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Going Back to Public School plus June Student Writing Prompt

May Writing Prompt (3)

It is June and for most students that means the school year is coming to an end. Also, June is the start of the Summer season which kids look forward to but parents who need to occupy the kids do not. Whether school is still going or has ended for your student, it doesn’t mean that the learning has to stop when school stops.

Danyella’s homeschooling school year ends at the end of June but she is will be going back to public school starting the end of August. We will be using the month of July to prepare for her testing back into public school. Which she is fighting every step of the way.

This decision to go back to public school was not an easy one because of Danyella’s anxiety and difficulties in Math. At home, I am able to take the time to explain the work to her but at school the teacher may not have that time to go one on one with her. I am scared she will get lost between the kids in the school especially going into 6th grade and they will be switching classes and having multiple teachers.

On the other hand, I don’t think she is truly thriving in a homeschool setting because she fights me on doing anything and everything. I have tried to find subjects that she enjoys but she loses interest. She just wants to rush rush rush through all of her computer and written work. She tries to put the minimal amount of effort into whatever she is doing and it has caused fights between her and I.

Danyella feels that she should just be unschooled and learn when and what she wants to learn. That is not my style as a homeschooling parent. Don’t get me wrong, if unschooling works for you and your family that is great but for my child she needs the structure of a school environment. If I left her to unschool, she would sit on her iPod or watch tv all day and learn nothing to succeed when she is an adult.

In New Jersey, there is no structure for homeschooling and no monitoring unlike our neighboring Pennsylvania. So, I have had to create all of her lessons and pay for all of the materials to teach her at home. That adds up just on ink and printer paper alone. Then add the monthly fee for the homeschooling school that I found for her, workbooks, field trips, projects and other things and we easily put out $2000 a year on homeschooling.

When she goes back to public school, she will be going with her best friend and back to the first elementary school she attended where the students and teachers still remember her. I know she has anxiety about this big change in both of our lives but I think going back to this school will help her with the transition.

One thing that I will continue to have Danyella do, even when she is back in public school, is daily writing prompts. I think it is important that kids have time to write everyday whether it is journal writing or prompt writing. They need that outlet to get things out. Writing prompts have been a great way to get Danyella’s creative juices going and she doesn’t realize that she tells me things through the prompts like things that she likes/dislikes. These are things that she wouldn’t just tell me if I asked her.

Here is the June Writing Prompt which is good for 3rd-5th probably even 6th graders: June Writing Prompt PDF

May Writing Prompt (2)

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Do You Need A Lifestyle Audit?

Have you Audited Your Life Lately_

I am sure most everyone has heard how you will repeat the same bad habits or cycle until you do something to change it. How do you change those habits or the cycle of life you are in? You need to evaluate and audit your lifestyle!

What is working in your life?

  • Do you love your job and it brings you happiness?
  • Do you love being a mom and taking care of your kids?
  • Do you love the hobby you participate in?
  • Do you love taking a walk everyday?
  • Do you love to take the time to read?

What isn’t working in your life?

  • Do you love your job but not your hours?
  • Do you love being a parent but need other adult interaction?
  • Do you dread going to play basketball with your league?
  • Do you look for excuses to get out of something you used to enjoy?
  • Do you avoid doing things because you know you won’t enjoy them?

These are all questions to ask yourself when you are doing a lifestyle audit!

For myself, I am a creative person so I am having the same routine everyday feels like it kills my creative brain cells. I do not thrive in that situation and end up never finding the time to be creative because I lose that drive from focusing on my routine. Its a fine line to be a creative work at home mom and have the same daily routine with kids. Evie loves having a routine where she is fed, takes her naps, baths and bedtime at the same time everyday. With holidays and summer parties, there are days where her schedule is messed with and boy do we pay for it with a baby that refuses to sleep.  With Danyella being homeschooled, she has to have a routine or she will try to get out of doing her schoolwork (common occurence with a sassy tween). So what’s a creative mom to do when her kids need a routine? Find little ways to break up my routine so I don’t get into that blah feeling and avoid my creative side like changing up how I do my day each day. Plus, I tend to end up staying awake way to late after the girls are asleep to accomplish some of those mundane chores on my list that I avoided earlier in the day.

Now it is your turn! Print out the Lifestyle Audit PDF that I created for you to take a look at what is good and bad in your life. This will help determine what you need to change and what can stay the same to make your life the best it can be for today.

Lifestyle Audit

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100 Act Of Kindness Days

healthy (2)

Danyella has been dealing with bullying and mean girls the past year so as her mother, I have been working on her self-care routine through her school work. She doesn’t realize that when I have her write a positive sentance everyday… its self care. She doesn’t realize that when I have her take 15 minutes before bed to write down her feelings…. its self care. There are many way I have incorporated self care into her homeschooling routine but self care isn’t just about what we do for ourselves.

Self care is doing things for other because it is good for our soul. It doesn’t mean you need to go all Oprah and giveaway cars, electronics or other awesome gifts (unless you can afford it). You have heard the stories of the people who start the giving lines at Starbucks where the car in front of them purchases their order for them and then it keeps on going. Or the person that surprises a child with a new bike that their parents can’t afford to buy them.

These little acts of kindness make us feel good about helping others and to see the smile on someone else’s face makes those acts completely worth it. Yes, we do need to make sure we are happy and secure in ourselves but doing things for others when they don’t know it’s coming or asking for it adds to the happiness we feel in our lives.

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It is small things like:

Giving a friend a hug when they are down

Holding a door open for a mom with kids in each arm and on each leg

Writing a letter to a soldier serving our country

Leaving a cold bottle of water for the mailman in the summer

Making a meal for someone who is ill

Donating food to a food bank

The possibilities are endless….

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Danyella and I are starting our 100 Act of Kindness Days challenge today. Each day we will find something nice to do for someone else. We will record what we did and how it helped someone else. I want to teach Danyella that among all the mean people in the world, be one of the nice people. Who wants to join us in this challenge?

Here is the pdf printable of chart we will use to keep track of our days: 100 Act of kindness Days PDF

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Easy Foil Lemon Fish Packets

img_3653This is one of my favorite fish meals to make because it is easy, yummy and it can go in my oven or on the grill in the summer. Personally, I love white fish like tilapia because it is a mild fish. Though, when it comes to my sushi, I pretty much eat any fish.

You can either get fresh fish fillets from your local fish place or grocery store’s fish section. I prefer to get the frozen fillets that are individually packaged because I can just take out how many I want at a time and not end up with leftovers that won’t be eaten. Let’s be honest, fish the next day is just not something you want to eat.

This pairs great with rice or fresh veggies or salad in the summer. I love tilapia with grilled asparagus in the summer. Plus, I use fresh herbs from my herb garden to enhance the taste of my fish. Win-Win!

Now, I can’t get Danyella, aka the sassy tween, to eat fish but she tried this and loved it. This is a huge accomplishment in my mom life!

Foil Lemon Fish Packets

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fresh, light, easy fish recipe.


Credit: kaella.net

Ingredients

  • 2-4 fish fillets
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 lemon sliced
  • 1/2 lemon for juicing
  • olive oil for foil
  • a piece of tin foil for each fillet large enough to create a packet
  • salt and pepper; to taste

Directions

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees or fire up your grill. Fold the sides of each piece of tin foil to create walls. Drizzle oil in each.
  2. Place a fillet on each piece. Sprinkle each piece with garlic, basil, parsley, salt and pepper.
  3. Squeeze lemon and place lemon slices on each fillet.
  4. Fold each packet around the fish. Set the fish in a glass or tin baking dish or place directly on your grill.
  5. Cook for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the fillets. The last 5 minutes I like to open the packets and let the lemons bake into the fish a little more.
  6. Serve with a yummy side and enjoy a nice dinner with your family.

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ABC Your Positive Life with this Gratitude Starter List

SpringInspiration

If you are anything like me, you can fall into a funk with keep a positive life all of the time. Things happen that can cause stress in your life which can lead to negative thoughts. It can be easy for your mind to get distracted by negative thoughts and forget everything we should be grateful for.

The other funk I fall into is being grateful for the same things over and over. Yes, I am thankful for my house, my children, my husband, my family etc… you get where I am going with this. Now, it is time to find the details of those general things that I am grateful for not just my kids, etc.

One way that helps me sort through these funks is to use my ABC list. This allows my brain to open up and think outside of the box for the things that I am grateful for in my life. Some of the letters make me get very creative which helps in exercising my brain as well.

Such as… A: I am grateful for apples and that my baby girl is big enough to start eating applesauce now.

You can start off with one letter a day or a few at a time. You can go in order or skip around. In the end all that matters is that you are working on your positive life and gratitude towards what is in your life.

I created the sheets in yellow and purple to brighten your day while you write, the first link is the pdf to download, the second is a jpg:

Yellow ABC’s of Gratitude

ABC's of Gratitude

Purple ABC’s of Gratitude

ABC's of Gratitude (1)

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How to Create Your Dream Bucket List

How to Start a bucket list

A bucket list is something that people have been doing for years, decades even centuries. People have written books about bucket lists and movies have been made about them even one move having the title The Bucket List. (Great movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) You might even have a mental bucket list but have yet to put those things on paper.

I think I started my first bucket list when I was 5 or 6. Any girl at that age, the top of their bucket list is Disney World or Disney Land (depending on what coast you live on). Which I accomplished when I was 22. Now, I want to take my girls to Disney to experience the wonders they offer as kids. I have always had travel locations that I want to tour on my bucket list(s). I want to tour Italy which could take a lifetime with all of the history, architecture and art that I want to enjoy. Ireland, Germany, France, England and the rest of Europe are on my list. Plus, Hawaii, the different countries in the Caribbean, Bali and other exotic locations. In more recent years, I have added a cross-country road trip to the list so that I can show the girls different landmarks in the country we live in.

Beyond travel, I have things that I want on my bucket list. Like purchasing a house is on my list. I would love to stop renting and paying someone else for the house we live in and call home. Finishing my degree is an important one on my list. Hopefully, this will happen sooner than later. I want to eventually have my tattoo on my leg finished.

Some things I have marked off my bucket list: becoming a Philadelphia Horticultural Society member, seeing Pitbull and U2 in concert, going to Las Vegas, having a girls trip with my friends, learn how to crochet (turned into a business!), learn how to screen print on clothes (so much fun!)

A bucket list gives you something to look forward to in life… goals for your future.  Your bucket list just needs to start with one thing that you want to accomplish in your life.

Here are some ideas:

Camping

Traveling to different areas

Concerts to See

Events you want to attend

Eat at a favorite restaurant

Attend an art class

Learn a new Hobby

Remodel a Room in your House

Start a new Self Care routine

Learn how to Bake/Cook

and the list is endless!

This Bucket List list can help you kick start your bucket list with different areas to think about adding to your list. This is the PDF printable version: My Bucket List

My Bucket List

 

 

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Lucky Penny Picture Frame With Free Father’s Day and Graduation Printable

Lucky Penny DIY Frame

Now that Mother’s Day is over, our next concentration is Father’s Day and Graduation. This frame really can work for a holiday like Father’s Day or celebrations like Graduation or Birthdays. This DIY project is super easy and an affordable gift for a loved one.

The frame is from the dollar store and the pennies are from my wallet and savings jar. The only other thing I needed was a hot glue gun. You can use one of the printables below or have your kids make a special poster for the frame.

For the penny frame, I used a hot glue gun to glue the initial row of pennies then staggered the top row to give it a unique look. You can replace the pennies with nuts and bolts, golf tees or something else related to Dad’s hobbies.

For the Dad Printable: Father’s Day Lucky Dad Printable

Let ourchildren play

For the Graduation Printable: Happy Graduation Printable

Happy Graduation

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Mushroom Pork Chops Instant Pot Printable Recipe

One of my favorite things to eat with my dinner dishes is mushrooms. Now, I know a lot of people do not like mushrooms but there are the few of us that do like/love them. My love of mushrooms start back in grade school. During our Friday lunch breaks, we were allowed to walk downtown to the pizza place to eat (or home but most of chose to eat pizza) and I fell in love with mushrooms on my pizza. Since then, I will add mushrooms to whatever dinner meals I can which thankfully my husband likes mushrooms too.

Typically, I will add mushrooms to my chicken dishes like my Chicken Paprikash. This time, I wanted to try a new version of my mushroom gravy but I had pork chops already defrosted. Well, it couldn’t hurt to try the gravy and pork chops together… worst thing that happens is that we don’t like it and I whip up some pasta instead.

Well…. they were mouth-watering amazing! I think this is one of the best meals I have made in a long time. My husband, who doesn’t usually say much about what I make for dinner, even said how good it was. I hope that you try this out and enjoy it like my family did.

Mushroom Pork Chops Instant Pot Recipe

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A delicious mushroom gravy over pork chops made easily in the instant pot.


Credit: kaella.net

Ingredients

  • 4-6 pork chops
  • 1 1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 6 tablespoons of oil, divided in 3 and 3
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of Soy sauce
  • 2 cups of beef broth (I made my own using a bouillon paste)

Directions

  1. Set the Instant Pot to Saute, add the oil and brown the pork chops. Removed the chops and set aside. Drain the oil out of the pot.
  2. Add the other set of oil, mushrooms, onions, garlic and soy sauce. Saute until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the flour and coat all of the veggies.
  4. Add the broth slowly and continuously stir until the gravy begins to thicken. Let the gravy thicken for a few minutes.
  5. Add the pork chops back into the pot and pour the sauce over the chops.
  6. Set the Instant Pot on manual for 18 minutes. While the instant pot is creating your delish pork chops, cook your sides.
  7. Let the pork chops set a few minutes after the Instant Pot is done to continue to absorb the gravy.
  8. Plate up your chops and sides then enjoy!

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DIY Ribbon Bookmark plus May Writing Prompt Calendar

DIY Ribbon Bookmark Tutorial

Hooray its May! After a cold, snowy Winter and wet, rainy April…. we have sunshine on the first day of May! Add to that the fact that its Teach Me Tuesday and you have a near perfect day!

This week’s Teach Me Tuesday is for our readers and writers, young and old with a DIY tutorial to make ribbon bookmarks plus a writing prompt for the month of May. If you know someone (including yourself) that loses bookmarks every time they read then this is the perfect bookmark to make!

The bookmark is very cute and customizable with the type of ribbon and buttons you want to use. You can use recycled ribbon from gift boxes or other places you find ribbon. If you are like me, you find buttons everywhere but don’t know where they came from so you can use those buttons for this project. The great thing about these bookmarks is that they created so they do not slip out the books and get lost. For the May Writing Prompt, keep scrolling past the bookmark tutorial!

Supplies:

Ribbon

Buttons

Hair Tie (preferably new but you can recycle your unused ones too)

Hot Glue Gun and glue stick

Directions

  1. Cut ribbon to 12″ long or as long you want/need
  2. Place hair tie over one side of the ribbon, fold the ribbon over the tie and glue down
  3. Glue the button on the other side of the ribbon
  4. Allow the glue to dry
  5. Read and bookmark your place!

May Writing Prompt:

As a homeschooling mom, I love having Danyella write something everyday. The writing prompts are a great way to get the creative juices flowing and sometimes make her think outside of the box. In the past, we have used prompts that I have found on Pinterest. While we loved them, there was something usually missing from them. Danyella prefers to have the prompts in a calendar form which has been a great way to teach her about calendars and planning.

This May writing prompt is formatted for 2018 but can be used at any point, in any year. I hope you enjoy getting your child’s creative juices flowing and encouraging them to use their words to write something beautiful everyday of May!

Here is the PDF to print off: May Writing Prompt and the JPG:

May Writing Prompt

If you like this prompt please share the picture below to Pinterest or your favorite social media!May Writing Prompt (1)

 

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Kid’s Nickel Weekly Savings with Printable Chart

Kids Weekly NickelSavings Challenge

Having a recent birthday, Danyella has wanted to spend every penny that she was given on anything and everything. She is the same way with any allowance we give her for doing her chores. Watching Danyella react to money this way to money was concerning because she needs to learn to save money along with spending her money in a smart way.

I am all for kids spending their money on something special that they want. Like, Danyella wants a bow of her own for archery plus new dance leotards. I am willing to help pay for things that she needs but when she wants something then she needs to learn to either earn the item or earn the money to purchase the item.

For years, I have seen the money challenges for adults. Usually saving $1 or $5 at week 1 and doubling that amount every week. That is too much for Danyella and she would get frustrated and give up. She has a new fascination with coins and would rather be given coins than bills.

This is why I came up with a Nickel challenge for Kids. A nickel increase a week is reasonable for a kid. Plus, a coin is so much more fun for a kid especially when they hear the clink of the coin going into the jar. The fun things is that you can start this anytime of the year. I did break it down for 52 weeks but left spaces to keep going. By the end of 52, a child will save $68.90! To Danyella, that is like a million dollars!

Photo Mar 04, 12 58 53 PM

I purchased a $3 clear jar with a lid from Target (LOVE LOVE LOVE Target’s dollar section!) so that Danyella can see her savings grow. The jar will be kept on our Dining Room hutch so that she won’t be touching and taking any of the money out without our permission and knowledge. My goal is to let her save this money to use for spending money on our next vacation because then she can buy what she wants within her budget.

 

To print the downloadable PDF click this link:  Kid’s Nickel Weekly Savings PDF