Our Days/Weeks

Posted by  | Wednesday, March 17, 2010  at 1:54 PM  
I hope you like pictures because this post has a few! I thought I'd do a post similar to Hollie's that includes a random sampling of activities and things we like to do on a typical day. All of these pictures were taken within the last week, so they are relevant to what we're doing now! There will also be some overlap from last week's post on Toddler Activities. I had a few questions I thought I'd answer here.

Before I jump in to our days...the first picture above shows what I mentioned before about how I do stickers with my toddlers. I really thought a picture helped explain this. You can see how there is no background around each sticker and Ava is able to easily pick the sticker off! I thought this was the best trick ever when I learned it while teaching 2 year olds at church!

When thinking about our day, I generally separate it into morning, lunch, nap, afternoon, dinner, bed. Our mornings are the most "organized" with specific things I like to accomplish. Lunch and nap are standard and afternoon and dinner depend on what we have planned for the evening. Mornings might consist of free play inside, table time activities, trips to the library or museum, quiet play time in their beds, outside play time or a video.

Adeline loves to play in the beans. LOVES them! She could scoop and pour for hours.

This is one idea of a preschool activity I have for Will. I found the idea here and he liked it a lot! You can see that he has to count all of the dots on the domino and "park" in the right location. It subtly teaches addition because as he is counting up to 4, he sees that there is a 3 and a 1 - even if he doesn't realize that yet!
This is what outside play time often looks like when Adeline finds the potting soil.

We also love going to the museums and library. This was taken last week when we went to the NC Museum of Natural Science. I haven't taken the kids in a long time and they really loved it. It's free and even though we have a membership to the Life and Science Museum in Durham - I love both, really. Will particularly liked the green snakes and meeting the animals during a program we went to.
Here is another activity Will did recently which was a little difficult for him. I used pony beads to make color patterns on these pipe cleaners and asked him to copy the pattern. He struggled, but worked through it. We'll definitely be doing some more pattern activities...

And this girl could string pony beads onto pipe cleaners forever!

(Forgive the quality of these pics - my sweet hubby took them for me when I was sick on Monday!) This is another activity Will did - spelling words! I used small letter beads (bought at Walmart) and cards with a picture and the word spelled out. He used the letter beads to spell the word onto the pipe cleaner! He liked it.

And because I got some questions about it - I took pictures of the system I'm trying out for Will. It's taking up a lot of my time right now, so its very relevant to my post on "our week." Basically, its patterned off a popular homeschool method of using "workboxes." Except we use drawers. It really encourages and motivates Will to move through the activities because I space out "fun" ones with more challenging ones. He has to finish the drawers in order before moving on to the next.
Each drawer has a numbered card that he puts on the top when he is done. It really just keeps me accountable for planning out activities for him (5 new activities, 3 times a week). Once he's done the drawers, he's free to repeat ones he really liked. I do drawers for Monday, Wednesday and Friday - but leave the activities there in between. Does that make sense?

Here is what is in our drawers this week. I love these markers that I got at Michaels with a 50% coupon (otherwise these suckers are about $14!! I'd love to find a cheaper version so I can get some for the girls as well). He used these to count bears in the bear book you can see.

I got these puppet kits (thanks, Martha Stewart!) at Big Lots. He needs help with this one.

This one uses the cookie sheet to match letters. Uppercase matching with the fridge magnets and lower case with some cards I made.

A jigsaw puzzle. This is a "fun" drawer - so I left him switch the puzzle for the Mickey puzzle that he wanted to do.
Matching colors and shapes with those foam lacing beads. I'm a big fan of multipurpose items since we are limited on space - so these beads are great for us! We use them for ALL kinds of activities!

And believe it or not, other things fill my week that are not centered around my kids! Like Hollie, I love to craft and sew. I thought I'd post what that looks like for me after a reader asked this question last week,

Hollie, I would like to know how you store your sewing/craft stuff. Right now my kids share a room so I use our guest room for sewing, but in thinking about long-term, I really don't know where I will sew or craft. Any ideas?

I know she asked Hollie, but I was in the same situation so I thought I'd share. Before my daughter took our extra bedroom/office/craft storage room, I mainly stored all craft supplies in her closet. I would drag them downstairs to the kitchen table everytime I wanted to sew or craft. Not practical. Now I've added this bookshelf to our dining room. Not my favorite, but necessary at this time. My sewing machine is on top and the bookshelf's contents are hidden by two panels I sewed to match my dining room.

They velcro in place and are easily removed to reveal all the craft supplies. Aside from this, I do store kiddie craft supplies in two other locations and my fabric is in the top of my coat closet. :)

Ok, so I guess this is somewhat centered around my kids as I love to sew clothing for them. This was the first skirt I made for Adeline when she was 16 months old.

Another big part of my week is coupon clipping and coupon shopping! While the newness has worn off and I no longer take pictures of all my deals (or document them) I still clip coupons most weeks and keep up with the deals. I shop at one grocery store and after a short hiatus I've returned to the drug stores - CVS and Rite Aid - as well. Although, Walgreens is calling my name after the FREE pull-ups I scored last week... Here are some POH posts on coupons.

And lastly, I want to address a question that often comes up. SO MANY times when talking about any one of these things that fill my time - I get asked, "How do you have time to _______?" Whether its coupons, crafts, cloth diapers, blogging, tutoring, preschool, cooking from scratch etc. My answer is that you simply make time for things that are important to you! Those things will not be the same for everyone and that is OK! Mine have certainly evolved over time.

For example - when I first started coupon clipping, it took up ENORMOUS amounts of my time. As I've learned and gotten into a routine, its second nature and doesn't seem to take up much time at all. The same things goes for all of those things listed above!

And often times, I find that one thing (right now its reading about homeschooling and planning our efforts in that area) is taking up TOO MUCH of time when the rest of my house starts to look like this:

So I usually step back and refocus my efforts a little more. :) Make sure the family is fed, house is cleaned, husband is happy...and then I return to reading the book about homeschooling or looking at a blog about preschool.

For the sake of being transparent, I'd also like to confess that the cleaning schedule I blogged about here NEVER worked for me. I think it might be because our house is on the market, but I much prefer to just kind of wing it when it comes to cleaning. Sometimes I get a burst of energy and want to clean the whole house. Sometimes we have a showing and I HAVE to clean what I can quickly. Sometimes I can't take another second without vaccuming my floors. I still have a "lesson plan book" or family notebook, but it just doesn't include a cleaning schedule. :)

And that concludes the longest, most hodge-podged post EVER.

What do you feel like are your biggest struggles with managing your time on a daily and weekly basis?


Hugh & Hollie Carson said...

Ohh I love it Christina!!! I can't wait to use these ideas with my girls.

KC said...

Where do you get the ideas for the activities you put into Will's boxes? Are many of the ideas adaptable to younger kids?

A special question about playing in beans. My 16 mo old just goes nuts and spills/throws beans all over the place. Is this just b/c he is a bit young for this activity?

Karla said...

What great ideas. I need to get some organizing bins. Thanks for all you share ladies. It truly is a blessing.

Amy said...

Thank you, Christina, for answering my question about sewing storage. I really appreciate you challenging me to be more creative with my storage. Great post!

The Jones Family said...

Would you please share the preschool blogs that you read or list the websites that you get your ideas from? Thanks!

Curt, Mariah, & Carli Badura said...

I want to get some beans for scooping / pouring. I remember reading somewhere of a type of bean not to get because it is harmful to handle uncooked and now don't remember where I read it. What kind do you use?

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