Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Cleaning

Okay, Mom confession time: My housework is constantly neglected. Since I became a mom, my babies' needs have always come first, and the housework comes second. If I were to be totally honest, I'd have to say that my girls needs come first and the housework, almost never. This is because my girls are 3 years and 17 months and they both have constant needs. And also because I really hate housework. If I do a load of dishes and the girls can walk across the living room floor without tripping, I feel like I'm having a good cleaning day. I have a laundry folding day about once a can imagine the pile of laundry that accumulates in that amount of time. We call it our "laundry monster". It lives in our basement. I consider "deep cleaning" when I dust and clean the bathroom. I am ashamed to admit how often I do that.

My house has not been properly organized or scrubbed down since we moved in and did the initial scrub down and unpacking 15 months ago.

For about 30 seconds back in March, I had the idea that I should probably do some spring cleaning. Then it occurred to me that with the amount of dirt, mud, sand, bugs and grime that my kids were going to track in during the spring and summer, not to mention all the outdoor painting and shaving cream activities we do that don't actually end up staying outdoors, doing any kind of extra cleaning would be pointless. The best time for me to do some hardcore cleaning is in the fall, when we've had a full spring and summer of outdoor play, and as the weather gets cooler that means we'll spend more and more time cozy and warm indoors with our lessons, games, activities, crafts, dance parties, puzzles, books, movies and baking.

I put together a list of everything that needs to be done to achieve a spotlessly clean, totally organized home and separated it into 16 manageable days worth of cleaning. I am giving myself the end of October and almost the entire month of November to do this (my goal is to have it done before Thanksgiving!). I am the mom of two toddlers. So I am realistically give myself 30 days to do 16 days worth of cleaning. Maybe I'll clean like crazy for 8 days, take a full week off, then clean for another 8 days straight. Or maybe I'll have a cleaning day every other day for the entire month of November. However it ends up working out (according to my girls' needs), by Thanksgiving, my house will be spotless and ready for Christmas decorating!

I have also put the list together in such a way that each day's task can be achieved during nap time. Or during a Disney movie. Or during nap time and a Disney movie. Or it is something that I know the girls will love to help me with, like all the emptying and organizing closets and drawers days. My girls would spend all their time emptying out closets and drawers if I let them. Anyway, I made sure each day's cleaning would not interfere with my time with the girls and they will not feel neglected during my cleaning month.

I also realize I am being incredibly optimistic, and realistically I'll probably only get about 1/3 of the way through this list before Thanksgiving. But I'm going to give it my best shot.

Here's the list!

Day 1: KITCHEN: Organize cabinets/scrub and organize refrigerator (inside and out)
Day 2: KITCHEN: Scrub counters, floor, stove, microwave, table and chairs
Day 3: CLOSETS: Organize front, hall and bedroom closets
Day 4: BATHROOM: Organize cabinets/scrub down
Day 5: LIVING ROOM: Scrub walls and floorboards/dust/vacuum
Day 6: LIVING ROOM: Sort toys/scrub toy totes
Day 7: BEDROOM: Scrub walls and floorboards/dust/vacuum/wash bedding/organize desk and dresser
Day 8: GIRLS' ROOM: Scrub walls and floorboards/dust/vacuum/wash bedding/organize desk and dresser
Day 9: BASEMENT: Organize/finish converting to playroom
Day 10: BASEMENT: Dust/vacuums/clean bathroom
Day 11: LAUNDRY MONSTER: Fold and put away
Day 12: Sort girls' clothes that are too small


Day 13: NICE WEATHER DAY: Clean outside (toys, trash, sticks, cobwebs and dirt on house, sweep porch)
Day 14: BEN'S DAY OFF: Clean windows and blinds
Day 15: BEN'S DAY OFF: Clean ceilings and ceiling fans
Day 16: Steam clean carpet (rent steam cleaner)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sideways Bookshelf as a Toy Shelf

 This is the newest addition to the girls' bedroom. I turned a bookshelf over on it's side to store their two princess castles. It saves room and it looks adorable. I would love to invest in a couple more bookshelves to store more of their toys. I saw this on Pinterest and it's one of the best organization ideas I've tried. So fun, and the girls love it!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Alphabet Fishing

 I put this activity together for Mercedes' letter F week. I cut up big and little fish and wrote the uppercase letters A-F on the big fish and the lowercase letters a-f on the little fish. I used a paper towel roll, some yarn and a paperclip for the fishing rod. Probably the easiest fishing game to put together ever!

I rolled the couch out to the middle of the room so Mercedes could sit on one side of the "water". Emerald and I sat on the couch on the other side of the "water", and every time Mercedes "cast her line" into the "water", Emerald picked which fish we should put on the "hook". This way both girls were completely entertained by the activity.

Once all the fish had been caught, Mercedes dumped out the fish and matched the mommies with the babies.

This is basically all we did the next two days. Both girls love "fishing!"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Letter of the Week: E

Last week, our theme for preschool was the letter E.

I wrote the big and little letter E on a piece of paper and we practiced making the "e" sound.

Mercedes traced the big and little letter E on a worksheet I made for her.

She colored a letter E activity page.

She practiced the ASL sign for the letter E.

I added the big and little letter E to our flashcard collection.

She made the big letter E with elbow noodles.

We used the colored epsom salt to make the little letter e.

Mercedes loved that activity, so we also wrote her first and last name and she pointed to each e in her name.

And Mercedes filled up egg cartons with epsom salt.

We went to the library and picked out lots of books about things that begin with the letter E. Throughout the week, we learned about the earth, earthquakes, elephants, eagles, earthworms, eels, eyes and ears.

We made a truly incredible earthquake cake. Possibly the best cake I've ever eaten in my life. No joke.

The girls went through my jewelry box, sorted earrings and put the matches in egg cartons.

We were even lucky enough to discover a necklace with the letter E on it...a gift from Emerald's great grandmother I've been saving for later. Mercedes was super excited about it.

I wrote the big and little letter E on Easter eggs and Mercedes matched the baby letters with the mommy letters.

I used egg cartons and Easter eggs to hide Egg Treasures.

And the girls used the leftover colored Epsom salt to do an Epsom salt and water sensory activity in the bathtub.

Five letters have been mastered so far and we are still going strong! Mercedes is loving these activities and is constantly begging for more, and she's really learning to recognize each letter, both upper and lower case, as well as remembering their sounds. I'm so thrilled that we are off to such a great start for Mercedes' first year of homeschool preschool!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Colored Epsom Salt and Water Sensory

 After the girls were finished with their colored epsom salt sensory activity, we added an extra element of fun by playing with the salt in the bathtub with some water! The salt slowly dissolved in the water as the girls played.

 The water made the salt extra shiny and glittery.

Easter Egg Treasures

The girls were playing with Easter eggs the other day, so I filled some of them with random "treasures". Mercedes shook them to try to guess what was inside and then opened them to discover if she guessed correctly. Emerald had fun playing with the treasures once Mercedes was finished with them.

Earring Matching

Both my girls think it's a special treat to sort through my jewelry. I have an entire jewelry box full of junk jewelry I haven't touched since I was a teenager. So I taught Mercedes how to match earrings and I told her to put her favorite ones in the egg carton compartments. Emerald "helped". They both thought it was great fun.

Colored Epsom Salt Sensory

We love exploring new sensory materials. Epsom salt is cheap, fun to play with and super pretty and glittery, especially if you add a few drops of food coloring to it like we did!

Egg Shell Sensory

 I saved a huge mixing bowl full of washed egg shells and let the girls smash, crunch and stomp away! They both wore shoes to protect their feet from the slightly sharp eggshells.

There is no such thing as "too messy" at our house.

My sweet girls even offered to help clean up afterwards.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lesson 50: Shipwreck

Boat, storm and men illustrations

God had something special for Paul to do. He wanted Paul to go on a long boat ride. He wanted Paul to go very far away to tell more people about Jesus. There were lots of people on the boat. They rode on the boat for many, many days.

Then the wind blew strong. The boat rocked back and forth. The waves got big. The people were scared! The captain was scared too. The captain found land and took the boat out of the water. The people were happy. They were safe! But then the captain decided to take the boat back on the water.

Paul said, "Captain, I think we should wait until the storm is over. The wind is blowing too hard and the waves are too big." But the captain didn't listen to Paul. The people climbed back into the boat. The boat was back on the water.

The storm did not stop. The wind was strong and the waves were big. Then the boat hit a big rock! Then the boat hit more rocks! Everybody was so afraid. But Paul was not afraid. He knew that Jesus was taking care of them. Paul prayed, "Jesus, please save us. Don't let anybody get hurt."

Then the boat hit another rock. The boat was going to sink! The captain said, "Everybody get off the boat!" So the people jumped into the water. They swam until they found land. And nobody got hurt! Everybody was safe. Jesus listened to Paul. Jesus took care of all of the people!

Jesus loved Paul and took care of him. Paul went to countries all over the world. He told everybody about Jesus.

Craft ideas:
Coloring Pages

The words of this story were copied from some preschool Bible flashcards that belong to my mom (copyright by CRC Publications 1988...this is the only info I have on the cards. I'm not sure where they originally came from). I am posting this for Sunday School and homeschooling purposes only and I do not claim myself as the author of these stories.

Lesson 49: The Jailer Who Believed

Bible (Pg 398)
Illustrations (Paul, Silas, Jail and Jailer)

Paul and his friend Silas told everybody about Jesus. Bad people got mad. They put Paul and Silas in jail. The jail keeper put chains on their hands. Paul and Silas were happy. They were happy because they loved Jesus. Paul and Silas sang songs to Jesus. Jesus was in heaven, but He heard Paul and Silas sing. They made Jesus very happy.

At night, Jesus made the ground shake. The walls shook and the chains fell off Paul and Silas. They were free! They could run away if they wanted to. But they didn't. They stayed there.

The jail keeper was very afraid when the ground began to shake. He was afraid that all the prisoners would run away and he would be in big trouble. But Paul said, "Don't worry, jail keeper! We're right here. We didn't run away at all."

The jail keeper didn't understand why Paul and Silas did not run away. Then he knew. Jesus gave Paul and Silas love. Jesus gave Paul and Silas courage so they wouldn't run away. The jail keeper wanted love and courage too. He wanted to know Jesus. He said, "Paul and Silas, what do I have to do to be saved?" Paul and Silas said, "You have to believe in Jesus. You have to love Jesus."

The jail keeper was so happy! He took Paul and Silas to his house. He gave them food to eat. He said, "thank you Paul and Silas, for telling me about Jesus' love."

Paul and Silas could have run away. They could have hated the jail keeper for locking them in jail. But Jesus gave them love. Jesus wants us to love people. Even the people who are mean to us. Then we can tell them about Jesus and they can love Jesus too!

Craft ideas:
Coloring Pages

The words of this story were copied from some preschool Bible flashcards that belong to my mom (copyright by CRC Publications 1988...this is the only info I have on the cards. I'm not sure where they originally came from). I am posting this for Sunday School and homeschooling purposes only and I do not claim myself as the author of these stories.