Friday, January 30, 2015

Tackling the Fridge, Freezer and Floors!

So I've made it through Week 4.  Well, kind of anyway.  For 34 Weeks of Clean, the recent challenge was Fridge, Freezers and Floors.  We have the fridge/freezer, and a deep freezer.

I figured I should start with the refrigerator, because after weeks of not cooking real meals and having a two week old, it was in rough shape.  Husband's pizza box from the night before makes it look even worse.  Can you tell the kiddos have been helping put things away too?

I pulled the last four single-serve yogurt containers out of two different boxes.  I found a few expired things to toss.  Only one small bowl of leftovers.  I wiped shelves and washed out the drawers.

I planned creamy chicken tacos to use up the half jar of salsa that was in the fridge.

I found one of Eleanor's hairbows . . . ?

My little helper couldn't decide which apple she wanted!

Eventually I cleaned out the small freezer.  It was mostly creating tie-dye in the sink with all those random popsicles.  Then I grouped liked items together.

I didn't get to the ice machine yet.  I also didn't move any of the excess to the deep freezer yet, which would have made this look nicer.  That's because I ignored the deep freezer.

I'll use the excuse that the other freezer is in the utility room, and we're focusing on the kitchen.  No?  I have a newborn.  I can milk that one for all it's worth, right?  That's a bigger job so it will have to wait for the weekend when I have adult backup.

I did tack on one of the cabinets that I didn't get to last week.  The pots and pans were irritating me, so I started with that one.

I got rid of the miniature, wannabe loaf pans.  I also donated some cake pop thing I've never used for its intended purpose.  Then I moved the cheesecake pan and a few lesser-used items back to the far cabinet to make room for the slow cooker and other larger items that don't actually fit in that other cabinet.  This one has the slider drawer, and larger things actually fit here, so I don't know why I kept putting them on the other side of the kitchen when we use them fairly often.  The slow cooker was actually in use while I was doing this!

It's not pretty, but it's more functional.

I didn't scrub my floors and baseboards, but they got their usual cleaning.  The rugs will probably get washed this weekend now that I'm caught back up on laundry.

Next week's challenge should be a bit easier for me.  It's Recipes!  Well, that includes cookbooks, and while I'd happily reduce our collection, the husband might take some convincing.  I'll let you know how that goes!

©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Taco Tuesday: Taco Soup

My kids often want "Taco Tuesday" and while I don't mind to oblige them a couple times a month, I like to look for variations of traditional tacos to keep dinner from getting monotonous and boring. One of my favorite Taco Tuesday alternatives is Taco Soup! It's a good hearty soup for the winter months too!

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • minced garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn or 1 bag frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Taco Seasoning--packets or homemade--to taste
  • approx. 2 cups Beef Broth (or water)
  • Toppings:  cheese, sour cream, etc

The Process
I brown the ground beef in a large pot with some of the onion and garlic, and then drain it.  Next I saute the minced garlic, bell pepper and onion.  I dump the meat, all beans, tomatoes, corn, and pepper/onions all together in the pot.

I sprinkle with taco seasoning.  This is a good place to adjust the heat if you want it.  Use Rotel for canned tomatoes and/or spice up your homemade taco seasoning.  Whatever you like.  I keep mine on the tamer side, at husband's request, and also for the kids.  Stir everything together.  Next I add the liquid until it reaches the right consistency, and bring to a boil.  I let it simmer for about 15 minutes or so, until the peppers are tender.

Serve it up however you like!

Simplified Directions
  • Brown the ground beef in a large pot with a little onion and garlic.  Drain well.
  • Saute bell peppers and onions
  • Return beef to pot and add tomatoes, corn and beans
  • Add taco seasoning and stir thoroughly 
  • Add liquid as needed
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes until heated through
  • Serve with favorite toppings

The best thing about this recipe is its versatility.  You can add {or remove} virtually any ingredients you want.  Change the heat factor.  Use canned or home frozen corn, or canned tomatoes.  Use whatever beans you want or have on hand.  One time I made this, I specifically chose the recipe because I had leftover pinto beans from a beans/cornbread dinner and wanted to use them up!

You can also serve it so many ways.  My husband loves tortillas cut into small strips and fried up to serve on top.  For my non-soup loving kiddos, I use a slotted spoon to strain the liquid and add the "taco filling" to a tortilla or sprinkle on chips to make Nachos Supreme as Elliott calls it.  If I do that, I just add a little shredded lettuce, cheese and sour cream and they are happy.

This way, they get Taco Tuesday, and the husband and I get something different!

Try a New Recipe Tuesday

©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Relaxed Homeschooling: Fine Arts in the Early Elementary Years

Welcome to the last week of the 2015 Virtual Curriculum Fair.  If you're not familiar with the VCF yet, it is hosted annually by Susan at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds and this week's co-host is Lisa @ Golden Grasses.  This month long curriculum fair is where we give you a glimpse into our homeschool, focusing on a different subject area each week.  Our final theme is Seeking Beauty:  the Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to our World.  This is where art, music and handicrafts fit into our routine!

Well, this is where art, music and handicrafts should fit into our routine.  Admittedly, this is probably my weakest area.  For some reason, Fine Arts is the subject area that I am least intentional about teaching, but when I think about it, it is easy to informally cover these subjects.  Thankfully I'm a Relaxed Homeschooler, and I don't stress about these subjects either.  I just cover them when I can, and let the kids explore them on their own as well.  I think variety and exposure is the most important element at this age.

I really wanted to finish the lessons in the ARTistic Pursuits books we've reviewed, but it just hasn't happened yet.  However, we've worked art into our days through other methods, and I'm okay with that too.

I strew Art by placing art books for children into our rotation, I add art apps to our iPad or Kindle, and I casually point out connections to art whenever they arise naturally.

Five in a Row does cover art too.  Often the manual will offer suggestions for examining the illustrations for specific details--comparisons to famous artists, or techniques like adding text to their art to enhance the story.  It is a good way to get the kids to notice details, which I appreciate.  When we rowed Cranberry Thanksgiving, we discussed how warm and cool colors were used and talked about the silhouettes, and I found a fun chalk pastel art project for us to do.

Another resource the kids love is Art for Kids Hub.  It is mostly drawing tutorials, but they are video based, and it's a father working with his kids doing the lesson.  He does a lot of popular characters and seasonal/holiday tutorials as well, and the boys love watching the videos!  Sometimes there are painting or oil pastel tutorials as well.  It's very casual, but there is a huge collection of material, so I can often find something for our rows or seasonal studies, and Elliott especially can get lost on the website, doing one tutorial after another.  This was his Leonardo after watching the video tutorial.

We are pretty casual when it comes to this subject.  I play a variety of music through streaming sites/apps like Pandora.  I want the kids to have an appreciation for diversity, so we play different genres regularly. Elliott has expressed interest in learning to play the piano, so I'm exploring that possibility.

I will say that we all love, love, LOVE the Maestro Classics productions, and I've bought two new ones since our review.  I have plans to buy more.  They are a great way to get music in, and they're perfect for the car.  I've told you before that we love audio books, but I play these occasionally when we're between books, and they're always a hit!

Some of the Art lessons from Five in a Row overlap with Handicrafts (weaving, origami, carving) so I tend to work these in whenever there is interest from the kids.  For instance, when we rowed Grandfather's Journey, there was a lesson on origami.  They were very intrigued, and we continued this one on our own after the row.  A pack of origami paper is relatively inexpensive, and there are tons of instructions online, so we had fun.  I just let the kids explore until their interests take them elsewhere.  

The one thing we still try to do semi-regularly is the Home Depot Kids Workshops.  They have them every month, and Daddy tries to take them regularly.  They get practice with tools, and Elliott likes working independently and showing me his project when he gets home.  

Right now, my biggest goal for Fine Arts is exposure.  I don't know what they will delight in the most, or where they might find a new talent, so I just try to offer variety and let their interests guide me.

Week 1 - Relaxed Homeschooling:  Language Arts in the Early Elementary Years
Week 2 - Relaxed Homeschooling:  Mathematics in the Early Elementary Years
Week 3 - Relaxed Homeschooling:  Science and Social Studies in the Early Elementary Years
Week 4 - Relaxed Homeschooling:  Fine Arts in the Early Elementary Years

2015 Virtual Curriculum Fair
Check out how the rest of the VCF participants bring beauty into their home, and if you have anything relevant to share, please remember to link up!

The Art of Organization�or How Clutter Almost Ruined My Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
The Shadow of Divine Perfection by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
Fine Arts {Art Appreciation, Art, Composer Study Hymn Study} for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Adding Sparkle to Home Education by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
And All the Extras by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Teaching Art Using the Bible by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker
Art In Every Subject by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Letting Art Just Happen in Homeschool by Amy @ One Blessed Mamma
Missing Art? by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset
Do YOU Have Time for Extracurriculars? by Michele@ Family, Faith and Fridays
Fine Arts in Our Classical / Charlotte Mason Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm
The Science of Beauty for a Delight-Directed Daughter by Susan @ The Every Day of Education
Seeking Beauty: How we Tackle the Arts in our Homeschool by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Learning To Appreciate Beauty With Fine Arts Resources@ As We Walk Along the Road by Leah@ As We Walk Along the Road

©2011-2015  Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cleaning & Organizing the Kitchen

I mentioned last week that I'm attempting to join in with a weekly challenge this year to get the house organized.  I jumped in at Week 2's Challenge, Cleaning my Pantry.  It was quite a workout at 40 weeks pregnant!

The third challenge was Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers.  The task is self-explanatory I believe.  It included all of the cabinets, drawers and the junk drawer.

Except we only have 3 drawers in our kitchen.  We designated one for silverware, one for small kitchen gadgets, and one for dishcloths/potholders and the like.  That means we don't have a designated "junk drawer" and that means our junk ends up everywhere else in the kitchen.

It's husband's fault.  Can I say that??  I think I blamed him for the mess in the pantry last week!  He's got a habit of just tucking things away out of sight in random kitchen cabinets, especially when we're speed cleaning for unexpected company . . . and if I don't go behind him later and put it away or throw it away, it just builds and festers and grows.

It didn't help that we just came off the busy holiday season, a birthday squeezed in there, and I was very pregnant and diagnosed with pre-eclampsia at the end.  It was to the point that I just didn't care.  The drawers weren't too bad, but the cabinets made us cringe every time we opened them.  It looked like an episode of Hoarders.

This challenge came after Eloise was born.  I figured I'd start with something easy, and see how far I could go.

The Drawers
I started with the drawers.  They were messy and unorganized, but there wasn't as much junk to weed out.

The first drawer was the silverware drawer.  I pulled everything out, washed the tray and put things where they belonged, since some things actually were in the wrong drawer.

In the third drawer, buried under a bunch of junk and dishtowels, I found two boxes of silverware The Husband had purchased on clearance.  Well I freed up a lot of space in that bottom drawer by actually opening them.

Elliott replaced everything for me.  :)

Drawer two:  I pulled out all of the cookie cutters that landed here, because they have their own box.  I got rid of the extra set of measuring cups that had missing pieces, and some random/duplicate utensils, and threw away some random junk.

It doesn't really look any cleaner/organized, but I do know what's in here now!

The third drawer, which I don't have before/after pictures was the one that got the biggest overhaul.  Pulling out two boxes of silverware helped, and I pulled out a bunch of wooden spoons that my husband tried to "save" the last time I purged.  They hadn't been touched in months, so they have to go.  Now it's just dishcloths, towels, a couple aprons and pot holders.  And some cheesecloth.

The Cabinets
I waited several days to start this.  Of course, post-baby, I had more mobility now for getting up on a step stool, but the task was daunting.  I'm about to get real up in here, and you more organized/minimalist/neat freak readers will probably pass out on me . . .

You can't even tell this cabinet was supposed to be for glasses.  I told you it got ugly.  There's candy canes galore, medicine baskets, scented wax for the warmers . . . and lots of other random junk.

Now?  Candy gone.  Batteries to the basket in the utility room.  I went through the medicine a little, but I'll tackle it full force another time--I just wanted it put up in my bathroom out of sight/reach of the little people.  Well, I left my prenatal vitamins so I would remember to take them.  I left the k-cups and the coffee grinder here, because the Keurig is right below.

Then I tackled another cabinet.  You can probably tell this one was for dishes, but it was overrun with junk as well.

More candy purged, the big green storage container thingy (for lack of a better term?) was moved to a better spot.  It's not ours, someone at my husband's work sent peanut butter fudge home {and it was delicious!} but he doesn't see this person daily so we have to get it back to them.  The random stuff was put where it belongs, and the dishes were organized.  I also found our sea salt!

I can't remember the last time we've cleaned these cabinets.  It's been that long!  As if you couldn't tell.

I did get to one last cabinet.  It is a lower cabinet, and it's where we keep the "kid friendly" dishes so that the boys can get water and snacks independently.  It also has storage containers, and about a bazillion storage bags that my husband the stockpiler bought on sale.  It's basically things I don't think will shatter everywhere if the toddler drags it all out, because let's face it . . . those little cabinet locks are more trouble than they're worth.  (Unless it's cleaning supplies!)

This cabinet was a little easier.  I matched the lids to containers, because some people--not me--put them away without matches.  I put all the unmatched lids into a bag, wondering what could have possibly happened to their matches.  I put a few things in the donate box.  I stacked and organized.  Hopefully my kitchen helper will be able to get things in here more easily now.

I also pulled out a ton of these little juice bottles.  When we go on road trips, the husband grabs these for the kids as a treat, and they end up coming home with us.  They use them occasionally for water, but I'm thinking tomorrow the boys will be tasked with weeding through them.

I finished the cabinet after the family went to bed, with most of the lights off, hence the drastic change in color.

I still have 4 cabinets left.  Ugh.  The pots and pans cabinet, the cleaning supplies under the sink, the small appliance cabinet, and the cookbook/school cabinet.  They mostly need straightened up.  I hope.  I think I will probably spread them out over the next week or two so I can still get them done, but tackle the other challenges as well.

The next challenge is Fridge, Freezers and Floors so that should be . . . interesting.

©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Introducing Eloise! A Birth Story, Part 1

If you've been awaiting this announcement, Baby #4 has arrived!  We did have a little medical scare around 38 weeks, but here we are welcoming this precious little girl into our lives now.

Meet Eloise!

We found out we were expecting in the spring, on my husband's birthday no less!

Not long into the second trimester, I started having high blood pressure, but it was borderline, on and off, and at the time there were no other signs of pre-eclampsia, but I was being watched now.

We found out at the mid-pregnancy routine ultrasound that we were having another GIRL!  We could also see that she had the same nose and lips as the rest of the kids.

By the third trimester I was measuring large {which is not unusual for me} and feeling and looking large.  Not to mention I was I was disgustingly uncomfortable.  Since I was continuously measuring large, they suggested an ultrasound to check on baby and fluids, so at 32 weeks we got another peek.  She measured just over 4 lbs (65th percentile), but everything looked great.  Midwife commented that I "don't exactly make them small" which is true, but then they end up petite after that!  We were told she had hair, and we finally got a peek at her face right at the very end.  Definitely the same nose and pouty lips as big sister!

The Pre-Eclampsia Scare
At 37 weeks, my blood pressure was high again.  At this appointment they suggested another round of labs just to be safe.

At 38 weeks I completed the labs, and the midwife checked me.  Dilated to 1, still thick, -2.  She suggested scraping my membranes, I let her, she said I was "now a 2 after that" but nothing came of it.  She also said if it came back pre-eclampsia, they would probably recommend delivery.

I got the call the next day that my labs did show pre-eclampsia.  My midwife spoke with another doctor and he suggested going forward with delivery, but as a VBAC they also wanted me to come into the office to speak with a doctor first.  I scheduled an appointment with the doctor who did my c-section (and delivered Eleanor) and called my husband.  He left work to come home and let me rest while he cleaned and we got things packed, just in case.

We went in the next morning, taking our bags, knowing we'd be sent to the hospital.  My blood pressure was high and they did a non-stress test which showed the baby had tachycardia.  The doctor suggested delivery that day, but when he remembered I was a VBAC he became leery, and eventually suggested we should do a c-section.  He said the on-call doctor was doing a delivery at the other hospital, but they wanted me to go in and get on fluids, and let my stomach settle (I had eaten breakfast) before she got there.

I will spare you the details about why, but my heart knew this suggested c-section was not a medical emergency.  I was speechless, though, and all I could do when he left the room was cry.  My husband couldn't comfort me.  I cried on the poor girls at reception, and I'm sure the patients in the waiting room thought something horrendous had happened.

Even though my momma heart knew better, we went to the hospital.  By the time I was hooked up to everything and we finished the standard Q&A the nurse commented that my blood pressure was normal and baby's heartbeat was stabilizing.  She also noticed that I was having contractions, so she checked me since it had been a few days.  I was dilated to 3 and 70% so she kept an eye on the contractions.  One of the (final) reasons I knew this was not an emergency is that we had to wait around another few hours, because anesthesiology said at least 8 hours since my last meal.  Unless of course, it was an emergency.

When the nurse called the doctor to update her, the OB said she was still going to do the surgery if I was okay with it.  "Actually, she's not" the nurse told her.  My husband had briefed the nurse while I was changing, and she advocated on my behalf.  The next thing I know, the doctor said if things were still normal when she got to the hospital, she may release me.  I cried again, but this time tears of relief.

When the OB got there, she said she looked over the papers from the appointment at the office and she knew why the other doctor sent me in, but they talked again and they felt comfortable releasing me.  She wanted me to come back to the hospital in two days for an NST.  I think she felt like if something was wrong, I'd already be in the hospital.  If things were still good I could just keep my next prenatal appointment since it wasn't too far off.

I was sent home with a reminder of hypertension/pre-eclampsia signs to watch for, and instructions to increase my water intake since I was probably dehydrated and the cold I had wasn't helping things.

I knew as a VBAC with a pre-eclampsia that the best way to avoid a c-section would be for my pre-eclampsia to stay under control and I definitely had to go into labor on my own.  I prayed.  I rested.  I cut out caffeine and increased my water intake.  I knew I would need to have good readings over the next couple of weeks to even get the chance to go into labor on my own.

To be continued . . . 

©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I'm being interviewed at Homemaking Organized!

Exciting news, folks!  Homemaking Organized is running a series called Homeschoolers at Home Tuesdays.  It is a little peek inside the Homeschools and daily routines of a variety of different homeschoolers.  If you're nosy curious how other homeschooling families run their homes, this series is perfect for you!  Today I am being featured and sharing a little about our homeschool, our routine and how I deal with the cares of home.

If you're feeling ever so kind, or you're not familiar with Homemaking Organized, pop on over and read about my "interesting" life, and take a peek around Homemaking Organized too.  This is the blogger who is making the printables for the 34 Weeks of Clean Challenge that I'm participating in, so you know there's some great stuff to discover!

©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Relaxed Homeschooling: Science and Social Studies in the Early Elementary Years

Welcome to week three of the 2015 Virtual Curriculum Fair!  Today's theme is Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science.  This can include everything from history, geography, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geology, and a number of other subject categories for each blogger to take their own unique approach.  The VCF is hosted annually by Susan at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds and this week's co-host is Stacie at Super Mommy to the Rescue!

Goals:  Learning to Explore the World
My goals for these subjects is to create interest in the world around them and teach my children how to follow those interests down a continuous path of learning.  Later in the post, you'll see a list of manipulatives that I keep on hand to allow the children ways to explore on their own, but as far as curriculum, I didn't really want to use a structured curriculum that would tie us into a certain area of science or lock us into a specific time period for an entire year.  Not at this age, anyway, unless there is a specific request.  They are so curious, and I want them to feel encouraged to explore their world naturally.  There will be plenty of time for sequential and cyclical learning later.

Five in a Row offers a very diverse collection of lessons in these subjects, and it's not structured or sequential, which means we can use it as a springboard for our personal interests.  It gives me the ideas I need to get started if I'm at a loss as to which direction to take.  Typically the boys pick a topic they want to explore--which is generally related to social studies or science--and I scan the content and choose a book to row.  I pick ideas from the manual that I think will appeal, but I'm always open to following rabbit trails, which is how I nurture their interests and teach them to follow that path.

Social Studies
Elliott loves geography and requested more of it this year, so that is another way Five in a Row fits us right now.  So many of the books take place throughout the United States or in countries around the world, so it gives us plenty of time to explore geography, maps, and world cultures.  Elliott loves the mapping activities, and Emory likes doing the flags of other countries.  They also love learning how to write their name or say phrases in other languages!

 Learning how to say/write our names in Japanese.

Five in a Row incorporates history, but it also helps us focus on family relationships, careers, community, holidays, character (and I tie We Choose Virtues into this whenever possible) and so many other areas of social studies, that I feel like we're getting a broader exposure to "the real world" than if we focused primarily on a traditional history rotation.

One way I do work in a little more history, though not formally, is through audio books.  The kids love audio books, and I mentioned in my language arts post that we use audio books to "read" more literature.  Well, we do this with history too!  Our favorite historical audio resource to date has been Under Drake's Flag from Heirloom Audio Productions, and we're looking forward to reviewing their next production, In Freedom's Cause!

Again, Five in a Row is our "core" and we've covered such a variety this year.  Nutrition, life cycles, buoyancy, landforms, and weather are a few topics that come to mind.  I often tie in a living book or a fun educational show when I get the chance.  Emory loves The Magic Schoolbus episodes, and Elliott likes the books from the same series.  Elliott likes when I find hands-on experiments that match up, or anything that involves charts or graphs.  He loved charting the weather for two weeks!

Nature Study - This is an important form of science in the early years.  I want the children to develop an appreciation for the natural world around them, and honestly I find Nature Study to be one of the most valuable additions to our homeschooling, and our daily life in general.  It has been easy to tie in nature study with several of our FIAR units, such as when we made Apple Bird Feeders, but we also enjoy getting out and taking walks, going to parks, splashing in mud puddles and just exploring everything around us!

Manipulatives aren't just for Math!
In addition to field trips and quality documentaries to bring subjects to life, I keep a variety of materials available to enhance our studies in a hands-on way.

Magnifying Glass
Tongs and Tweezers
Bug Houses
Butterfly Nets
Measuring Cups & Beakers
Experiment Books

Social Studies
Maps - world, continent, country, state, local
Dress-up items for historical costumes and role-play
Cultural Music to dance to
Art books with historical art to create
Cookbooks of historical/cultural recipes

I think Science and Social Studies both allow more freedom than other subjects.  These are both subject areas that lend themselves well to following a delight-directed path, and I try to let the children's natural curiosities and interest guide us into learning what they will eventually need to know.

Week 1 - Relaxed Homeschooling:  Language Arts in the Early Elementary Years
Week 2 - Relaxed Homeschooling:  Mathematics in the Early Elementary Years
Week 3 - Relaxed Homeschooling:  Science and Social Studies in the Early Elementary Years
Week 4 - Relaxed Homeschooling:  Fine Arts in the Early Elementary Years

2015 Virtual Curriculum Fair
Here are some more great articles about covering social studies and science in different homeschool environments, and if you have your own relevant posts, be sure to look for the link-up and share with us!

Graphic Credit:  StoryRock

Exploring World History Through the Eyes of Scientists by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Exploring Our World With Social Studies by Stacie @ Super Mommy to the Rescue

Living History by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Classically Influenced, Project Strong, Adaptable Middle School History by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Primary Sources for Delight-Directed History by Susan @ The Every Day of Education

Watching History, or Using Video Courses for Social Studies by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Exploring our World: High School Studies of Ancient History, American Government and Economics by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

History, Geography, and Worldview Lessons in Our Homeschool by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life

Our Curriculum Choices 2015 ~ Science, History & Geography by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun

Our Favorites for History, Geography, and Science by Becky @ Milo & Oats

Globe Trotting by Lisa @ Golden Grasses

Around The World by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays

Bible-Based History Curriculum and Resources by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker

13 Living Book History Series for a Charlotte Mason Based Homeschool by Chelli @ The Planted Trees

Social Studies and Science in Our Classical / Charlotte Mason Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm

The Science Life by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

History, Geography Science for 2015 by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

History Social Studies and Science...VCF Week 3 by Denise @ Fullnest

Learning About our World and History by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Taking the Mystery Out of History and Other Subjects Too With Our Favorite History Curriculum by Amy @ One Blessed Mamma

©2011-2015  Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Cleaning and Organizing my Pantry!

I'm excited (and maybe a little overwhelmed) to be joining in with the 34 Weeks of Clean at Family, Faith and Fridays.  I can't promise I'll participate every week, but I'd love to tackle some of the challenges and get the house cleaner, decluttered and organized.  Michele is also hosting a weekly link-up for those that are participating, so there should be plenty of tips, ideas, motivation and encouragement.

I admit, I skipped last week, Week 1 - Christmas Decorations.  Mostly because the husband was already tackling that on his own.  We did get rid of several decorations and items we no longer use though, so that's a good thing.

Week 2 is The Pantry.  (You need to check her blog, because in addition to instructions for the challenge, another blogger is creating printables each week.)  My husband does the grocery shopping.  Trust me, I am forever grateful, but he tends to overbuy.  Sometimes I call him a hoarder.  He calls it a stockpile.  He's also not the most organized, love his heart, so if he unloads the groceries the pantry starts looking pretty rough in no time.  He looks at it more like a puzzle--just plug things in wherever they happen to fit.  Our pantry was such a mess that it was literally overflowing, and I was starting to complain.

Three shelves of nightmare.

This challenge was just what I needed to get in gear.  I knew it would be so much easier after the baby was born to have a clean and organized pantry too.  Time is precious when it comes to cooking dinner with a newborn.

  • I worked one shelf at a time so it wouldn't become overwhelming
  • I tossed expired and stale items, which frees up space
  • I wiped shelves as I went.  How does flour end up on every shelf?
  • I combined boxes and bags--you know, because the kids open two of something when they can't find the first one
  • I grouped like items together again so they're easier to locate
  • I took inventory, making mental notes of meals and snacks to prepare, especially ones that would use up that last little bit of something.  

Admittedly, I haven't been cooking as much because I'm tired and if I'm being completely honest, I keep hoping I'll be delivering a baby instead of cooking dinner . . . so it's still pretty stuffed.  It's a work in progress, but at least I know what we have and where it's at.  The husband did admit he doesn't need to do any shopping for awhile, so that was a win.

After I tackled the pantry, I moved down to the rolling cart that was underneath.  It was full of spices and randomness.

Behind it was a bunch of "just in case" paper bags and some type of small appliance that we never used.  It was all disposed of so I could make room for jars of pasta sauce and bottles of juice for the kids--things that were previously in the corner of the kitchen waiting for a home.

I went through all the herbs and spices, tossed out the old and organized them the best I could.  The husband likes to bake and cook, and we love to try new recipes, so there's quite a bit of variety, but we do use it all.

Now, all of the food is in its rightful place, or as close as it can get for now.  It could be neater and more organized, but frankly this was an on-and-off all day project for someone that was too close to 40 weeks pregnant for comfort.  I did what I could, and hopefully we will continue to work on it as we go.

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