Family, Hunker Down, Organization

It’s that time again…!

Time for a new schedule. ;)  I love schedules and planning.  Which is amusing, because once I have them in place, I sometimes hate “being ran by the clock,” so…oh well.  LOL  Imma enjoy whatever I can right now, though, ok??  And we’re flexible with all of this, anyway, this is just a guideline.  AND it’s for MonTues/ThursFri–we’re having Weekend Wednesdays.  LOL

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8:00 Morning routine

9:00 Outdoor recess/exercise

9:30 Morning shareout/Handwriting/Spelling/Snack/Centers

11:30 Chores, then free time

12:00 Lunch

12:30 Quiet reading (Mama works)

1:00 Prodigy (Mama works)

1:30 Painting the interior of the house!  Kids are required to help for part of the time.

(Free time whenever we finish what we need to that day until dinner.)

5:30 Dinner

6:00 Baths

7:00 Free time

8:30 Snack

9:00 Bedtime reading (We take turns reading them a chapter a night of a book we want to share with them. Thomas read The Neverending Story, and now I am reading My Side of the Mountain.  We each have a list we are excited about!)

10:00 Lights out!  <3

This schedule won’t really take effect until next week–this week is vacation week for us.  (I do still have to work about 3-4 hours a day right now, but even that is less than I was, so this counts as vacation week!  This summer I am working summer school, and as of right now,  I will be trying to keep it to Wednesday mornings and quiet time.) I personally am looking forward to a refreshed house and plenty of time to scrap. :)

Hunker Down

Remember this post?

This one. Here. A kinda obnoxious one about scheduling.  I just wanted to give an update about how that’s been working for us!  Or not, you know.

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For the most part, it has been good.  A positive.  Not super closely followed at all times, but in general, helpful.  I thought I’d put a breakdown–the ideal–and the reality. :)

8 a.m. Up, breakfast as a family, morning routine  Essentially we have done this–some days I sleep past 8, and those are rough days.  The kids are always up by 6:30 or 7.  They’re old enough to entertain themselves safely until the grown-ups appear.  When I can get up with them, it’s a better day, overall, though.

9 a.m. Schoolwork–no screens for kids  We have been starting at 9 a.m. with silent reading for 30 minutes and it is perfect for us.  I get my coffee, they get to ease into the school day. We do sometimes have schoolwork with screens after this, but right now, all schoolwork is practically on screens, so…oh well.  My main goal is they do their 30 minutes of silent reading, and complete at least one other piece of schoolwork, which often takes us to 10:30.

10 a.m. Snack, outside or basement playtime, GoNoodle or workouts  Sooo–I mean, I am working from home, I have given up setting up a GoNoodle or something for them.  They get themselves a snack and have recess around 10:30 a.m.  If it is a nice day, I kick them outside. :)  Don’t usually have to make them, though! :)  And it lasts an hour.

11 a.m. Home project  This still happens, but starts at 11:30 now and is only half an hour.  Usually it’s their chores, cooking, cleaning their room, or organizing a section of the house.  We’ve done yard work, repairs, and sewing, too!

12 p.m. Lunch as a family  Yes!  Usually leftovers from dinner the night before or sandwiches. :)

12:30 p.m. Quiet time (where we each go do our own, solo, thing)  I get my best work done during this time, no surprise. ;)  They kind of don’t want to do solo things, though, they usually end up playing together anyway, which makes my mama heart happy. <3

1:30 p.m. Snack, schoolwork–educational screens ok at this time  We don’t necessarily have snack now, it hasn’t been too long since it’s been lunch…but we have started having a little sensory break before afternoon school.  Slime, kinetic sand, play-dough, etc.  Then we complete 2 more pieces of schoolwork before calling it a day.  And somewhere in there they help themselves to a snack.

2:30 p.m. Arts & crafts/music/science experiments  So, I’m a horrible person.  I taught art for 8 years, leisure skills for 4 years, and music for 15…  We have not been doing these past the first 2 weeks.  Basically, my work requirements have ramped up and I don’t have any creativity or energy left for these.  The kids need them, though!  So…we have made art and sensory and music materials available to them and they use them.  They participate in their specials Zoom schedule sometime, and on the weekends, we do “drawing lessons,” or make cards to send to friends.  I am hoping I have way more energy for this when I am not working for a few weeks this summer! Basically, afternoon school starts around 2 and goes until 3:30.

3 p.m. Outside or basement playtime, GoNoodle or workouts  And so, they get recess, or P.E. again at 3:30.  We will go for family walks sometimes, or they will play Kinect Adventures or ride bikes, etc.

4 p.m. Social time  They both have a kids messaging app and will take turns around this time, contacting friends and family. <3

5 p.m. Make dinner (kids take turns helping, parents take turns leading), eat dinner as a family  Not every night, but most, it’s me.  I don’t want the kids helping usually, because it’s like a 30 minute mental break from managing kids. :)

6 p.m. Clean up dinner (kids take turns helping), kids take baths  Not every night, but most, it’s my husband.  And I think, ditto.  We have made a new rule, no screens after dinner and it is working very well for us.

7 p.m. Free time Well, this one is working ok. LOL

8 p.m. Bedtime snack, book, yoga  The yoga is so laughable, I know…….and yeah, no, it didn’t happen more than a couple of times. :) But we definitely get a bedtime snack and right now, they are getting a chapter a night from The Neverending Story with their Dad. After that, it’s my turn. I’m debating The Boxcar Children or My Side of the Mountain.

8:30 Bed
9:00 p.m. Bed–if no arguing/fighting/disrespectfulness that day  We shoot for the 8:30 time every day.  But the late bedtimes are happening anyway some nights.  But we let go of the “if no arguing etc.” requirement because they’ve been fine.  When they are super cranky or are otherwise showing they need more sleep, then yeah, they go to bed early, but hey, that was already a thing.

So, for the most part, we are keeping to the general outline.  It definitely gave us a good starting point, and has grown and flexed with us and our family’s needs, and I feel like we are in a pretty good groove now.  And it will all change in a few more weeks when we have summer!



Family, Frugalicious, Staying Home

Staying centered…

(First, just a little reminder to ***breathe***)

Ahh.  Ok, good.  Now…

I really love centers.  Do you remember those?  You may have done them in kindergarten, or your children do them at daycare now.  I love them because they allow for open-ended play, but with as much or as little guidance as you’d like, and help ensure children get to explore all the fun gadgets, gizmos, and goodies you’ve accumulated along your parenting journey.  It provides them with variety, makes old things seem new again, and can buy you a good hour or so to get stuff done yourself.

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Essentially, I set out 3 activity/toy sets that the kids can play with independently.  These will change with your children’s ages.  It can be on a theme, or not; you can give specific instructions for each or not…  I decide if it’s just a free for all with all their items, or if they should rotate through (e.g., like 15 minutes at each, with a 15 minute free for all at the end).  Then I turn them loose!

Some centers I have used:

  • Playdough (if you don’t have any, you can make your own! And if you don’t have playdough tools, try using small, safe kitchen utensils, letter magnets, buttons, and pipecleaners)
  • Sensory bins
  • Themed bins
  • Dollhouse
  • Dress-Up (if you don’t have children’s dress-up costumes, just set out some of your fancy or interesting shoes, scarves, hats, and costume jewelry)
  • Blocks/legos/duplo, etc.
  • Musical instruments (if you don’t have any, try making some)
  • Art station (painting with watercolors is pretty mess free, coloring with coloring books, copy paper and stencils, etc.)
  • Stuffed animal zoo
  • Karaoke station

For more ideas, google your children’s age range and terms like DIY, homemade, homeschooling, or centers.  Also check out some of my Pinterest boards to see if they spark anything for you:



Staying Home

Staying scheduled…

As I mentioned in my last post, a structured routine of some sort will help everyone cope with our current social isolation.  I have developed our own schedule, taking some inspiration from the schedule I shared earlier.  It’s nice and general, but gives us hourly activities to keep us moving in a productive way.  It includes time for schoolwork, life skills, socializing, and outside.  I will be working from home during this time, too, and I hope this gives us all the structure we need with a nice dose of flexibility on the side.  This schedule is for weekdays only, FYI.

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8 a.m. Up, breakfast as a family, morning routine

9 a.m. Schoolwork–no screens for kids

10 a.m. Snack, outside or basement playtime (we have a large unfinished basement they like to ride their bikes, scooters, skateboards, etc. around), GoNoodle or workouts

11 a.m. Home project (Lots of possibilities here! Cleaning, yardwork, organizing, decluttering, cooking, laundry, other life skills or chores, etc.)

12 p.m. Lunch as a family

12:30 p.m. Quiet time (where we each go do our own, solo, thing)

1:30 p.m. Snack, schoolwork–educational screens ok at this time

2:30 p.m. Arts & crafts/music/science experiments

3 p.m. Outside or basement playtime, GoNoodle or workouts

4 p.m. Social time—video call someone (or more) from our list (we made a list of friends and family to keep in touch with, including people we know to be more vulnerable to this isolation); then free time

5 p.m. Make dinner (kids take turns helping, parents take turns leading), eat dinner as a family

6 p.m. Clean up dinner (kids take turns helping), kids take baths

7 p.m. Free time

8 p.m. Bedtime snack, book, yoga

8:30 Bed

9:00 p.m. Bed–if no arguing/fighting/disrespectfulness that day

Stay well, friends. <3

Staying Home

Staying sane…

Structure, routine, predictability–children thrive on it! (…and adults, really–why do you think change is so hard?)  A lot of parents are facing unending days of family togetherness in the near future, and may need some tips on how to cope–especially those parents who do not work with children full time.

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Just remind yourself that they will need structure.  2-3 days of unlimited screens may work at first, but then everything has the potential to descend into a Lord of the Flies-esque scenario, and no one wants that.  Also–remind yourself that structure doesn’t have to be complicated (e.g., my crazy summer schedule that I still love but that was never followed to a tee).

There is a graphic floating around with a suggested daytime schedule for children, and I really like it.  It is general and open-ended, with screen time and no-screen time built in.  You can find it here.  And you know what, some people say it is too regimented!  So, take it for what it’s worth–come up with your own thing–something sustainable and yet still predictable.  Write it down, post it, the kids will love checking the schedule for what’s next and keeping everyone on track.  I’ll share some more ideas for coping with kids at home in future posts. <3