Five Random Thoughts from a Frazzled Mom

I’m linking up with The Pebble Pond today for Random Five on Friday.

     One of the reasons I write is because I constantly  have thoughts running through my head throughout the day- some thought-provoking, some just plain stupid.:-)  Here’s a snippet of some recent ones:

1. Luke(5) broke my only broom, so which should I use?

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My broken broom?

My broken broom???

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Or Summer’s toy broom???

Hmmm…. I actually tried both. The broken one worked better, even though I had to do it on my hands and knees.

2. How do my kids know when I go down in the laundry room when they’re playing all the way upstairs?? Do they have radar??

3. Why do people spend so much money on jungle gyms when we’ve got what we need right in the house??

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The kids jumping on the laundry pile as we’re getting ready to take it downstairs

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Ireland pushing Summer in the washbasket

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The kids made their own washbasket obstacle course.

See??

4. Will I ever sleep through the night again? It’s been soooo long!

5. I wish there were little cleaning fairies who would come to my house to take care of this…

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I keep telling myself that someday I’m going to miss the mess. Okay, maybe not the mess itself but the cause of it.

What goes through your head??

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Weekend Review: Momentary Panic

Tuesday was when I had my meltdown.

     I can’t believe another week has come and gone already! Time flies when you’re having fun, right?
     Unfortunately, the winter doldrums are really hitting our whole family right now. Constant snow, ice, and below 0 temperatures means no outside activities…not good in this  houseful of antsy children. We’re pressing on, however, looking forward  to those beautiful spring days that can’t come fast enough!
     It snowed again on Saturday, which meant no church on Sunday…again. I honestly think we’ve missed more services than we’ve gone to in the last couple months. That darn global warming! 😉
     With the extra time at home, Devin made herself and her friend flower headbands.

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     Anyway… Monday was finally warm enough (25 degrees) for Devin, Arianna, London, and me to walk to the library. We borrowed several movies, which we’ve been busy watching all week.
     The first movie we watched was Tangled (this would be the first of four times…so far). I’ve seen it before but must have seen it through different ”lenses” this time because I noticed how much Rapunzel exemplified the traits of an unschooler, which I pointed out to my kids. She reads, paints, plays guitar, bakes, sews, does chores…this gave me a great example of natural learning for my kids because I think they’re still unsure of themselves in this new endeavor. They haven’t quite grasped the freedom they now have.
     We also did a really cool activity demonstrating plate tectonics using graham crackers and whipped cream. Seriously, any experiment you can eat will be a hit with my crew.
     Other than that, some of the kids watched some Liberty’s Kids episodes, and the younger kids made paper dolls.
     Tuesday was when I had my meltdown. I just didn’t see the kids doing anything that day besides arguing and petting the cats. Maybe the combination of being cooped up and the fact that I ran out of decaf and was drinking half-caf contributed to it, but I started panicking. How am I going to report what the kids are doing to the school district when they’re just sitting around? Was this a mistake? Why don’t my kids act like the genius unschoolers I always read about? I’m not proud of this…I’m just telling you like it is. This led to me lecturing the kids about how they’re taking advantage of the fact that I’m giving them the reins and how they’re letting me down. It wasn’t pretty.
     It did get them to actually get up and do something, but at what expense? It’s obvious the kids aren’t the only ones still unsure about this new path.
     So, here are some pictures I took post-meltdown.

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London did a baking soda and vinegar experiment.

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Dillon put an egg in vinegar, which he left in overnight.

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We watched American Girl- Saige and more Liberty’s Kids.
     Arianna started a butterfly lapbook and Caollin wrote about dinosaurs and made some out of clay.
     Wednesday was definitely better…I was more relaxed and the kids were more productive. Dillon, Arianna, and Caollin all wrote plays. Caollin acted hers out with London’s assistance.

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     Dillon took the egg out of the vinegar. It felt like a rubber ball- and it bounced!

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And then it broke all over a purse I got for Christmas. No harm done. It didn’t even smell, so we’re all good.
      We started the day Thursday by doing some dancing.

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Then we watched part of The Wizard of Oz before we started what I’m calling Life Skills Day- in other words- cleaning.
     We were missing two library books (we’re still missing one), and our upstairs has been…um…neglected lately, so I thought today would be a great day to get organized. Oh my word. I didn’t know what I was getting us into. The amount of dirty laundry upstairs was atrocious.

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This is only a portion of what was up there, but at least it provided some fun!

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     While the older kids were upstairs, the little ones kept themselves busy.

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Ireland doing an ”experiment.”

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Notice all the different outfits. Ireland and Summer must change their clothes five times a day.

     Friday we’ll plan to finish the upstairs.(Yeah, it was that bad.) Then, when Shawn gets home, we’ll take Devin to her friend’s house, which is an hour away. I think the drive will do us all some good.
     Spring, come soon!!!

Are you ready for spring??

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Linking up with
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http://highhillhomeschool.blogspot.com/2014/01/energy-entertaining-and-educational.html?m=1

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http://www.homegrownlearners.com/home/2014/1/31/thankful-for-homeschool.html

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http://www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/

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http://amamasstory.com/2014/01/days-week-pictures-homeschool-link-2.html

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http://www.greatpeaceacademy.com/2014/02/this-week-homeschool-goes-on.html?m=1

Weekend Review- Kenzie Is Mobile!!

Kenzie is crawling!

     It has been an exciting week here at the Sangrey house! Kenzie is crawling!

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This is a bittersweet moment for me. Sweet because she’s much happier and less clingy now that she has some freedom, but bitter in that she’ll be my last baby, and I’ll never get to witness this process in my own children again. Anyway, on to our week.
     On Monday, Devin, Dillon, and Arianna walked to the library and borrowed the Disney ”Little House on the Prairie” miniseries, so we watched the whole thing in one day. This is the second time we’ve borrowed it, but the first time we watched it, we were still reading Little House in the Big Woods. Now that we’re actually reading Little House on the Prairie, it’s neat to see the stories come to life. It’s also a great way to see how much the kids have been paying attention by noting any discrepancies. Dillon and Arianna went to a pond near our house and were busy experimenting with sound waves by throwing different size rocks on the ice. They have also kept themselves busy with their new blogs http://dragonboii12345.wordpress.com and http://unskoolgurl.wordpress.com. Caollin and London have been sewing, which, unfortunately, I can’t help them with because, well, I don’t know how to sew.

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     Tuesday it snowed, so Devin’s flash animation class was canceled, but we had a fun day indoors. (The wind chill was -15, so we were not going to go outside.) We did a neat activity from Brave Writer in which the kids were supposed to write captions on sticky notes for the pictures on our walls. Since it’s always either all or nothing with this crew they went all out and captioned a lot more than pictures!

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     On Wednesday we repeated an experiment that we tried the other week, which worked but would have worked better with a smaller egg. So I bought some, and we tried it again. The object is to demonstrate how a flame in a bottle can create a vacuum strong enough to suck an egg into a bottle.
It worked much better this time. The rest of the day was spent running errands- picking up Caollin’s new glasses, an appointment, and grocery shopping. Afterwards, our day looked like this

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     Thursday was actually a really productive day. I’ve been slacking off a bit in the laundry department, so I did a lot of catch up work there.

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Then, I corrected math work, which I’ve also been neglecting the past couple of days.

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We also made a really cool fake lung, thanks to Dot-to-Dot Connections. This is definitely worth checking out.

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Dillon is quite the character, isn’t he?

Devin helped make dinner today.

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Boxed fried chicken, instant mashed potatoes, and canned vegetables. Stop laughing. This is the same girl who asked me a few months ago how to turn the oven on. This is progress.

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This picture has nothing to do with what I’ve been writing about, but Luke is as elusive as Bigfoot, so if I can get a picture of him, I’m posting it!

     Our plans for Friday include a plate tectonics activity using Graham crackers and whipped cream. (I guess you’ve realized why my kids want to do this.) Beyond that, we’ll just go with the flow. Happy weekend!

What are some highlights of your week?

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Linking up with
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Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

A Mama’s Story

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http://www.homegrownlearners.com/home/2014/1/24/the-key-to-successful-homeschool.html

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http://www.greatpeaceacademy.com/search/label/This%20Week…

An Intimate Glimpse into Life with Ten Kids

Come join us for the day!

     Have you ever wondered what other people’s lives are actually like? Not the public, edited image, but everything- the good, the bad, and the ugly.
     Today I’m giving you the opportunity to witness my hectic life. Last Thursday, January 16, 2014, I chronicled my entire day, hour by hour for the world to see. I began at midnight and continued through the entire day until bedtime. So here we go, if you’re brave enough!

I’m starting with a list of family members for easy reference since there are so many of us.

Shawn- the Dad
Me (Shelly)- the Mom
Devin(14)
Dillon(13)
Arianna(12)
Caollin(9)
London(8)
Bailey(6)
Luke(5)
Ireland(4)
Summer(2)
Kenzie(8 months)

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s begin.

12am– I’m still awake. I just got done writing a post, so I’m a little wired. Kenzie, who’s teething, has just woken up and is very cranky. She falls back to sleep after a few minutes. I lie down on the sofa- we’re sleeping downstairs tonight, so Shawn can get some sleep before work.

12:45am- I start dozing off.

1am- Kenzie is awake again. After a few minutes of crankiness, she falls back asleep. I lie down again.

2am- Kenzie is not the culprit this time. I’ve woken up from a strange dream. (Something about me finding a gray hair and panicking. Don’t ask.)

3am- Kenzie’s awake again…

4:20- and again…

5:45- and again. I notice that Shawn has left for work. I’m already getting discouraged about what the day will bring after my lack of sleep. After Kenzie falls back asleep, I do, too.

7am- Ireland is awake at the crack of dawn, as usual, followed by a slew of early risers.

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Yes, that’s Ireland in boy pajamas- a hand-me-down from Luke.

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That’s Bailey with our kitten, Violet.

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Summer makes herself comfortable anywhere.

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That’s Arianna darting back upstairs after seeing Mom armed with a camera.

7:30- I give up on the notion of sleep and start checking emails, start a load of laundry, and proofread Dillon’s latest blog post. (He’s recently started a blog and posts 2-3 times a day.)

8am- By this point, everyone, except Devin, is awake. I make get breakfast out of the kitchen and bring it to the dining room.

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Nutritious, right???

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Yum!

9am- Time for chores!

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London vacuuming the living room

This may make it look like chores go off without a hitch, but today some of the kids, who shall remain nameless, do their share of complaining until loss of tablet privileges is mentioned.
     By this point Kenzie is still crabby and won’t nap, Ireland is crying because she wants a box like Bailey’s (he’s making it into a boat), and I am in desperate need of some coffee!

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Bailey making his boat

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Luke playing cars

     After filling up, I sweep the floor and vacuum again, which is dirty again already.

10:10- Kenzie is finally asleep, and I’m still in my pajamas.

10:30- I finally get dressed, start having the kids take turns showering/bathing, and do some more laundry.

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We’ve actually run out of laundry detergent, and since I can’t afford to skip a day of washing clothes, I use baking soda.

10:45- Kenzie is already awake. Sigh.

11:00- Snacktime! Just a few crackers to hold them over until lunch, while I put laundry away, proofread another of Dillon’s posts, and give everyone their own clothes to put away.

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Ireland with her clothes

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Caollin, my free spirit, carrying her clothes upstairs with pants on her head

     By this time, I’m noticing that my ankle is really hurting, even though I don’t remember hurting it. Sigh. The curse of approaching 40. Yuck.

11:30- Everything has calmed down enough for me to do my personal devotions. Oswald Chambers Devotional Bible, if anyone is interested.

12pm- We have lunchmeat sandwiches for lunch. Afterwards, Arianna, London, and I do some Mad Libs. Dillon and Caollin are on their tablets, Bailey and Summer are on Leap Pads, and the other little ones are doing a puzzle.

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Dillon on his tablet

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Ireland playing a matching game

12:30- I check more emails and comment on other blog posts.

1pm- Devin has risen and graced us with her presence.

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Time for family read-aloud. We’ve been reading Little House on the Prairie. The kids and I really enjoy it.

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1:30- Devin starts her Swedish lessons using Mango Languages, while Dillon, Arianna, Caollin, and I pull out the atlas to plot countries from which people have read our blog posts. (Arianna blogs, too.)

1:45- Today is Ireland’s 4th birthday, so Arianna bakes her a cake. In the meantime, Dillon and I work on his Smithsonian volcano Kit, until we give up because the string is all tangled.

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     Devin starts her schoolwork now, while the other kids play the game, Operation.

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Devin hates algebra.

3pm- Shawn arrives home, Arianna decorates the cake, and we sing Happy Birthday to Ireland.

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4pm- Chore time, again, and I start dinner- spaghetti.
     Afterwards we all pose for a family photo for Dillon’s blog. Then, Dillon, Arianna, and Caollin do their math.

5pm- We eat dinner and start to wind down. From this point until their bedtimes, nothing major happens. Just lots of puzzles, games, TV, and, of course, electronics.

8pm- Bailey, Luke, Ireland, and Summer go up to bed and listen to the Bible and their bedtime stories.

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What we’re reading.

After they’re in bed- at least, before they come down five more times- I read the Message New Testament Bible to Devin, Dillon, Arianna, Caollin, and London. Then, I help Devin with some algebra she didn’t understand.

9pm- Caollin and London go to bed. Okay, they’re in their bedroom, but I doubt they’re sleeping. I correct any schoolwork that was done and write in the daily logs I have to keep for Devin, Dillon, Arianna, and Caollin. I truly despise this.

10pm- Kenzie is asleep for the night (I hope), and within the hour, I’m down for the count.

What’s your day like?

Linking up with
http://ourbusyhomeschool.com/one-homeschool-day-linky-january-edition/

Hip Homeschool Hop

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http://www.joyfocusedlearning.com/2014/01/anything-goes-link-up-10.html?m=1

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Upside Down Homeschooling

Keeping a Clean(ish) House in the Midst of Chaos

”Clean” does not have to mean ”perfect.”

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     Raising and homeschooling ten children can make housekeeping a bit… well, difficult. While my house will never be featured on ”Better Homes and Gardens”, I can assure you, it is possible to have a house that would be presentable for company, even when people are home all the time!
     Here are a few tips that may help you keep your sanity.

Assign chores to your children- even little ones can help. All of my children down to my 5-year old have daily chores.
    
     Our Chore List

– 14 yr. old- responsible for
   cleaning the litter box, cleaning
    the classroom, and washing
     dishes on Su, W, and F

– 13 yr. old- responsible for
   cleaning the dining room and washing dishes on M, Th, and Sat.

– 12 yr. old- responsible for cleaning the kitchen, bathroom (it’s tiny), and dishes on M, T, and F

– 9 yr. old- responsible for the living room and dishes on Sa, Su, and W

– 8 yr. old- She is our ”floater.” She covers the others while they’re washing dishes and dishes on Tu and Th

– 6 yr. old- responsible for cleaning the upstairs hallway

– 5 yr. old- He does the odds and ends jobs, like carrying dirty laundry downstairs, cleaning the landing of the stairs (our family’s catchall), or helping others if their rooms are especially messy

While our 2 & 4 yr. old don’t have assigned chores, they always ask where they can help, so I’ll just give them little things, like wiping things down with a rag, to do.

Do cleaning in short spurts throughout the day. I find it makes things so much easier to clean for a few minutes several times a day, rather than waiting until the mess will take hours. We usually aim for 9 am, 3 pm (before my husband comes home from work), and  sometimes after dinner. Most of the time I will do the after dinner clean-up myself. These cleaning bouts usually only take 10-15 minutes each. The kids will usually straighten their bedrooms 30 minutes before bedtime.

Let your older kids help with cooking and laundry. Having 12 people in the house means a lot of cooking and a lot of laundry. My 3 oldest each have a scheduled day to do their own laundry (I still end up doing a lot of theirs myself), and, as of right now, they each make dinner once a month. My 12 yr. old will often cook more than that because she loves being in the kitchen.

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One of my daughter’s culinary creations

Have periodic ”deep cleaning” days. We honestly don’t do these very often (usually before holidays), but occasionally we will spend about 3-4 hours cleaning and organizing things that tend to get skipped. It’s like getting a clean slate. So refreshing.

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Photos from our November deep cleaning session

With all this being said, though, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that ”clean” does not have to mean ”perfect.” While it’s important to have a home that is tidy, having a goal of perfection, especially if you have children, is only going to take you away from the things that are truly important.

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A godly woman once said to me, ”What are your children going to remember when they grow up? How clean the house was, or how much you played with them?”

Visit http://raisinghomemakers.com for great tips on homemaking, cooking, and more!