Author: thedomesticteacher

November Pinterest Collection

I love  Pinterest. Okay, that is an understatement…. I freaking LOVE Pinterst. It appeals to the  crafty,  organizational, DIY, visual person in me. So, I’ve decided  to do a monthly Pinterst board full of things I love that pertain to that month. I will feature a few things that I’ve either done myself, or are my favorite ( and want to do) here below. Then I will link you to the rest to check out and don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest. Also, feel free to comment below on what your Pinterest favs are for the  month, and if you have a board I would like to follow. Happy pinning!

I absolutely adore this! I am always trying to think of new and simple ways I can decorate my fireplace, especially for my favorite season.

This set up is super simple and can be done with things you already own!

This is one that I have on my thanksgiving table to do this year. All dollar store finds for a quick DIY!

This one really captured my attention because for one, it’s completely my style…. for two, I have a wood burning tool I bought on super clearance a couple years ago that I need to utilize finally !!

If you really interested in more fun fall decor, check out my Pinterest page here!

Is it Really Fall Already?!

Not sure where the time went but we have been having a blast so far this fall! Between school events, decorating, family fun, and costume making for Halloween, we have been staying busy. We have  a few traditions around here and one of them is going to the local farms here, including Lattin’s Cider Mill for their Apple Festival every year from the last weekend in September until the last weekend in October. There’s a petting zoo, pumpkin patch, hay rides, train rides, homemade cider they make on site with locally grown apples. Here are a few shots from Lattin’s.

 

Feeding the goats…

I just wanted to take him home!! <3

We had school and martial arts Halloween events…… which of course many things overlapped and everyone wants to do everything! With three kids…. we had to divide and conquer…


Baby brother went with us to the school’s  Fall Festival.

Entertaining baby brother while big sister was at a birthday party at the children’s museum and big brother was competing in a taekwondo competition.

He took Bronze in all three events: poomse, boars breaking, and sparring.

Field trip day for big sister class at Schilters Family farm. I posted a few pictures from there on my Instagram. It  was a perfect gloomy, chilly, no rain kind of fall day. It is very gorgeous out there at the farm!

And of course we had pumpkin carving the day before Halloween. Husband picked this one up at Home Depot. It’s so creepy looking he had to  grab it!

All the other pumpkins for the kids. From left to right… Baby brother, big brother, big sister.


The big Kids in their homemade robot costumes !

I hope everyone else had a Happy October. Here’s to a fun fall November!

3 Summer Desserts with 5 Ingredients or Less!

I don’t know about you, but I have an insane sweet tooth, and so does my family! Traditional ice cream and other yummy desserts are not healthy and just invite a large bill from your dentist. So I thought I would share some of my favorite healthy dessert recipes that are still sweet and yummy, but pack in the vitamins instead of the refined sugar. Enjoy!

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1. Banana Nice Cream
5-6 frozen bananas (if your bananas arent frozen, add them in room temp and then add ice)
1/2 – 1 cup Vanilla Almond Milk
sliced fruit or nuts (optional)

I take my Vitamix, (I use one like this) toss in the bananas, half the milk and start blending. I add in more milk as needed until you reach ice cream consistency. That’s it! 

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2. Raw Chocolate Pudding
2 avocados (pitted and scraped)
2T maple syrup
2T cacao powder
1/2t vanilla extract
1/4c filtered water
chopped nuts (optional)
sliced fruit like raspberries (optional)

Grab your Vitamix, toss everything in and whip till smooth. Put it in the fridge for a hour or so until nice and chilled. Add toppings if desired!

3. Cacao No-Bake Chocolate Bites
1/2 cup almonds
1 cup medjool dates (pitted)
1T cacao powder

Blend through almonds in a food processor. Add in dates and cacao powder and blend again. The mixture should be sticky. Take a tablespoon or two and roll them in between your hands to form ball shapes. (Tip: wet your hands with water if the mixture starts to stick) All done! I’d you would like, our can roll the bites in coconut flakes or chopped nuts!

I love these recipes because they are NO BAKE. No cooking when it’s 100 degrees out, just yummy, quick healthy recipes!

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Spring Decor on a Budget!

Spring is in the air and as with any season, or holiday, my kids love to decorate accordingly. The problem is, all this decorating can get expensive! Also, quite honestly…I just don’t have the time to go to some crazy place like Home Goods or Pier 1 (plus ouch on the wallet!) and pick out something fancy. I have kids, three in fact, and I have limited time, money, and patience to deal with all that crazy. So I will let you in on a little secret…I am a party supply hoarder. It’s true. I hoard birthday supplies, unused balloons, used tissue paper, bags, the rest of the plates, napkins, cutlery, and cups no one touches from the end of the party. If I have to buy supplies for a birthday party, I always prepare for the max amount of people but we all know not that many guests actually end up coming, 9 times out of 10. So I save it all in a large (organized) tote that hangs out in my garage neatly on a shelf. What that means for me is when my daughter insists we FINALLY take down the winter wreath a few weeks ago and put something ‘pretty’ and ‘springy’ up…I needed a quick (and cheap) plan.

Enter my party supply tote. I have all sorts of fabric flowers in there from doing her Butterfly Garden themed 4th birthday party from over a year ago, a basket with foam in the bottom that I has used for fall that I don’t use anymore-the kind that is flat on one side, perfect for hanging on the front of my house, and some wire cutters from hubby’s workbench. I let her pick out a few bunches, many which were unused because when things are a dollar (hello Dollar Tree), we may get a little crazy with the craft supplies, and set to work cutting off the bottoms and letting the kids stick them in where ever they wanted in the basket until it was all filled up.

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Mommy OCD may have kicked in a bit and when they weren’t looking…I just may have rearranged them just a bit. Or maybe just a tiny bit more than a little bit. 🙂

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And there I had it! A free (or cheap) flower basket to hang on the front of my house after I finally took down the winter one. I now feel slightly less behind on everything else now that the front of my house officially shouts SPRING!

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Netflix…For Homeschooling? Absolutely!

I am not one of those parents that sit my kids in front of the TV all day and let them be however, I am also not on the other extreme who doesn’t let their children have any TV time at all because I feel technology can be a useful educational tool. Besides entertainment, which is what most people use TV for, television can be useful especially with a little known service named Netflix. My oldest is almost 10, and he thoroughly enjoys learning about history from documentaries such as The Men Who Built America and science facts with shows like Planet Earth and Frozen Planet. They are great ways to have a textbook essentially come alive! My son was not a kid that particularly loved to read so for him, soaking up all the informational text in an animated way, was crucial to him learning as well as he does with Netflix. And at not quite $9 a month, it really is a steal!

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Here is a list of our favorite titles that we have either already used or will be using for either or both my homeschoolers*:

Science

Sid the Science Kid
Bill Nye the Science Guy
Planet Earth
The Blue Planet
Human Planet
Frozen Planet
Wildest Islands
Frozen Planet: an epic journey
Human Planet: behind the lens
Frozen Planet: on thin ice
Our Planet
Schoolhouse Rocks: Earth
Tesla: Master of Lightening
NOVA: Decoding Neanderthals
NOVA: Bigger than T. Rex
NOVA: Emperor’s Ghost Army
Life
The Wildebeest Migration

History

The Roosevelts-An Intimate History
JFK: A President Betrayed
Last Days in Vietnam
Navy SEALs: Their Untold Story
NOVA: First Air War
NOVA: Rise of the Drones
NOVA: Ground Zero Supertower
First Man on the Moon
Henry Ford
Hitler and the Nazis
Ken Burns: Prohibition
Ken Burns: The West
The Pyramid Code
Marco Polo: One Hundred Eyes

*Please note that some of these titles are not suited for a younger audience such as elementary school aged kids. Some documentaries are more suited for high schoolers. Please use your best parental judgement 🙂

So as you can see there is a ton of amazing resources right at your fingertips from something your family is already paying for and using! How we implement it is if there is a day we need to fill, or a super busy day with doctors appointments or anything else that comes up last minutes, I will simply find a video that correlates to what we are already learning and let them watch that as a nice supplement. For some reason if there isn’t one, then I give my child(ren) a choice of what they would like to watch to help encourage their love of history and science. Sometimes there is a subject that my son has been really eager to learn about in history, and we simply haven’t reached that unit yet. Why not let him dive right in!? That is the beauty of homeschool after all, you do not have to always go ‘in order’ for every subject. Besides, it’s fun to let them be excited about what they want to learn and be able to easily provide that for them.

So the next time you need a little something extra for history or science, go ahead and let them splurge with some educational screen time. And don’t forget to watch it too…they really are great movies!

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Happy Earth Day…from Poofy Organics!

ONE DAY ONLY - Earth Day 2016 Sale!
ONE DAY ONLY – Earth Day 2016 Sale!

 

In conjunction with writing about family things, I always like to have a natural-mindedness about it. I enjoy things that are toxin free, organic, and safe for our environment. Which is why I love Poofy Organics so much! You would not believe the ‘organic’ companies out there that are actually ‘greenwashers’ and not as safe as they claim. And I don’t just love this company because yes, (full disclosure) I sell their products…but I love them because of what they stand for. They are a small family owned business that is starting to make big headway because people are noticing what they are all about! Most of their products are Certified Organic, and the ones that aren’t..have every ingredient that is offered certified organic, in their ingredient list! In fact, they JUST passed their USDA Certification yet AGAIN!

We pass USDA Certification every year!
We pass USDA Certification every year!

The products truly speak for themselves because not only do they list ingredients for EVERY product but they have full transparency and are always more than happy to explain why they use or won’t use, certain ingredients. All of their products are gluten free, cruelty free, and even for their packing they use recyclable and biodegradable packaging.

jolenemm.poofyorganics.com
We have SAFE cosmetics with a plethora of     options for you in foundation, concealer, lipstick, lipgloss, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and more!
A mascara that is actually TOXIN-FREE!
A mascara that is actually TOXIN-FREE!

I really cannot say enough amazing things about Poofy Organics, give them a try…their ONE DAY ONLY Earth Day Sale is going on RIGHT NOW!!

For more of my product reviews for Poofy Organics, go here!

To order, go here! And thanks for your support!

Thanks everyone!

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DON'T forget to use the code !! Go here: jolenemm.poofyorganics.com
DON’T forget to use the code !!
                     Go here: jolenemm.poofyorganics.com

Hello Busy Life!

Wow, you guys! It has been pretty much pure insanity over at my house for the last few months. I’m going to give you a little recap and share some fun photos of what has been happening and catch you up!

First up we had Advanced Green Belt testing for my oldest son.

Passed his Advanced Green Belt test
Passed his Advanced Green Belt test

My daughter is on a Tiny Team at Gymnastics and she bumped up to Level 1…and soon Level 2 next month which means she gets to compete (I swear I need to clone myself).

Practicing handstands outside.
Practicing handstands outside.

This mama got a perfect score and was awarded an Excellence Award for Research Writing from my college Western Governors University-love that school, for a paper I wrote titled: Gifted Education: The Leisurely Evolution. As a side note, I wish they would have written that instead of “Task 1”. Oh well, I’ll have to write them a suggestion ticket, lol.

My award. #proudmoment
My award. #proudmoment

I have been applying for graduate school…MFA in Creative Writing! I have been busting my tail getting all of my admissions papers in, personal essays in, critical essays, AND a creative manuscript…into their hot little hands so I can see if I am already good enough to get into an writing program to make me better. Craziness.

Homeschool has happened..mostly. My oldest is taking the full amount of credits he can at the co-op program by our house and he is loving it. He is excited about going because he chooses what he takes and when. That leaves him time for all the in depth math and science he wants to do. It’s a win for everyone. My daughter is still doing her preschool co-op class once a week, which I teach in every other month. My tot…he just comes along for the ride!

Messing with the numbers...do you see which ones were switched? :D
Messing with the numbers…do you see which ones were switched? 😀

 

Art time!
Art time!

 

The big kid working on math.
The big kid working on math.

 

Learning multiplication with a checkers board and glass beads. Improvising!!
Learning multiplication with a checkers board and glass beads. Improvising!!

Let’s see….I have been making and selling my latest fun craft project: Waldorf Hand Kites. They are made of natural, unfinished birch and pretty double sided satin ribbon…all USA made materials. And they are gorgeous (if I do say so myself!). I will be selling them on etsy very soon along with another blogging mama over at EcoFriendlyMamaUSA.com!

USA Made Handmade Waldorf Hand Kites. I love these so much!
USA Made Handmade Waldorf Hand Kites. I love these so much!

And lastly, we have been enjoying some amazing family time together. We have been trying to especially get outside when the rare peeks of sun happen, which is happening more and more now that we have hit mid-March! Blossom trees are in full bloom around here <3

Gorgeous blossom trees!!
Gorgeous blossom trees!!

 

Bye for now!

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Lessons From my Community

One of many views of my beautiful community.
One of many views of my beautiful community.

I took a trip to my local food co-op with my three kids a couple of nights ago…you know where this is going right? It started out as a stressful trip because we were trying to grab a few items for dinner, the toddler wasn’t having it, the preschooler was not listening, and the 9-year-old was trying to help but not really. I was thinking to myself: Get in, Get out – as quick as POSSIBLE. It didn’t exactly happen that way. Okay it didn’t happen that way at all. I walk in and put the toddler in the cart and thought that I was ready to go. Nope. He is trying to climb out any way he could and I decided it was safer for him to be out while I chose the things I needed. I asked the big kid to help by hanging out with him (the toddler has a tendency of grabbing things off the shelves…like, all the things off the shelves). I put the toddler down and he looked happy…peaceful even, just looking around. Then in a split second he turned around, grabbed the nearest thing to him, and tore it from the shelf. He happened to be a 4-pack of drinks in GLASS bottles. Ugh. Fun times. I go grab an employee…although I think they are all technically volunteers…to clean up the mess. This old man comes broom and mop in hand, and begins to clean. I apologize a million times and offer to pay for the drinks. He refuses and after I apologized again for my ‘monster toddler’ he just smiled at me and said “Hun, isn’t that what toddlers are supposed to do? Test your limits and be little monsters?” and then he just chuckled and finished cleaning up.

Lesson One: Not everyone finds your children’s actions as annoying and crazy as you do.

He was right. He was being a toddler, it was an accident, and he could see how sorry I was. He was choosing to be positive about the whole thing.

I finish grabbing the few things that I needed to get for dinner and head to the checkout line. At our food co-op, there is a (super cheap) member fee to shop there. If you do not have a member card, then you get a 10% fee tacked on. I had forgotten this as it had been the first time in about 2 years or so I had shopped there, since moving to the area. I told the guy I would like to sign up and he simply gave me the paperwork so I could take it home to fill out instead, and waived my fee since I promised to come back and get the card. I think he secretly felt bad for me since my toddler was trying to fly out of my arms while I am paying and packing my bag one handed.

Lesson Two: People do still trust other people’s word, and can have compassion while others are struggling.

As I was leaving, I bumped into an older lady and apologized to her a few times. She stops me in, lays her hand on my arm and tells me “You have nothing to be sorry for! You have your hands full. I bet you apologize all day being a mom and dealing with your kids. In this community here, you do not need to apologize. We have all been there and understand.”  I told her I did feel like I say sorry a lot as a mom and I really appreciated her for saying so. Sweetest. Lady. Ever.

Lesson Three: There are people are out there that care and understand. You do not have to apologize for everything.

It’s true, I do live in a very “hippy” area. We are a breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, organic food eating, laid back, diverse, and accepting community.  I tend to forget that with the stress and wild days with my kids. I over-apologize, over-compensate, and over-analyze what I think people are expecting from me and my children when we are out and about. I need to step back and realize that kids will be kids, most people really are just trying to help, and not everyone sees kids an inconvenience. I know I most certainly don’t! Good community is hard to come by and I am fortunate to live in an amazing one…I think it’s time to embrace it!

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Local Food Co-op, an amazing place!
Local Food Co-op, an amazing place!

GIRLS CAN! Crate Review

You know those ah-mazing subscription boxes that have been coming out? Well, I got the opportunity to review one called Girls Can! Crate and wanted to share it with all of you! Below I will explain the kit, the activities, and a little about the company. And stay tuned till the very end because for everyone reading this blog post, you get a special offer at the end!

Our kit arrived in a a recyclable box with everything we are going to need to get started!
Our kit arrived in a a recyclable box with everything we are going to need to get started!

Girls Can! Crate is a subscription box that focuses on important women in history and includes activities for you to do with your child! They include EVERYTHING you need. Besides a pencil and water for the paint, which I always have on hand, I didn’t need to go out of my way to purchase or find anything. I will tell you about the company a little later but for now, I wanted to show you what we got in our box.

We got a box that had the women: Frida Kahlo, Lois Mailou Jones, and Mary Cassatt who were famous artists, in our kit. This was absolutely the perfect box for my 4-year old daughter as she is in love with anything that has to do with art. Here is a look at the inside of the kit we received:

Everything that came in our Girls Can! Crate Kit
Everything that came in our Girls Can! Crate Kit

Inside my box there was a welcome card that addressed the grown up and told about their mission, and the importance of empowering women and supporting girls. Next there was an Activity Book, which has the story part of each historical women, in addition to some activities. There are four art activities in this kit, which you could do one per week as an art history activity. Our four activities included stain glass, flower crown headband, learning about primary and secondary colors, and a self-portrait activity. I was really excited to get started on these, as was my daughter so she did one right away!

The first activity we did was the stained glass activity where we learned about about Lois Mailou Jones!

Cutting her 'glass' for her stained glass art piece.
Cutting her ‘glass’ for her stained glass art piece.

One of the things I like best about these activities was that, while my daughter did need some help with a few components, the activities were truly designed for kids to be able to do a lot on their own. Here she was able to practice her fine motor skills, learning about shapes, and creative thinking. Here are a few more of our lesson:

Putting together her stained glass.
Putting together her stained glass.
All Done!
All Done!

Our second lesson was learning about Frida Kahlo. This one was especially fun for my daughter because she enjoys playing make believe and dress up, so this had an extra special component for her.

Putting together her flower crown.
Putting together her flower crown.
As you can see, she loved it so much, she wore it around at co-op this day. She got a lot of compliments from both the high school kids and the moms!
As you can see, she loved it so much, she wore it around at co-op this day. She got a lot of compliments from both the high school kids and the moms!

The last painter we learned about was Marty Cassatt. We did a primary/secondary color mixing activity which was the perfect lesson leading into the final project.

Color mixing activity where we learned about primary and secondary colors.
Color mixing activity where we learned about primary and secondary colors. (See the baby toes? Lol)

The final project, and probably my daughter’s absolute favorite, was the self portrait painting. Again, Girls Can! Crate provided everything we needed from the paints, paintbrush, and even the canvas itself!

My daughter painting her self portrait.
My daughter painting her self portrait.

My Thoughts…

I will say that this crate is truly remarkable and I thoroughly enjoyed how thoughtful and well laid out the kit was. It provided me with my initial tools in the ‘tool kit’ which contained scissors and markers, which I get to keep for future kits. They provide this in your first kit as almost all the activities will need either or both of these items. Everything was clearly labeled, and I did not have to go searching for items as each activity was neatly packed in its own bag. I felt all of the activities were most certainly appropriate for their suggested age of 4-8 but, I feel that if you had an advanced 3 year old it would work for them as well as older kids if you chose to do extension activities. I also wanted to point out that while this is geared mainly towards girls, I think that boys would absolutely get so much out of this kit as well!

Another great thing about this kit is that it comes with four activities. As a homeschool mom, that could mean that my kids are doing an art history enrichment lesson once a week…and the best part is that it’s already prepped. The written material is already there, the hands on activity materials are already there, and it can easily be taught to multiple ages and both genders to make your life even easier!

About the Company

The company was founded by four women who wanted to inspire young girls and empower them. From their site:

“Our GIRLS CAN! CRATES are thoughtfully designed by experts in order to encourage a love of science, math, engineering, and technology, foster creativity, self-expression and curiosity, and support literacy development. Even more important, though, our GIRLS CAN! CRATES are designed to empower girls to grow more fearless, just and loving!”

In addition, Girls Can! Crate donates 10% of all proceeds towards nonprofit organizations that work to empower girls. When you go to check out with your subscription choice you get the option to choose from 3 nonprofits: GEMS, Days for Girls International, and SheHeros. You can read more about them here.

I also want to mention…they do everything in house. They do all their planning, writing, testing, putting the kits together, EVERYTHING in house. So each box is truly put together with love and perseverance. How amazing is that?!

Here’s your treat!

I know this was a bit long but I just had to show you all the fun pictures I took of my kit and us doing the activities. I wanted to point out that this would make an excellent gift…Valentines’ Day, Easter, and Birthdays are all coming up and I don’t know about you, but I am done and over with the Christmas crazy of toys! This would be an incredible gift for these special occasions! You can access the subscription options here, they start at 25.95 and have several options for you to choose from. Girls Can! Crate was generous to give us a 20% off coupon code, towards your first crate of any subscription! Just enter DOMTEACHER20 to get your savings…but hurry because it’s only good for 30 days!!!

Have any of you tried a Girls Can! Crate before? What did you enjoy most? I want to hear all about it!

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Number Matching Tutorial

I have been actively creating some fun learning games for my 3 year old to play with, while her brother and I work on lessons. Normally she joins us on learning whatever we are learning on some level however, there are some things such as long multiplication that a three-year-old is simply not going to be able to do. For these lessons I bring out “The Preschool Bucket”. In this bucket are many choices of letter/word games as well as number/counting games that she can do on her own. Below I am showing you our Number Matching game and a tutorial on how to do it!

Number Matching Tutorial

domesticteacher.com

1. You will need a few supplies. I have red felt, a piece of scrapbook cardstock paper, a permanent marker, and a small glass cup for measurement. I’d say the cup makes my circles about 3-3.5″ in diameter.

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2. Take the glass cup and trace circles in a bowling type pattern and number them. Take the glass cup and do the same on the felt. Add numbers on one side and the number word on the other side. Cut out your felt circles.

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3. And that’s it! This is what it looks like when it is all finished! You can have your child match the numbers to numbers OR for an added challenge, you can have them match the number words to the numbers. For storage I simply throw the felt pieces in a baggie and clip it to the scrapbook paper with a clothespin and throw it in our Preschool Bucket!

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4. My little preschooler playing!

Hope you have enjoyed this tutorial! I will be publishing several more easy preschool learning tutorials for you to make for your toddler/preschooler!

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