Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A New Schedule

Here is our new daily schedule, even though it will probably change when the baby arrives in July:

Daily Chores
Guinevere (age 7)
·         laundry
·         sweep all bedrooms
Glory (age 5)
·         wipe down and clean bathroom
·         make mom and dad's bed
Silas (age 4)
·         take out garbage in every room
·         clean up backyard
·         make mom and dad’s bed
Hosanna (age 3)
·         wash walls
·         straighten living room
·         clean table

1-      Upon rising, make bed and get dressed
2-      Clean room
3-      Wait on couch for breakfast/ Guinevere begins laundry
4-      Eat together
5-      Clean up after breakfast
6-      Brush hair and put on shoes
7-      Play outside or play with specified toys
8-      Clean up and daily chores
9-      Start little ones on school work
10-   Wait for lunch quietly while little ones finish school work
11-   Eat together
12-   Clean up after lunch
13-   Nap time for young (ages 1-5)
14-   Guinevere begin math drills
15-   Glory reading/writing lesson
16-   Guinevere online school and/or daily writing assignments
17-   Glory begins daily workbook lesson
18-   Bible time
19-   Learning to sit quietly
20-   Play time outside or with specified toys/clean up
21-   Wash for dinner
22-   Eat together
23-   On Tuesday and Friday, shower before bed
24-   On specified days, family devotions
25-   Brush teeth
26-   Bed time

      I also made up our 2014-2015 homeschool calendar. I took 7 weeks off after the baby comes, to allow time for us to get adjusted and make the move to Ft Worth, TX. We plan on heading out for Ft Worth on Monday morning August 25th, with our first church service to be held on Sunday, August 31st. After I start home school again, I will not be taking Monday's off, like I do now, to try to make up for that long break. I would post my calendar here, but I cannot figure out how to size it down enough for it to be legible. You can find the template I used at calendarlabs.com

      **Please note that my schedule has changed a bit, but that is the good thing about making your own schedule, you can always change things around as needed :)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Time for Potty Training

After trying out many different "methods" to potty train my little ones, I finally have my own tried and true method, that makes potty training so much more simple and a whole lot less frustrating. Here I will be sharing some of my personal experiences and my opinions. Potty training can be a very frustrating time for many parents, but it doesn't have to be.

You could call it child lead potty training. I wait until the child shows interest in potty training before implementing a few simple things to help them get started. Leading up to this interest I also have a few things that I do to get them interested. Call it freestyle potty training. Call it stress free potty training. Ok so here is what you need to know:

Step 1: Take your child with you to the bathroom when you go. For me this is not difficult because my child follows me wherever I go around this age (1-2 years old). Just by simply watching you, it makes them curious.

Step 2: Talk to the child about where elimination should happen. I will tell them that their 2 goes in the potty. And I will say the same thing when they urinate.

Those things can be started as early as walking age. I do not make a big deal out of either of those things. All I am trying to do is get them to have an interest in potty training. I know my child is ready for the next steps when they start taking off their diapers and go into the bathroom. Or when I see them having a desire to sit on the toilet. After I see an interest I will get out a potty seat. I have found that it doesn't matter what type of seat, but it is best if it is easy to sit down and get back up. Right now I am working with my 5th child. She just recently showed an interest in potty training. I have a little froggy potty that I got from Walmart. I noticed that it is way too big for her to easily sit on or get up from, so she will need a different potty seat to start out with. Now that the child has an interest in toilet training here is how I

Step 3: Get them a potty and put it out for easy access

Step 4: Practice sitting on the potty fully clothed. Here you can read books, sing song, talk about elimination. Just for a few minutes several times a day. Really helps!

Step 5: If the child is already removing their own diapers they may come to you or go directly to the potty chair after they have take off their diaper. I encourage them to sit on the potty. It doesn't matter if they go potty.

Step 6: When the child comes to you and tells you that they have a dirty diaper, tell them that they should use the potty instead of their diaper. After you have cleaned up the mess proceed to the toilet, and encourage them to use that for elimination instead.

Most children show an interest in the potty around 1 1/2 years old. Other children may show signs later on that they are ready to potty train. What are the signs? I mentioned a few above, but here is the most sure signs your child is ready.

1 - The child is very uncomfortable in a dirty diaper
2 - The child hides when they dirty their diaper
3 - The child takes you to the bathroom when they have a dirty or wet diaper
4 - The child tells you that they have to go potty, or that they have went potty already

All of these are sure signs of readiness. Here is where my philosophy comes in...I wait until the child freely and willingly wants to use the potty. I set them up to know what the toilet is for, to use the toilet for elimination. I set them up with all of the tools they need to be successful at potty training. I continue with steps 1-6 as long as I need to. Don't rush them along, they will figure it out. This method may not work for you.  I am just speaking from experience. I did not have successfully potty trained children until they were ready. It goes like this: you will be doing steps 1-6, maybe even for a long time, but then one day your child will decided to use the toilet on their own. And they will! It might be very frustrating waiting for them to get it...but it will come.

You may have a more stubborn child. I have a few of those...If the child has used the potty but still wants to wear a diaper or has many accidents (especially messy ones). I will implement a new system. At this point I know the child knows what to do in the potty. They know when they have to go and use the potty, at least most of the time. But they are either lazy or stubborn and do not want to proceed to being fully potty trained. Here is what I do: I implement blessings and cursings system. I will reward when the potty is used appropriately and I will punish them for accidents.

I know how controversial this one is.  I have heard people say that you must not have any negativity surrounding toilet use. But if I know that the reason the child is still in diapers is because they simply do not want to do it, I implement this system. It works very effectively and it wont take long for them to catch on. I know many people that have finally had success with potty training once they used the blessing and cursing system. For whatever reason the child refuses to use the potty, but only goes when they want to...bring it on little one, we will figure this out together!

I have used this same system with the last 3 of my children. Looking back at potty training my first child, I can see the error of what I was doing. I wasn't allowing her the time she needed to potty train. One of my children did not potty train until they were 3. It makes no difference to me, when my child potty trains, as long as they will have success and I wont be stressed out trying to get them to do what I want. After they are using the toilet on their own without my supervision, they are also potty trained through the night, no night time diapers are necessary. Children learn to control their bladders at the same time they mature enough to use the toilet consistently.  That being said, I know that there are exceptions. Maybe your child struggles with bed wetting, or maybe your child just wants to wear a diaper to feel secure at night. These circumstances may take years to remedy, but the child will almost always grow out of it.

The key is to be patient. Wait for them on their time line. And potty training can actually be a lot less stressful.  I hope that what I have mentioned here is helpful to some moms out there. And don't worry if you have a different way, or you think differently than me, I'm not judging you!

Thursday, May 8, 2014


This past weekend we visited our friend's in Prescott Valley. This sweet family started a new baptist church called Word of Truth, just over 6 months ago. It was such a nice visit. I felt so welcomed and their family really went out of their way to make our trip easy and carefree. What a blessing they were! My husband preached for Word of Truth  on Sunday night, you can listen to that here:

I am currently almost 29 weeks pregnant. I just started having heartburn every day. My diet has been a little off this past week. So I think that is definitely a factor. For heartburn during pregnancy I take papaya enzymes and they work GREAT! Better than anything I have tried in the past. I don't have any, at the moment. But now that heartburn has become a daily thing, I will be making a trip to buy some soon! Other than heartburn I have had some ligament pains, and the practice contraction are starting up. Early contractions are very typical for me, so I am not concerned by them in the least. Baby boy is very active and sometimes he does some wacky summer salts in there...it is so fun feeling his crazy kicking.

Also, I bought some cloth diapers for my newbie baby, and they are so adorably cute and tiny. I am working on potty training my 20 month old. But I am in no hurry. If I decide it is too much to cloth diaper them both I will just switch Mary to disposables full time. I have to at least try it out, because I know it is the best thing for them and it really helps our family save money! I am back to making my homemade wipes again and I am so glad. I can make a whole canister of wipes for about 75 cents! And they don't have all of those chemicals in them that I cannot even read. I am trying something new, though. When I bought my itty bitty cloth diapers the lady also gave me these baby bits of soap to make wipes. You put 1 small bit into a spray bottle and add water. You can then use the solution to spray on cloth wipes or you can do like I do and spray directly on baby's bottom. I really like this method too. The only problem is that the glass bottle that the baby bits came with broke. First the spray part broke then today the littles dropped the bottle on the tile floor in my bathroom...so no more spray solution until I get another spray bottle...

Next week we start a new school year with the kids. I may be changing my year round schedule up a bit once baby comes. I will need a few months off during that time to recover from childbirth and to prepare for the move to Ft Worth shortly thereafter. I have finally decided what I will be using for curriculum this year, and I am feeling more confident to teach all 4 older kids at one time. I have yet to actually write out my plan. Thankfully it is not too complicated. I will be sitting down to make a schedule later this week. The new school year begins on May 14...I better get started on that asap!

Other than planning my homeschool year out, I have been really busy here going through our stuff. We have decided on a moving trailer to move just a select few items when it comes time. This is fine with me, but it means that I have to get rid of a whole house full of stuff. And this wont be easy. I know that I have a few months to do this but it still seems overwhelming. But little by little I know it will get done. And I am very hopeful to be giving birth in an almost empty house come July! The weather is really heating up here, which means grueling days for my husband that works out in the heat every day. He does not complain, but he is so exhausted when he gets home. Partly because he has been up since 4 am and partly because the heat just drains your body physically. Praise the Lord for that man!

Since it has been so hot in the afternoon here in Phoenix, I let the kids go out and play in the morning when it is still a decent temperature. Usually I have the kids doing chores, and we do our morning Bible reading. But lately I have been saving all of that for later in the day and I just let them go play the morning away. I have moved their nap time to after 1 pm (it used to be 12 pm) and I have also changed bed time (unofficially) to 8 pm (it is normally 7 pm). After the sun starts to set the weather is perfect for playing once again. So the kids get their second wind during that time. They just love playing with the neighborhood kids, and they also try to get their friends saved...even though they aren't considered soul winners yet, they do their best! Things that make my heart happy!

Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful Spring weather, that is...unless you live in Phoenix, than you are already enjoying summer temps ;)