ways to keep thing organized

I will come here once a week, on Tuesday and share what I am doing, or planning to do etc.So lets start this journey on getting this home, blog, homeschool and life a bit more organized.




For this weeks project:


  •  I plan to go through the girls clothes, switch from summer ( and store them away) to fall/winter (and donate/throw away what we can't use). 


How about you, what are you planning to organize this week?

Monday, September 2, 2013

All fun and play

Learning from home is fun and even better when it includes lots of games, right?


Educational games are very useful teaching too, and are toys that help kids use their creativity.

I know this is a short post, but the girls wants to learn this new trick



Off I go, and will be back here next Monday for another homeschooling post.

What are your favorite educational toys and games?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Yes, ladies can wear pants too

I wasn't going to be posting about fashion today, but the topic of modesty and the trend of "gender bender" been on my minds, so here we go.

I came across "Are "feminine" looks the Future on Men's Fashion" article, at first I thought it was a joke, men dressed in "lady like" clothing walking down the runway.  The pictures in this article might be shocking, but we don't need to go to that extreme to see the trend of "gender bender".

Dressing in an androgynous clothing is very "in" right now. I know you know what I'm talking about, you see them in pack walking down the street and yet you know the both girls and boys are present, but you can't tell who is who. I might just be old fashion, but I do think that you should be able to tell if you are talking to someone if you should greet them as Miss or Sir.

To you men, I would say be manly, and to you women, dress like a lady.

I know what you are thinking "But I want to be comfortable" or "I don't have money for new clothes" or maybe "I don't have time to be put together". Other of you are shaking their head think "She is one of those skirts only". Yes if you look around my fashion posts, you may notice dresses, and skirt, I wear them not because I have too, but because I like them.

Before you ask, this look was done in 5 min. 

I do wear pants, jeans, shorts but I try to wear them in a way that strangers would know that I am a lady.

 Some will say that pants are for men only, they are immodest, showing off too much. Those are not my convictions.

 You can be modest and lady-like wearing a pair of jeans(or pants). Here's how?

  • Make sure they fit : It's not because they you able to zip the zipper that it means that they fit. You can make yourself squeeze in something 2 sizes too small and think that it is "your size" but no, please don't.
  • A few accessories goes a long way: bring along a purse, a scarf , put on some earnings, a cute pair of shoes or even just a bit of lip gloss. This does not need to cost you a fortune nor take time, you can do this on the go.
  • Act like lady: Ok  this tip is free, won't take any of your precious time. Just do it!
Excuse the blurriness 
Is it really that important what we wear? My short answer would be yes. I know you won't just let me get away with a "yes", here is what I am thinking about.

What you choose to put on your body does affect many aspects of your life and I am not talking about a vain look at me I'm pretty kind of way.
  1. It affects your mood: Like when you wear an apron, and you feel more motivated to clean, same thing goes with the outfit you've choose to put on.
  2. It affect how people interacts with you:  I am speaking from my own experience, you can be less or more approachable depending on what you are wearing. Don't get me wrong here, not saying you have to have a "look" that comes with strings attach, we should all dress for His glory. What we wear is part of our testimony.
  3. It affect how you look: Wearing clothes that are to big, might make you look, well bigger then you really are. I know that wearing the right size, sometime makes people say "did you loose weight?" isn't a nice complement to have, when the only thing you did is wear something that "fit".
Now I want to know you opinion on the topic. Is it important what we wear? Should stranger know off the bat if you are a she or he?

 link here 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Zooey Deschanel inspired look ~ Polka Dots


I discovered Zooey's style after someone mentioned that I dressed like her, since then I have been thinking when I put an outfit together "Would Zooey wear this?".

For today's inspired look, I choose this lovely dress

Photo credit here 

Don't you just love Polka Dots.


Polka Dots top ~ D Dynamite (Thrift store find)  




Skirt ~ "TanJay
Shoes~ Femina

Red lips ~ mix of 3 products 1. L'Oreal lipstick in shade Java Jolt. 2. Revlon Colorburst lipstick in shade True Red. 3. Eessential Stay with me, long lasting lipgloss in shade Kiss Kiss Kiss
Nails ~ Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in Rose rum
Jewelry ~ Old Navy


Hair ~ Choose to do a side braid and include 2 small braids in the big one, tied up with a head scarf (Dollarstore)

I like that you can wear this out fit to church, while visiting friend or just when you are out and about. 

Speaking of friends, I had chance to see Borum last Sunday,she had just came back from a year in France and is leaving for university in another province. Was glad to be able to spend an afternoon with her.


Here is a bonus picture, because doing a photo-shoot can be hazardous. Bees might be hiding in flowers, and yes dear Cameron being the camera caught me backing up really quickly.

No bees were harm in the making of this photo-shoot


Where do you get your fashion inspiration???

pleated poppy I Feel Pretty link here