This Stranger's Life

Whether we homeschool or not, taking care of a family is challenging! It can be extra challenging when both mom and dad work.

As mothers, we can get so caught up in caring for our family’s needs, that we forget about our own or push them off till “later”.

I have spoken with some of my friends and acquaintances and many times I hear the same thing.

“I want to make sure my family is taken care of and if that means sacrificing my “me” time then that is the way it is going to be.”

Sure, there are times when as moms we may need to push some of our wind down time off due to circumstances we cannot control. But do we make a regular habit of it?

No matter if you are a stay at home mom or a working mom you must take care of yourself. And do not feel bad about it!

Here are some things I have learned that help me to take better care of myself:

Take A Nap

Now, you might feel like this may make you seem lazy. Not true! There is a lot of research out there that shows napping, even for 20 minutes, can help you to feel alert and rested. If you nap longer than that you may wake up feeling groggy and that is counterproductive. Kids of all ages can benefit from nap time. To get the kids to nap when they were younger I would tell them just to rest in their beds with their eyes closed. It usually worked and as we developed a good routine. When I was working I would nap in my car. Yes, I really did that and set my phone alarm. It helped me tremendously.

Be Creative

Pinterest has some great ideas for hobbies. Create a board and pin all sorts of fun things you would like to attempt and actually do them! Whether you like sewing, painting, crochet, makeup, gardening or anything else get to it. My favorite things are to crochet and experiment with different makeup looks. Some people think you must have an artist’s mind to get creative and that is not true. Take a minute to see what inspires you. You will be surprised what you come up with.

Enjoy Some Fresh Air

Step outside and take a few deep breaths. Getting some sunshine on your face and breathing fresh air can be incredibly renewing. We can get so caught up in the day to day activities that we can forget to enjoy nature. It’s free, beautiful and invigorating.

Time Alone

Whether you like to walk the aisles of your favorite store or go find a quiet area to sit in a bookstore, find some time to just chill out. There are so many things you can do to spend time alone. When I was working I would come home, kiss my kids and tell them I needed my wind down time. I would shower change into my comfy clothes and sit quietly while listening to soft relaxing music. The total time I spent was 20 minutes. I found that after my time I was ready to handle the needs of my family. When you are a stay at home mom it can be harder to draw that line but you have to be creative and just do it. For relaxing music,  here is one of the videos I listen to.

Keep In Touch With Friends

This does not include social media. I repeat, this does not include social media. While social media has its uses, it can put limits on real-life relationships. Many times we can assume that since we talk to our friends over the net we really do not need to see them in person. But do you really feel refreshed after checking your social media accounts a 1,000 times per day? There is nothing like meeting a friend for coffee, lunch, margaritas or at a park for a quick walk. Just make sure not to neglect face time.

Healthy Food Choices

Cut down on sugar and junk food. I know lots of people who eat foods that are bad for them simply because they are stressed or bored. Try reaching for healthier foods that give natural energy. Look into probiotics, vitamins and other supplements that will help you stay healthy and in great shape to keep up with the demands of the family. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this website.

Excercise

Boy oh boy. Just saying the “E” word is tiring.  You do not have to go to a gym. There is no shortage of free videos that feature Yoga, Pilates, Cardio or anything else you think of on the internet. Make time in the morning or early afternoon to get in about 15 minutes of movement. Do enough to get your blood pumping and those arteries flexing. Start with a stretch, then movement, then a cool down. Make it a habit and you will even see improvements in your mood. Check out this video for a 15-minute exercise you can do at home.

Get Dressed Everyday

If you’re a working momma then this is not optional. You throw on your clothes and slap some chapstick on and run out of the door. Try setting out your outfit the night before and mapping out which makeup look you will go for and have all the tools set out. Have everything you need ready so you can get dressed without the rush. If you’re a stay at home momma, do the same. Have your clothes laid out and plan the time you need to properly groom. A lot of women are afraid of makeup because they think they will apply it wrong and end up looking like a clown. Today there are so many different types of makeup and natural products that you can easily learn how to apply them. Stay at home mommas might think there is no use for makeup but it really helps lift your mood. Here is a 5-minute makeup look for moms that you can watch.

I hope these tips were helpful for you. If you already take time for yourself share some things you do in the comments.

 

As a kid, my parents would often make great dinners. But none were more fun than making our own pizzas.

My dad taught us to make French Bread Pizzas and to load them up with whatever toppings we wanted. I was not very picky so I would add as many things as that little piece of bread could hold.

Today, the kids got to make their own French Bread Pizzas. My kids are plenty picky so I only had basic toppings on hand. While I prepared mine I had flashbacks of when I was teen working at a pizza joint. It was a cool experience!

Ingredients:

1 French Bread Sliced and Halved

1 Jar of Pizza Sauce

1 16oz Bag of Mozzarella Cheese

1 Package of Pepperoni

1 Package of Canadian Bacon (Or you could use Ham)

Fresh sliced Mushrooms

I let each kid spoon enough sauce on each piece of bread and load their toppings. Meanwhile, I preheated the oven. Once the toppings were loaded we popped them into the oven for 13 minutes on 400. Oven times vary so just watch it.

 

 

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French Bread halved and sliced

 

 

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Pepperoni, Canadian Bacon, Mozzarella and Pizza Sauce

 

 

Step 3

Ready for the oven

 

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13 minutes at 400 degrees. Yummy!

 

 

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Well, it’s that time of year again folks. Cold and Flu season is in full swing and boy oh boy is it ugly.  I found some information on the most recent Flu statistics you can read here on the CDC’s website.

We have been fortunate over the past few years to escape the flu’s cold hand. (See what I did there 😉 ) My husband caught the Flu over 10 years ago and it was him who brought it home from work this time.

As soon as he came home with the chills and sweats I immediately went out and bought disinfectant wipes, spray, and bleach.

I managed to keep my husband comfortable and warm during the worst part of his four-day illness.

“Do not touch or talk to daddy right now!” I emphatically told the kids.

Right then he was our little outbreak monkey and needed to be quarantined!

After a few days, my oldest started to feel sick. Every mom knows that when the kids get sick, well mom ends up getting sick. That is exactly what happened, 3…2…1 boom, down for the count. I went down for two solid days and needed another two days to fully recuperate.

Here are some things we did to keep the sickness from spreading as much as possible:

  • Zicam – We all took this the moment my husband got sick. I credit it will helping shorten mine and my daughter’s symptoms.
  • Vitamin C – I take this every day as a supplement but I bought orange juice for the kiddos and pineapples for the husband to munch on.
  • Kefir – I drink one cup of Kefir every day. I believe this really helped me to kick the flu faster. Read about the benefits of Kefir here.
  • Essential Oils – A mix of Eucalyptus and Lemon in a diffuser helped keep the bedroom air clean.
  • Fresh Air – Every day I opened the windows for a few minutes to air out the house.
  • Soups – Warm broths and soups were the way to go.
  • Sanitizing – Disinfectant wipes, sprays, hand washing and linen washing went a long way. We also replaced our toothbrushes when everyone felt better.
  • Sleep – Plenty of rest and mini naps really helped us to heal.
  • Hydration – This should be number one on the list. Staying hydrated is so important. Keep bottled water or sports drinks by the bed for easy access.

Our symptoms we not bad enough to make a trip to the doctor. Children are the most sensitive to viral infections but they are remarkably resilient. So, this goes without saying, if you feel a trip to the doctor is in order then, by all means, make the trip. Thankfully the other two kids did not get sick. I say three out of five is not all that bad 🙂

What are some things you do to ease Flu symptoms? Share below!

 

The kids and I finally got around to doing that scavenger hunt we planned for back in October.

 

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I can never get a serious picture with these three 🙂

 

In many places, the weather is still warm, so there is still time to go out and play this activity. You can find the scavenger list we created here at our printable shop on Etsy to download. Thank you 😉

Down here in Southeast Texas it does not get cold very often and when the temperature does drop, it only lasts for a short time. So, that leaves us with very nice “winter” weather. Any time it is not hot and muggy is a win for everyone!

Our list was simple! By keeping it easy, the kids did not get bored. While they found some things quickly, others required they look past the obvious to find. We went to a nice little park near our house so we could find a variety of things.

Here is our list:

  1. A bug
  2. Something Colorful
  3. One piece of litter
  4. A smooth rock
  5. Something Fuzzy
  6. A chewed leaf
  7. Something beautiful
  8. Two different leaves
  9. A flower
  10. Something rough
  11. A stick

 

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1. A bug – A ladybug chilling on a table. 

 

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2. Something Colorful – This confetti on the ground.

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3. One piece of litter – This looked a bit too nasty to pick up and throw away.

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4. A smooth rock – A group of smooth rocks.

 

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5. Something fuzzy – These oak galls. 

 

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6. A chewed leaf – These leaves look like they were gnawed on.

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7. Something beautiful – The kids thought the reflection of the sun on the water was beautiful.

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8. Two different leaves – We counted the blade of grass as a leaf.

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9. A flower – One the few flowers that were still thriving.

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10. Something rough – The fence was pretty rough.

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11. A stick – He found the biggest one he could.

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Bri checking out something she found the base of this tree.

It was a bit chilly outside and the kids were eager to get back into the car. Once we made it home we sipped on hot chocolate and talked about all the cool things we saw.


 

What are some fall/winter outdoor activities you like to do with your family where you live?

 

 

 

 

The kids and I planned an Autumn Fun List back in October. One of the ideas we decided to include was indoor camping. Indoor camping became a tradition of ours about three years ago. It included setting up a tent, making S’mores and binge-watching movies into the wee hours of the morning.

This year we decided to let out friends and family in on our tradition and it was so much fun.

 

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We normally set up the tent for the kids’ to sleep in on the night of the party. Since we had a lot of people over we needed the space so we just used it as a prop.

 

 

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I designed and printed out these arrows on cardstock and taped them to a broomstick because I didn’t have a pole. The broom brush was behind the tent. No one knew hahaha!

 

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Inside of the campfire, there were flameless candles flickering. You can’t see them from the photo but I promise they looked so cool with the light off. 

 

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This little sign was a hit. It definitely made everyone chuckle. The kids chose their favorite bear friends to play the part. 

 

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We used sterno cans to make the S’mores. Be sure to use Ethanol Gel cans because it is food safe. 

 

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The kiddos all enjoying their snack creations!

 

 

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Campfire cookies

 

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The twigs more cool to look at than to eat. None of the kids wanted pretzels and I couldn’t eat them all by myself lol

 

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Needless to say, the Cheeto Puffs were devoured. 

 

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My nephew, who is three, did not want to touch these. He really thought they were bear poop and stayed far away!

 

 

 

 

So, there you have it! A successful Indoor Camping Party!

 

 

 

 

 

Pizza Muffins

What a great recipe to get the kids involved with!

In Dianes Kitchen

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These Pizza Muffins make a great grab and go snack or a meal! I made these as a meal with the Grandkids but my husband is the one that loved them the most! I made these with pizza dough, a lot of pepperoni, cheese and a little sauce. I left the rest of the sauce to dip the muffins in after they were baked. YUM!

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Ingredients – (I ended up not using the butter)

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Cut the pizza dough in half making two equal pieces.

Unroll each piece.

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Sprinkle the chopped up Pepperoni evenly on both pieces of

dough keeping it away from the edges.

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Sprinkle cheese on top of pepperoni.

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Use a spoon and put a thin line of sauce over the cheese.

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Roll up both pieces of the dough starting at the

short end and going to the other short end.

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Using your hand gently squeeze and make the

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Having It All Together

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As a new homeschool mom, I am constantly bombarded with questions about how the kids are getting a proper education. In the past, I would immediately put my guard up because it felt like an attack on my personal ability to be able to fully educate my children. Then I learned that education can mean different things to different people.

To some, it’s important for children to be in a classroom all day learning with a teacher and dealing with their peers. And I totally get why this is “normal” to them. It’s a safe way to make sure your kids are getting their education and they don’t somehow fall through the cracks of society. Afterall, most parents have demanding work schedules and who has time to even help with homework after a long day? I know that struggle we lived it for years. That’s when we finally decided enough was enough with the rat race.

In my opinion, the benefits of homeschooling are just enormous. The kids are free to pursue what their interests are and have time to develop them. Core subjects can be discussed at length and broken down to suit the needs of each child. The field trips can be designed around which subject we’re studying, which causes the subject to become real. Here is an example of our Sea Turtle field trip. This trip made a lasting impression on the kids and they became more sympathetic to not just the delicate balance of marine life but of animals all over the world.

I used to dislike homeschooling families. I thought they looked down on us parents who put our kids in public school. They seemed to have a perfect little life spending time with their kids and creating memories, while I was stuck in an office all day wishing I could be at home. But once we became a homeschooling family I learned that it’s a not a perfect life. It’s a real struggle every day to provide all three meals, keep on task with school work, making sure the kids help with housework, keep them socialized and on and on. It can be tough but the benefits outweigh the negatives by far.

We have become closer as a family. I have learned so many things about my children that I probably would not have discovered if we held to our old way of life just to have that extra income. I know Audy is really into science and engineering. Bri loves art and wants to make video games. Mavi wants to work with animals. These are things we never talked about before because we were too busy. If you’re thinking of homeschooling don’t let self-doubt creep in. Talk to your kids about it and see where they stand. It took us a full year to decide if we were ready.

There is no such thing as having it all together. We take each day one at a time. Each moment as it comes. Why not the next time you encounter a homeschooling family ask questions of course, but also give the kids some words of encouragement?

Because honestly the best thing any of us can do in our lives is just hold it together.

What about you? Have you had to defend your decision to homeschool?