Our Adventures in Homeschooling and Life

Monday, January 31, 2011

Our new bed

Heres my hunny putting the new bed together. Our oldest is helping.

Attaching it to the headboard. THe first head board we've had in about 6 years. LOL

Almost done. Just checking to make sure its right and tightening everything up.

Yea! All together.

All done! Its so pretty!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


My youngest just doesn't get it. I have done everything I can think of from rewards to consequences to get him to do chores and do what he's told. He just does what he wants. He only acts remorseful when he's in trouble.
I give him allowance for doing chores, he says he does something and never touches it. I try to tell him he will pay me if he doesn't do it right or I end up doing it. Still doesn't work. I just don't know what else to do. I can't get through to him.

The kid’s chores

We have struggled a little from time to time with the kids doing their chores and doing them right. I suffer from depression and when I get down I count on them to do their chores without me having to stay on them on all the time. But does it work? Nope. They take advantage every time and slack off.
Anyways, I’m on the good side again. We have been doing a “pay check” for several months now. They would get paid a certain amount each week for doing their chores. And lose some of it for not. They would get to spend the “play” money at the “family store”. Well, the incentive of earning money hasn’t been working as well as it has been. And the thought of losing it for not doing the chore wasn’t enough. Their behavior was slacking as well. So to fix this we have recently starting using a “duty jar” (a suggestion from a blog I’ve been reading) It started out with auctioning off chores, but has since changed. Now I give the kids certain chores in the evening, brush teeth, put on deodorant, make bed, etc. for the next day. Those chores I won’t pay them for. But then I out the rest of the household chores in the”duty jar” and they draw the chores they will do the next day. There is an amount on the back of each chore that I am willing to pay. (.25, .50, etc) When they turn in the chore they get paid. If they turn it in and it’s not done right I return it. If they don’t get it right the second time, they pay me the amount on the back of the card. Also if I end up doing one of their chores, they pay me. They don’t like it. Also they are getting fined for behavior. Name calling, not cleaning up after themselves, etc, they pay a fee. Maybe this will make a difference. I certainly hope so.

My oldests lastests lego creation

Love This!

I found this on a blog and totally love it!

Never do for the child, what the child can do for themselves! If we do too much for our children then we are simply telling our children that we do not believe they are capable and they will become entrenched in a life of learned helplessness.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Strawberry and White Chocolate buttercream cake

My attempt at making this cake.

Baked and cut in half...

Hubby helping my whipping the topping.

I was cutting the fresh strawberries...

The bottom layer...

Top layer before strawberries...

All topped with Strawberries...Yummy
1 3/4 cups Betty Crocker Super Moist butter recipe yellow cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 egg
Filling and topping:
8 oz white chocolate baking bars, chopped
2 tbs butter, softened
2/3 cup whipping cream
2 cups fresh whole strawberries, thinly sliced
-Heat oven to 350 degrees(or 325 for dark or nonstick pan).Generously spray bottom and side of 8 or 9 inch round cakepan with baking spray with flour.
-In large bowl, beat cake mox, water, 1/4 cup butter, almond extract and egg with electric mixer on low speed until moitened. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occassionaly. Pour into pan.
-Bake as directed on box for 8 or 9 inch rounds. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan to colloing rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
-Meanwhile, place white chocolate and 2 tbs butter in medium metal bowl. In 1 qt saucepan, heat whipping cream over medium heat just to boil. Immediately, pour hot cream over white chocolate and butter. Let stand about 5 minutes, or until mixture is melted and smooth when stirred. Cool 1 hour or until room temp.
-Beat cooled white chocolate mixture on high speed until fluffy.
-Cut cake horizontially in half, using long, sharp knife. On serving plate, plate 1 layer, cut side up. Spread with 1/2 of the filling; top with the strawberries.Add remaining cake layer, cut side diwn. Spread remaining filling over top of cake; top with remaining strawberries. Store covered in refrigerator until reay to serve.

Lady Bug Memo pads

The boys made really cute lady bug memo pads. They cut a circle out of cardstock. (1 front 1 back) Then they cute down some regular notebook paper the same size. Decorated the front of the lady bug complete with googly eyes. Put it all together, puched a single hole in top and put a brass fastener through it. Attached a pipecleaner, twisted the pipe cleaner around a pencil and all done. You can be as creative as you want with this. As you can see my son didn't use red, he made his lady bug orange. You can also attach a magnet to the back and stick it on the refrigerator or in the laundry area.

Decorative Light Switches

The kids made really cute decorative light switch covers. These are simple, inexpensive and adorable. Light switch covers are really cheap at any hardware store or Walmart. Paint the cover, let it dry. Decide what you want on the light switch cover, cut it out of foam and glue it on. *Be careful glueing it on, the glue will take the paint off if you move it around too much. It can cover the whole light switch cover like the frog or only part of it like the trident. (My oldest is really into Poseidon.)

Peace Doves

The kids made Peace Doves from a craft idea from Enchanted Learning in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


I got a big box of cookie cutters from Walmart and have been dying to try them out. I wanted to make shaped cookies other than sugar cookies. I attempted to make some shaped chocolate chip cookies. They came out ok, but not great. I might try again I don't know yet.

Remote Control Planes

My dad bought the boys a remote control helicopter and plane for Christmas. We tried flying
them in the yard 1 day. We have some trees in the yard but they are more on the edges so we thought it would be ok. Nope. They are some powerful planes. And they're just Air Hogs brand. So after about 20 minutes of lots of crashes and at least half in the trees we decided when the weather got warmed we would just take them to out local park and make a day out of it.

Duty Jar

On a homeschooling blog I was reading I saw where a mom was using a "Duty Jar". I really enjoyed her idea and decided to use it in our family. The boys each have their own jars and then theres the main "duty jar". Every week I "Auction" off extra chores, such as sweeping the driveway, or cleaning door frames in the house, stuff like that. One of the boys buys the extra chore for 1/3 or 1/2 of the maximum I'm willing to pay for it. Then when the chore is done they get paid the full amount I was willing to pay for them doing the chore. What they buy the chore for depends on how much they actually make on the chore. The boys also came up with an auction between themselves where they sell each other the mandatory chores I assign and pay each other for doing them. The kids seem to think this process is very exciting and are always asking me if I have any chores to auction off. LOL.
The kids jars are also used to pay a duty. If they use ugly words, yell, hit or anything like that they pay a "duty" for the offense to the duty jar. If they don't have the money they can "work off" the amount owed. If they are in debt for more than 2 weeks they have to do everyones chores for free for one day. But theres also an upside. If they have all good marks on chores, lessons, behavior, etc from their star chart for 4 weeks they can claim all the money in the main "duty jar". But that can be a risk cause they aren't allowed to know the amount in the jar. LOL. But it makes it fun.
*And we aren't using real money. We are using the fake money I printed for our "store".

Goals Board

The kids have goals they can earn from doing their lessons, chores, good behavior, etc. I made a "goals board" so the kids can see what they are working for and how close they are to achieveing it. They have goals such as staying up late, choosing a family movie to watch together, choosing a family activity or game, etc. The kids are enjoying the visual aids. :)

Star Charts

We use a "Star Chart" to keep track of the kids doing their lesson, chores, their behavior, personal hygiene gets done, etc. I have a copy in my binder and the kids have a laminated copy in the kitchen where they can see their progress or lack there of. When they complete their chores, lessons, etc they get a "good job" in that spot, but when they don't complete their chores or have undesirable behavior during the day they get a "Not a good job" in that spot.

They get what we call drops for not completing chores and such. 1 drop in chores equals half of allowance lost. 2 drops in chores equals loss of full allowance for
the week. Also if they have behavior issues they have consequences, such as loss of TV time, time out, etc. And they have to pay the duty jar for certain behaviors. Such as .50 for talking back, or hitting, etc.

This visual system is working well for us.


While making the workboxes we discovered we could make mailboxes out of the small priority boxes. So the kids made mailboxes to sit outside their doors. They decorated them to suit their individual sytles. They came out real cute. Now we use them daily. I put their workbox and chore cards in them every night and when they get a magazine in the mail it gets delivered to their mailbox.

New Chore System

Since we implemented the new workbox system for our homeschooling we thought we'd use a similar system for chores. So I made chore cards that represent each chore that needs to be done in the house. (There was a

When they were done I laminated them.

Now every night before bed I assign them their chores by giving delivering their chores to their "mailboxes". As they complete them the next day they turn them in on their board.

There is a lot of cards to keep up with, but this is working well cause it is more visual for the kids that just a list. And when they turn them in I can check them when I'm ready and if they aren't done correctly I use the "Please redo" tag I made and just return it to them to re do.

Workbox area

Each of our boys have a tack board. Red for the youngest and Blue for the Oldest. On these tack boards they have 2 envelopes a piece. One to turn in workbox cards and one to turn in chore cards. This has worked really well in out home.


I recently discovered a Yahoo group about workboxes. Its an amazing system that teaches independant learners. They have made a wonderful addition to our homeschooling. Since I like to make things to suit us, I made our workboxes out of priority mail boxes.
I cut out about 12 boxes for each of my boys. Then I hot glued the boxes on the edges to make sure they stayed together and was secure. Because we are a creative family
and like color I glued color coded construction paper on the boxes and added colorful card holders on the front.

I made our own workbox cards as well using pictures from the workbox group that other people uploaded. Dogs for my youngest and Dragons for my oldest. I've noticed most people just number their workboxes boxes but because we have to be different (lol) our workbox cards are numbered and named.
Then I made tags that say "great job"in green, "please re do" in red and " I need help please" in yellow. Every night I can assign the workbox cards that they need to do for the next day. As they complete them they can turn them in. If they need help they put a "I need help please" tag on their workbox, if I've checked them and they are good I put the "great job" tag on their workbox, if they need to be redone I put the "please redo" tag on the workbox.

This system has been working well for about 3 weeks now.


We have offically gone with Ellen McHenry's Chemistry for our Science this year. We are throwing in a few Hobby Lobby chemistry kits too.
We just ordered the Chemistry from her a few days ago, so we haven't started yet. But the kids are enjoying some of her free stuff already.
The Periodic Table game has been a wonderful learning experience for them. They are really getting into the periodic table.
This week they will also play the Quick Six card game that is about the Periodic table.
Some time this year we plan on playing the "Element Connections" bingo game, making the Periodic table pillow cases and playing the Organic Molesules card game.

Learning Language Arts through Literature

Through a suggestion from someone on my local homeschooling group we tried Learning Language Arts through Literature for my youngest. He is a bit behind on Spelling, Reading and Language Arts in general. He struggled with Reading for a long time. He has known his letters and their sounds since Kindergarten but he always refused to sound out any words. He is now 9 years old and is reading a lot better but still only sight reads. Because of the time it took him read this well he is a bit behind on his Spelling and writing skills. He is doing a great job reading right now and will even finish books, finally. The program Learning Language Arts through Literature has really helped him. He absolutely loves the program! He reads the books that go with it and loves the hands-on activities as well. It is a wonderful program.


We started out using Story of the World for our History. But that has since changed. My boys have hated Story of the World from the begining. I have tried. We used the stories and activity book, but they dreaded History everytime. I even tried the stories on CD. Still didn't work. So, we are now using Homeschool in the Woods history program. It is a very affordable, hands-on and fun History program. Its full of info as well as tons of activities. And it all ends with a lap book. How awesome is that?
We will also start using History pockets for some more fun History projects. And thanks to a wonderful homeschooling mom, Confessions of a Homeschooler, I am hoping to start using her Expedition Earth Goegraphy curriculum real soon.

Been a while

Its been several months since I've been able to post. I was suffering from some depression. This time has been the longest its ever lasted. I didn't do much during this time. My house got a bit disorganized, kids didn't do much in the way of lessons, and no one did very many chores. I was able to take care of the minimal amount of things luckily. Dishes were done daily, kids were fed, etc. Finally I started taking a mulitvitamin just before Christmas. It really helped. I have been slowly climbing out of my hole. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Woo Hoo.