Quiet On The Set

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In this house we have always loved movies and cartoons. I grew up spending countless hours glued in front of the tube watching nearly every Disney animation on repeat. Movies like Star Wars, The Labyrinth, Goonies, E.T, The Princess Bride and Indiana Jones were likewise viewed as if they were going out of style.

These movies had such imagination that it oozed from the screen into our unsuspecting minds, molding, shaping and inspiring us in ways we may have not expected. Many in my age group associate these movies with a happy, exciting childhood.

My kids have seen the movies I grew up and they have not had the same reaction that I had when I was a kid! But it’s easy to understand, movies are incredibly different today. CGI saturates many movies and the pace moves so quickly with action or events happening at every turn.

I have had to help my kids to appreciate the art and dedication it takes to many any movie or Broadway show even! I have had a bit of experience with the entertainment industry in the past so I understand to a degree the dedication it takes.

So, as a project we decided to create a mini series that the kids are responsible for drafting a script, creating costumes and sets as well as lighting. My son was not as excited about this so I told him he could make one “boy” episode but still assist the girls with lighting or whatever.

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Indigo and Madeline Spa Day

The girls took full responsibility and after a week of rehearsal, script changes, arguing and finally getting their act together they produced the first episode of ten!

Once the work was completed with editing and adding sound they were exhausted. I asked them how they felt about the process and they replied that they didn’t realize how much effort it took to make a movie. I made sure to point out that hours of preparation was needed in order to produce a five-minute video.

All in all they had a blast and my son wouldn’t touch the filming area with a ten foot pole! He was not down with the “girly” story line. But then I don’t blame him.

After they viewed the finished product everyone celebrated. Planning has already begun for the next episode.

You can watch it here. We hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

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Health & Fitness

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If you would have asked me, when I was a teen, what my health would be like in 10 years I would have answered that I would be healthy and living life to the full. Throughout high school and early twenties, I was into fitness and eating well…for the most part. But as almost every parent knows eating well and exercising are hard to fit into the day.

It does not help that we live in a major city and there is food from a variety of different cultures on every street corner. It’s easier to say you will cook tomorrow night and order in!

It was not until a couple of years ago that I noticed my health was taking a turn for the worse. I had constant headaches and migraines. If you don’t know the difference between a headache and migraine, ask a migraine sufferer. Worst.pain.imaginable.

Fatigue, depression, lack of motivation and a host of other ailments began to overtake me. I am not writing this post to tell you what new diet to try or discuss the latest exercising fad. The point is to share something I knew to be true a long time ago but I did not put into practice.

Eating well and exercising! Yeah, that is it. The secret weapon. Now, I do understand many people have health problems and need their medication. I am not saying to stop any of that. But it is helpful to learn about what could be the source of your health issues and work to eliminate foods or activities that have a negative impact in your life.

For instance, I had to go cold turkey from sugar. It was rough and tougher than I thought it would be. Detox symptoms are no joke! Sugar is in everything! Once I started on to make those changes for myself  I began to include my kids. After a year of no soda, we barely drink it anymore. It’s not the first thing we request to drink. I am proud of our progress.

Another thing we do around here is smoothies. Ask many of my friends and they will tell you I am a smoothie guru! It is a perfect way to wake the kids up and get them started on their school work. We also do smoothies for a snack a couple of days a week. I do not know about anyone else but blended food is not always on my meal list. I like to chew! So we limit these.

Check this guide out on how to make a yummy smoothie:

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As far as a workout routine, there are so many people on the internet willing to share their knowledge. Not every workout works for everyone. The kids and I start out with light stretching and then a 7-minute workout. We bought yoga mats and special workout clothes that make the process more fun! We will post a fitness article on how we start our day.

In conclusion, it has been a couple of years of fighting off bad habits and trying to replace them with good ones. I still have some ailments I am working through but I am proud of my journey thus far.

Care to share any healthy recipes that you have found particularly yummy?

An Unexpected Trip To The Texas Capitol

We took the kids on a day trip to visit a little place where we love to get pecans. It is about 20 miles from Austin.  We live about two hours from Austin so it was not an entirely long trip but with three kids in the car they can get fidgety. I will say this, the kids did not appreciate my 80s/90s karaoke session!

While visiting Berdoll, we stopped at the 14 foot squirrel and snapped a photo. It was a lot of fun and the now the kids can tell people they have seen a 14 foot squirrel!

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Friendly little fellow!

Once we finished with our pecan trip, the kids suggested we keep driving to Austin in order to see the Texas State Capitol. The husband and I thought it was a great idea. I more so because it is on my Life List!

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It was a great trip and the kids go to experience Texas history. Homeschoolers never stop learning!

Here are a few pics inside the Capitol.

We had a great time and finished it off with some great Texas BBQ! I consider this trip a success and can update the Life List Page!

Kids And Electronics

Kids.pngA few weeks ago the kids and I were having fun with an activity that required each of us answer 30 questions that help us to get to know each other better.

One of the questions was “What is your favorite season?”. Bri asked for clarification by asking me if I meant a television season or an actual nature season. It took me by surprise and we all laughed about it but it helped me to see a bigger problem. Ever since she was young the television has always been there.

Cartoons were my main source of entertainment growing up so I did not think it would be so bad for my daughter. Who knew the world would change so rapidly and introduce thousands of types of content and gadgets to use on them?!

My kids have always been around electronics and we own many different types. Cell phones seem to be the most convenient now since they can be carried anywhere. Audy and Mav have a cell phone but it is not activated since we feel they are too young to manage it. We bought the phones for them to play games.

On average the kids are spending five hours per day on their phone! I monitored their usage for one week. This is what I noticed:

  • Upon getting out of the bed the phones are checked to see what progress the games made overnight.
  • A breakfast, instead of talking they are on their phones checking…one last thing.
  • During the lunch break they are checking the game progress again.
  • When the school day is over they have free time and most of it is spent on the phone playing games or watching YouTube videos.

That is a lot of screen time!

Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against technology. I just felt as a family we needed to put the electronics down and focus on each other more.

During our family meeting the kids agreed to cut back on the screen time. A few rules were put into place.

  1. Cells at meal times are banned (This includes my husband and I).
  2. All cells have to be turned in at 6 pm no matter what.
  3. Cell phone use was now limited to three hours per day.

The meeting ended on a high note and with everyone feeling optimistic.

The very first day of our plan, I encountered major resistance and whining. It was like the kids were having some sort of withdrawal symptoms. When free time was over and they had to put the phones in the “Phone Home” everything came crashing down. The kids were fighting and bickering with one another. It was like for the first time in a long time they actually had to learn to interact with each other.

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This is our Phone Home. Corny? Perhaps. Effective? Definitely!

Any mom can tell you that we do not like when our kids argue and fight with one another. It was tempting to call the whole thing off and let them get back on their phones. I am glad to say we stuck it out and the kids are cooperating with the rules. It has only been a few weeks and it was a hard fight but I found that having board games and other activities on hand really helped the kids get through the rough time. We started our family fitness nights again and it has helped the kids to get that extra energy out.

“I sustain myself with the love of family.”  Maya Angelou

Have your kids gone through something similar with their electronics? What have you done to minimize screen time and maximize family time?

Quote Credit: http://www.thefreshquotes.com/family-quotes/

 

 

Homeschool Supplies

10-things-w-1You might think it would cost an arm and a leg to buy supplies for your homeschool. That is not necessarily the case. You likely have a few items around your house that could be re-purposed. Keep things simple and stick to your budget. Never underestimate dollar stores or other discount stores where you can find some of the best deals!

Now let’s get started on the list.

1. Good electric pencil sharpener. I could not even begin to relate how many inferior sharpeners we have been through.  This is an invaluable product to have. Whether you purchased cheaper pencils or the more pricier brands, a good electric sharpener will be able to get that perfect point.

2. Printer. Having a printer that can scan and has color capabilities is extremely helpful. There are so many free and valuable homeschool resources on the internet.Having the ability to print them for use in instruction is helpful.

3. Laptop/Computer. We base most of our homeschool on resources found on the internet. Even so, the kids do not spend a lot of time sitting on the computer. Be sure to install pop up blockers and teach your kids about internet safety.

4. Simple Storage. I use the word simple because as mothers we tend to over think things at times. Well, at least I know I do. I purchased a few mason jars (picked up from the dollar store) to store pencils, highlighters and pens. I re-purposed a cube storage shelf we already owned and turned it into our homeschool supply area. It’s great because we can store our books and other supplies there.

5. Entertainment. We live in a major city so entertainment is not far. But during school hours we need something that is educational and fun. Netflix (no I wasn’t paid to advertise this)  is great because there are many nature documentaries that go well with our science studies. It’s also fun for the kids after school to watch their favorite cartoon and unwind at the end of the day.

6. Art Supplies. I know you’re probably thinking that this is where we blow the budget. Not the case at all. We bought a few paints, brushes, crayons, markers, construction paper and small poster boards. There are so many things lying around your house that you could use for art supplies.

7. School Supplies. Since my kids were not attending public school this year we saved a ton of money on supplies. A few pencils, scissors, binders and notebooks were all we needed.

8. Dry Erase Board. We have had a lot of fun with the dry erase board. It makes explaining complex subjects and ideas easier. I don’t just use the board for solving problems. It’s also used to write encouraging notes and tips of the day.

9. Teacher Supplies. Again, you do not need a lot of things. Depending on what curriculum you have settled on, you can prepare yourself for what you need. I have found an online planner that lets me keep track of the kids assignments, grading and even print report cards. I have purchased a stapler, paper clips and five subject notebook to further help me keep organized. In a later post I will explain how I use the notebook.

10. Classroom Decorations. We use our dinning room for our main classroom. We have a map of the world, various education posters and inspiration quotes on the walls. Even if there is limited space or you feel like you are not creative, you can still come up with a cozy spot in the house or apartment for your kid(s) to spend their school day. Homeschool is not about sitting in one room for hours. After all that is one of many reasons why we chose to keep our kids out of public school. Field trips, science experiments, family time and lounging on the couch while you complete an assignment is what homeschool is about. But it’s still nice to have an area that is dedicated to a quiet area to study.

Do you homeschool? What supplies have proved to be most useful for your family?

 

New Endeavour

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Howdy!

It has been quite some time since I have used this blog. I do plan on using it more frequently now.

We have recently started our first year of home school. So far, we are about 4 months into it and the kid could not be more happier!

It was difficult to figure out how we should go about the process. Each state has different requirements and there was a lot of research involved. It took about a year to make the decision but I am glad we took the plunge. This year we saved money by not having to buy back packs, school clothes and numerous school supplies.

Normal supplies and “classroom” decorations were a must if we wanted to be able to complete day to day task. Our dinning room was transformed into our classroom and the kids happen to love it. The kitchen is close and that means all the snacks are easily accessible!

So, this is my starter post. I plan on creating a post that covers the materials we use and supplies. I look forward to posting more photos and videos from our Youtube channel.