Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Real Treasure: Fly Lady

This is what I cleared OUT of one cabinet today.

Have you ever been to flylady.net? I have no idea where she got the name, but I love the woman all the same. Over the years she has taught me how to clean and organize my house with a simple no-nonsense system. I can't say her system makes it all fun, but it does make my house clean, organized, and a pleasure to live in. In theory, anyway.

Today is Tuesday, and in my adaption of her system - I clean the kitchen on Tuesday. If all goes as planned, which it hardly ever does, I do basic maintenance and one special project in the kitchen each Tuesday. This afternoon my two youngest children matched lids to cups and plastic containers for me. All else goes!
At our house: Monday is bathrooms (most important to have clean, and gets the yuckiest done first), Tuesday is kitchen/dining, Wednesday is bedrooms, Thursday is basement, and Friday is the living room.

Here's what the one cabinet now looks like without all the extras we don't ever use.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Free Museum Day 2009

Saturday, September 26 is FREE Museum Day for a number of great museums across the country. There are sure to be some great ones in your area; it's worth checking out if you don't have other plans on Saturday.

Here's a tip: pick a museum that usually charges admission! Some of the museums listed are free all the time. Which is great to know for other day excursions, but you may want to save "Museum Day" for a museum you couldn't or wouldn't go to otherwise. Make sure you print the pass so you can get the free admission.

Do you know of other venues you'd like to go to but can't afford? See if they have special discounts for certain days or times of year. Example: Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, MO just sent me an email notice that they are having "Homeschool Days" at the beginning of October. It will have reduced admissions for homeschoolers.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

DS Chinese Calligraphy

Look at my 5 year old son's Chinese Calligraphy -the ones on the left! We were doing a Chinese Calligraphy activity in our homeschool coop, where the kids were practicing the basic brush strokes used in chinese calligraphy using the "Everlasting" tile as an example. They were supposed to be practicing that particular symbol because it gives the best chance to practice the various strokes.

Youngest DS is a practical boy however, and he just switched and did the "Good Luck" symbol (directly below) instead. He said it was easier. Which indeed, it is - but I didn't have an example of "Good Luck" out so he was doing it from memory. lol

As I remember it, the boys were gathered around as I created the "Good Luck" tile (above) a few months ago. They like to watch me paint, and they are the first to say when things don't look right. Below is the tile for "Everlasting". It was created in my studio with no one around, come to think of it. Food for thought. (The strokes are better, less stiff).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Hulu Education

I want to share ideas for free resources. Freebie Fridays has such a nice ring to it - but the beginning of the week needs perking up IMO. We live a frugal lifestyle and I'm always on the lookout for money savers, or even better - Free! So I'll share what treasures I've found on Tuesday Treasures.

I'm a huge fan of The Tightwad Gazette (I own all 3). There are so many golden nuggets tips hidden in the Tightwad Gazette. Happily, it's often suited to our homeschooling lifestyle, and what's cheaper is quite often better for our environment. I've been "green" since long before it was fashionable.

Have you been to Hulu.com? It has a huge variety of free TV shows to watch online. We don't have cable anymore, and it helps fill the gap sometimes. Checking out movies, TV shows, and documentaries from the library is also great.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kansas City Zoo

Here's a lion looking straight at my son eye to eye.

We went to the KC Zoo on Tuesday (their discount day!), and I have to say it was the best visit to the KC Zoo I've ever had. Of course, that's not saying much. Still, I can see the improvements they have made in the last 4 years and I liked it.

For example, on the Africa trek there are now two native houses to stop and explore. I thought that was fun! Of course, I like that kind of thing.

Australia now has an Outback...place to explore. Nice "homeschooling" break with coral, shells, bugs, sheep wool, and other things nicely displayed. See below.

KC Zoo is good to the animals by allowing lots of space, but it can be disappointing to the visitors who walk, and walk, and walk, in the hot sun just to get to another exhibit where the animal is intelligent enough to be in a "cave" way at the back of the exhibit. On Tuesday we had overcast skies and I actually got to see the cheetahs! The zoo was empty and the animals were out, yahoo! My youngest loved the meerkats. Meerkats? You can never tell what will strike a child's fancy.

Our eldest took this family picture near the entrance.

As we just getting on the highway the first raindrops started to fall. Luckily we were there for 5 hours and no rain on us.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Learning to Read Website

Have you ever heard of Starfall? It is a free website with lots of great interactive content for learning to read. My sons used it for memorizing their letters when they were 3 and 4. The earliest section covers the alphabet, and each letter can be clicked on for fun letter and sound associations followed by a game. So if you know any preschoolers - pass on the word.

Early elementary age children can read the stories they have online, and do the activities listed. The seasonal items (snowman, etc) are always hits in our house. We even print those out. My children aren't on the computer much - but Starfall always makes for worthwhile computer time.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Garage Sale Treasure

It always amazes me when the simplest things continue to bring me pleasure. A few weeks ago I bought this mortar and pestle at a garage sale for a dollar. From time to time I've wanted to crush something over the years - but mostly I just thought it was cool.

It's been on my kitchen window sill and each time I see them there it reminds me of simple times, doing things for yourself, and the beauty of practical objects made of wood. It just wouldn't be the same in plastic, huh?