Thursday, June 28, 2012

For the Public School Teachers

I have several friends who teach public school and I thought it would be fun to make a few things just for them.  Right now I am working on a Planner Cover, Reports Cover, and Name Tags to go on desks.  I have 2 different styles available but plan to make more if more are requested.  I hope to create pages to go in the binders as well.  I would love to have a tester of these products so if you are willing and want to test them for me, let me know!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Charlie Church Mouse Review

When I was purchasing the 2012-2013 Curriculum I ran across this cute PC game titled Charlie Church Mouse.  It was cheap and a great value at under $4 for the combo pack!  I had never heard of it before but thought it couldn't be too bad considering the price.  Today was the first time that it has really been played.  The PC has not been in working order since the classroom revamp so as soon as it was ready to go today, N was ready to play.  The first game on his list was the new Charlie Church Mouse PreK.  Here are my thoughts...

  • Great price!
  • Age Appropriate Lessons -We started with Level 1, of course, and there were 6 different games to chose from.  N's first game was Noah's Ark.  He had the task of choosing the correct animal to load onto the ark for Noah.  It was very cute.  Then he moved on to Creation.  That lesson was a bit more involved. He had a shape puzzle to put together to make a picture of what was created on the given day. He really enjoyed that.
  • Cute Childish Graphics- The graphics are very cute and captivating for children.  N was instantly taken in by Charlie.  He liked the way he talked and the bright colors he wore.
  • Independent Play- N was able to navigate the game independently.  I just inserted the disk and he was off and playing without my help!  How awesome is that?
  • Fun activities to go along with the game!
I think that this game is adorable and I have a feeling that it will be a fun addition to our routines.  S will be testing out the K and Early Education games later this week and I will let you know her opinion on those as soon as she has gotten a chance to try them out.  I DO recommend this game for small children who are able to correctly use the mouse.  It requires very little guidance from mom so you can do something else while your child is learning.  

You can download a sample of Charlie Church Mouse HERE.
You can download free activities to go along with the game HERE.

This review is MY opinion.  I was NOT paid for this review nor was I given anything in return for the review.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I am not a schedule person.  I don't like having a set time for something to do.  Instead I like knowing what comes next.  I do much better with time management if I have lists.  So, I decided to revert back to my FlyBaby days.  Have you heard of FlyLady?  She changed my life.  No really, she did.  Reading her book, Sink Reflections, opened my eyes to what I need to do to bless myself and my family.  (I should really read that book again!)  She lays things out in routines and it clicked.  I decided today that I needed to establish some good routines.  Now, I do have a routine I follow most every morning but I am still losing hours during the day.  She suggests making a Before Bed Routine.  Genius!  So I got started.  I wrote down all of the things I need to do in the evening.  This is my list...

  •        Kitchen – Clean it and get it ready for tomorrow.
  •      Classroom – Clean it and get it ready for tomorrow.
  •      Check Calendar/Planner for Tomorrow
  •      Load Workboxes for Tomorrow
  •      Start To-Do List for Tomorrow
  •      Gather/Sort Laundry for Tomorrow
  •      What is for Breakfast Tomorrow?
  •      What is for Supper Tomorrow? – Lay out meat if needed.
  •      Lay Out Kids Clothes for Tomorrow
  •      Lay Out My Clothes for Tomorrow
  •      Brush Teeth
  •      Shower
  •      Get in Jammies!!!
  •      The Day is Done!  Reflect.  
WOW!  I have so much that I need to get done before I start the next day.  If I can see it and can check it off then I will be sure to get it done.  Right?! If those things are done and ready to go for the next day, the next day is sure to go much more smoothly. 

Then I thought about the things I need to get done in the morning.  I made a list.  Here is what it looks like...   

  •      Make Bed
  •  Dress
  •      Start Day’s Laundry – Check Chart (Yes I made myself a chart.  Big surprise, huh?!)
  •      Exercise
  •       Bible Study
  •      Wake Kids – Get them going
  •      Breakfast
  •      Dishes
  •      Check Laundry
  •      Start the To-Do List and Complete
Not near as bad as the Before Bed list.  I will still need to write down my To-Do list for that day.  Things like what to wash that day, what to vacuum, etc...  Yeah, I need a list for those things too.  I need a paper trail to hold myself accountable.  It really helps me to see what I have to do next and know what has been accomplished that day.  My hope is that by starting to do these things each day I will be on the path to a better me!  A better me means a better home.  You know the saying "If momma ain't happy, ain't no body happy."  well it is very true in my home.  I am taking ME back and getting going on this new routine NOW before school starts back this fall and I am lost in what to do next.

What do you do to prepare for the next day?  Are you a list maker?  Do you have a routine in place?  What does it look like?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Character Chart

I created this Character Chart completely out of necessity.  It is summer time here and my children are fighting like cats and dogs and neither is showing good character.  I decided it was time to do something about that.  A friend directed me to her Facebook page after she had talked about facing some of the same issues with her children that I was facing.  I saw that another woman did something like this and I loved the idea. 

My thought behind this is that Character, unlike rewards, cannot be taken away.  Children earn a mark/sticker for each time they show good character.  Those marks/stickers cannot be taken back. 
Discuss with your children ways that they can show good character at home FIRST.  Here are some examples…

-Sharing a new toy with their sibling. 
-Skipping a turn at a favorite video game so that the other can go again.
-Playing a different game or starting a new activity that someone else wants to play even if they do not want to.
-Helping set the dinner table without being asked.
-Finishing their to-do list each day without complaining.

Then move into areas outside the home where they can show good character.  I believe that starting at home will spill over into other areas of their life.
My hope is that this will teach my children they are responsible for how they treat others and how they are looked upon by others.  After the chart is filled in my children get to pick a prize.  They can go to the movies, pick a new inexpensive toy or what have you.  You can reward your child however you see fit.  I also plan to do a unit on character and humility to go along with this so it is more than just a way to get something new. 

Download your copy HERE for free off of Google Docs.  Please make sure that you become a follower of the blog and that you "like" our Facebook Page and share this with your friends before you save the chart.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Life Verse

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3: 5-6

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Attitude Adjustment

We have been struggling for weeks with S and her attitude.  She is whiny, hateful, and very argumentative.  We have experimented with different punishments and parenting styles.  I never dreamed that the answer would come in the form of a bottle and brush!

Last week the kids got the opportunity to pick out a new toy from Walmart for good behavior and for helping with chores.  (This is their first new toy since Christmas.) N knew exactly what he wanted.  He got some BeyBlades and a stadium.  S on the other hand wasn't sure of what she wanted.  Recently she has developed a taste for art, specifically painting.  She found a set of acrylic paints, paint brushes and canvas paper.  A great start for sure!  She came home and got started painting.  I could tell a difference in her demeanor within a few hours.  She lost herself completely in her painting.  Over the next few weeks she earned a bit of money.  The first thing she wanted to do was head out to Hobby Lobby and purchase some more paint.  She chose a few new colors and a cute little paper pad to use as well.  The paper pad was $1.99 and then was 40% off SCORE!  She has been painting up a storm.  We have some ground rules though.

1. She has to be respectful of us before she gets to start.
2. She has to have all of her chores done first.
3. When she is done painting she is responsible for cleaning her paint pallets, brushes, and drying them.

If she continues to do those things she will earn more paints and canvases.  Who knows, this may turn into something big for her.  She is great at it and really enjoys it.  And the plus is, it helps her attitude!

Her paint assortment (some of these have been collected over the years):

Her Father's Day present for her daddy:

Monday, June 18, 2012


I have mentioned before that I love planning.  It is my favorite part of getting things done.  I am a bit of a planner addict.  I have one that I am currently using that I LOVE!  I am a pen to paper kind of girl.  It is called Mom's Tool Belt. I love the day to day part.  It is what I use the most often.  It is completely editable and trust me, I need editable.  I moved things around and added a work area and took out the exercise area and replaced it with a blog section.  (After seeing myself in the mirror I am thinking I should add the exercise part back in! lol)

After I started using the planner the one thing that I didn't like was that it is a lot of black and white.  I thought about printing it off with color in it but I don't like using a lot of color ink.  My very clever hubby had a great solution for me - highlighters!  We set off to the store to find some in a variety of colors and I found - are you ready for it? - erasable highlighters!!!  Genius!  I had no idea they even made such a thing.  I use different colors for different blocks with no real rhym or reason.  I just thought that they add a pretty spash of color.  I guess I could color code things but I really like the colorfulness of my planner.

I do not use this planner for our school, though.  I have created my own workbox planner/schedule that I will use to keep up with what I need to put in workboxes each night and I have subscribed to My Well Planned Day software by Home Educating Family.  It is still in the Beta stages so I haven't gotten a lot done with it.  I cannot wait for the full version to be ready.  It will come with apps and hand scheduling for the entire family on our online devices.  Last year I used the Well Planned Day paper planner.  It didn't work very well for me.  I found that if we missed a day of work it threw a wrench in everything. I didn't like having to erase and move everything.  The new software will allow me to drag and drop our lessons so if something is missed we just move it over and keep right on trucking.  Great solution!  There are however, lots and lots of moms that swear by the paper planner.  I would love to get their binder to keep my planner and important papers in soon, though.  It looks amazing!

For my to-do lists I use a standard spiral notebook and jot down my to-do's and rip them off at the end of the day to start fresh.

What do you use for your planning?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Worth Reading

A dear friend posted a blog post that really touched my heart and said everything that I have been wanting to say.  Take a moment to read her post entitled I love you.  Do you love me? It may be just what you are needing right now, too.  Thank, Kim for such a great post.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Proverbs 31

I have been doing a bible study by Women Living Well in conjunction with Good Morning Girls about the Proverbs 31 Woman.  I am really enjoying this study.  I am learning so much about myself.  We are on week 5.  So far I have learned that the Proverbs 31 Woman is frugal.  She works eagerly.  She considers all of her purchases.  She goes to bed after all of her work is done and gets up while it is still dark outside.  This woman is amazing.  This woman is everything I long to be as a wife and mother.  She is so strong and loves her family before herself.  I am not sure that I could ever come close to being that woman.    I LOVE sleeping in.  I am often an impulse shopper.  Now, don't get me wrong.  It isn't on big purchases.  Normally it is $5 here and $10 there but that adds up quickly.  I wonder what I could do with that money from those purchases that would benefit my family.  Am I spending my time in ways that would benefit my family.  Time is just as precious as money.  If I don't spend my time well then what will suffer?  I am trying to make some changes in my life.  Big changes.  My personal goal is to go to bed with my husband and wake up with him.  I think that is a great use of my time!  I have stopped taking new clients in my design business so that I am free more during the day to be with my kids.  Another great use of my time!  When I wake up early I get an earlier start to my day.  I can spend more time getting laundry done and the house cleaned.  Another great use of my time!  When I am working I am trying to work eagerly.  I try to work with joy in my heart. I am trying to see the silver lining.  I am trying to pray with thanksgiving for each mundane task.  When I was dishes I try to remember that the dishes are dirty because I had food to feed my family.  When clothes are dirty I have to keep in mind that we had clean clothes to wear.  There are so many people that have none of those things.  I am blessed.  It is up to me to decide how I want to use that blessing.  How do you chose to be a Proverbs 31 Woman?

Follow Him,

Monday, June 11, 2012

Life Changes

For months now I have been praying about what I should give up.  My plate is full and over flowing.  I am stretched thin.  Going to bed in the wee hours of the morning.  Sitting at the computer all day long working on logo's and branding packages.  Recently my hand has been hurting.  My middle 2 fingers up to my elbow.  Pain, I tell you.  Keep me up at night pain.  I talked to my mother-in-law and she said that is exactly how carpal tunnel starts.  WHAT?!  I am 28 in my 20's. I am too young to be worrying about things like that.  Hubby and I talked things over.  We have mulled, figured, and budgeted.  This last weekend (our 9 year anniversary weekend) we revisited the subject of what I should cut out.  We decided that it is time for me to stop taking on new clients in my business.  Last night he and I were talking about the impact that it is going to have on our family and my 6 year old chimed in.  She was delighted that I will no longer be working like I was before.  She said that she is excited that I will be spending more time with her and her brother.  That sealed the deal for me. That took away any doubt that I had about staying open or not.  It is time.  Today I made the announcement, sent out emails, and feel about 20 pounds lighter.  I cannot believe that I feel like such a burden has been lifted from me. I have faith that God will send me what I need and show me where I need to go.  He led me to open Tatorbug Creations and He showed me that it was time to close.  This is where I am following right now.
Follow Him,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How to Teach Your Kids to Clean

It looks like I am going to point you from my blog right to another but this FREE ebook is too good to pass up!  Go check out FiveJ's blog post about her friend, Dana - A Slob Comes Clean, ebook.  I just downloaded my own copy and have been looking it over.  It looks G.R.E.A.T!  I am going to be putting it to good use right here in my own home.  Make sure that you claim yours.

Do you have any tips on how to get your children to clean?  I am ALL ears!  :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I have been waiting for months and months to purchase the new My Well Planed Day planner from Home Educating Family.  Last night the Beta went live.  I stalked their website and Facebook pages for hours yesterday to get my subscription.  I was able to purchase around 12am ET last night.  I walked through the setup wizard and then chose my style...

I am still feeling my way around the site and so far I love it!  I am not able to save my lesson plans or input info into the calendar but for now I am able to input our home library books and all of our curriculum and assign them...

I look forward to being able to upload our units and getting reports together.  The release date is set for August at which time the program will go to full price, $65.  For right now, though, you can purchase the program for $40, get 2 moths free AND will be able to resubscribe next year for only $40!  That is an amazing price if you consider what all this includes.  The program is completely cloud based which means that you can access your planner from any device that is internet ready.  You will be able to make changes and input information from those devices as well.  You are not tied to a specific computer or have to carry a planner around all of the time.  Most of us have smart phones and tablets that are continually with us. Your subscription includes all upgrades and new features that they add along the way.  I believe this program is going to prove to be the best in it's class and I look forward to getting to know it better!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Books at Bedtime

My children love books.  They love to be read to.  So I am very surprised that the thought to use audio books had never occurred to me before.  The idea came from a blog post by Our Busy Homeschool a few months back.  I got to looking online for books that are free and easy to use.  I discovered a great website!  Great, I tell you!  Books Should Be Free - no, really, that is the name of the website, and I couldn't agree more.  Books should be free!  The kids are currently listening to Black Beauty.  The kids are genuinely loving this book.  The woman who reads it has a wonderful accent and a soothing voice.  Generally they are out after about 1 1/2 chapters.  I haven't decided what book(s) we will do next.  I will have to go through all of them and see what will be best for their ages.

Do you enjoy audio books?  Are there other sites you can recommend?  What are some good books you have read/listened to?