Discover Nature in Winter

January 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Outdoor Fun

Yesterday as I was blog hopping about looking for fun things to do with my girls for homeschooling I discovered this great book for doing nature studies with young ones.  The book is called Discover Nature in Winter by Pat Archer. 

This author actually has several nature discovery books but since we’re in winter now, and doing nature studies is 2 feet of snow isn’t always easy, this one in particular seemed to be the most practical.

Her books are very detailed and give ideas for fun, practical lesson plans and ideas to explore for the whole family – from little ones to us old folks!  For those of you who don’t homeschool, this is a great supplement to their schooling and a wonderful way to pull away from the TV or computer and interact as a family together!

Check out Pat Archers other nature discovery books too:

Discover Nature Close to Home: Things to Know and Things to Do (Discover Nature Series)Discover Nature Close to Home: Things to Know and Things to Do (Discover Nature Series)

Discover Nature at Sundown: Things to Know and Things to Do (Discover Nature Series)Discover Nature at Sundown: Things to Know and Things to Do (Discover Nature Series)

Discover Nature in Water & Wetlands: Things to Know and Things to Do (Discover Nature Series)Discover Nature in Water & Wetlands: Things to Know and Things to Do (Discover Nature Series)

Discover Nature Around the House: Things to Know and Things to DoDiscover Nature Around the House: Things to Know and Things to Do

Don’t they look like great books?  I’m throwing them all in my amazon shopping cart now and will add them in once in a while to an order to get it to the free shipping point!  Let me know what you think or if you’re a nature study parent, comment below and let us know about it!

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Moving Day Made Easy

November 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Articles

HALLANDALE, FL - MARCH 20:  Alvis Doras (L) an...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Moving can be stressful, especially if there are children involved. But, there are some things you can do to make it easier. Here are some tips to make the transition go more smoothly.

-Make a list
Trying to keep a running list in your mind of what needs to be done can tax your sanity. Early in the game – as in months ahead – take some time to sit down and make a comprehensive moving plan, complete with details. Then your mind can rest and you can see what has been done, and what you still need to do.

-Purge your house of unnecessary items
There is a reason why people have moving sales. Both packing and unpacking are made easier when there is less stuff. You don’t have to have a moving sale if the notion seems daunting. You can give your items to a charity or give them away online. Some charities will even come to your house and pick up your stuff.

-Organize
Whether you are packing and moving your own items or hiring movers, be sure the boxes are well labeled. Consider specific boxes for special items, especially those things that will be needed right away: cookware, special children’s toys, bedding, etc.

-Call ahead and have utilities ready
Arrange to have the utilities turned on and in your name on the day you move in. Nothing adds to stress like not having running water or electricity, and trying to make phone calls to get the utilities turned on when there is no phone service hooked up.

Moving with children

-Make lots of special visits to the new house with the children
Before actually moving in, take your children to visit the new house as often as is practical. Take a picnic and eat on the floor or in the yard, or bring a special toy reserved only for the new house. Consider a homecoming party when you do move in, where the children each get a special gift that signifies their new home. Talking about the party you are going to have will give children something to look forward to.

-Encourage participation
Children feel insecure when they feel something is happening to them without any input. While children may not get a choice in when/where you move, letting them participate in as many aspects of the move as possible will help them feel empowered and view the move in a more positive light. Allow them to help paint their new room, for example, or pick paint colors (narrow it down to two or three colors you can live with before letting them choose!). If children get to participate, they will gain a sense of ownership of the new house.

In time, your family will settle in and your new house will become home.

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How to Prepare Your Home for a Foster Child

November 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Articles

25 Things About Me (I've Been Tagged)
Image by DQmountaingirl via Flickr

A significant part of preparing your home for a foster child is preparing yourself. A prospective foster parent must prepare his or her heart to deal with the sacrifice, the pain (sometimes foster children have truly tragic stories), and the joy.

It’s also important to see to it that the child is comfortable in his or her new foster home. Of course, if you are prepared mentally and emotionally, that adds greatly to the child’s comfort. There are some practical things, too, that you can do to make the foster home a place of refuge and love.

* Know your state’s requirements

Much of the physical aspects of your home – types of toys, sleeping accommodations, etc. – are determined by the state. An inspector or case worker will come to your home and determine whether it is suitable for a foster child, looking for proper safety measures (such as smoke alarms), number of bedrooms (some states require a separate bedroom for each foster child), etc. It will make the process go a lot more smoothly if you find out your state’s requirements ahead of time.

* A welcoming home

Besides state regulations, you probably want your home to project a welcoming and peaceful atmosphere. Try to keep the household quiet on the day of the foster child’s arrival. Let your children know they will need to be quiet and calm, but not stifled. Make sure the house is free of clutter which can be overwhelming to a child who is already feeling traumatized. If you have pets, especially big dogs, put them outside or in a separate room at first.

* Put valuables away

Keep any “tempting” items, such as jewelry, electronics, or other valuables out of sight. As you adjust to this new child and discover his strengths and weaknesses, you will learn where you can relax the rules and where you need to tighten them up.

* The child’s own space

Remember that a foster child is going through something traumatic, and may have known little but trauma for most of her life. She will need a space of her own where she can go to process her thoughts and feelings when she feels overwhelmed. Prepare this special space, most likely a bedroom, by making it welcoming and peaceful – a comfortable chair, a neatly made bed, some books, and maybe some stuffed animals. Quiet, soft toys are a good place to start.

* Preparing your other children

Of course there will be a period of adjustment, and some bumps along the road are to be expected. To prevent any big set-backs, though, it is a good idea to prepare your children for the foster child. Let them know how things are going to be different, and why you are taking a foster child in to your home.

The whole family can participate to make the fostering experience a joyful and rewarding one for everyone involved.

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Advantages of Family Chore Charts

August 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Articles

Summer Chore chart
Image by SharkeyinColo via Flickr

When my children were younger the one thing that saved us was having chore charts. This article talks about the advantages of a similar system.

Do you use chore charts and rosters? Would love to hear about your experiences!

If your family has several members, it’s quite likely everyone has activities to attend. It’s also a good bet the parents expect the children to help with chores around the house. There are many advantages of family rosters, or charts, to keep your house running smoothly.

Chore Charts can make daily and weekly chores easier. By making a roster, you’re able to write down all the chores that need to be done and who is responsible for each chore. Then you can create a centralized roster for the whole family or give each person their own roster of chores.

Consider having a family meeting to discuss changes being made in regard to chores. Explain that each person, except infants, will be expected to help. You may also want to determine consequences for not doing chores in a timely manner. Some families even go as far as writing up a chores contract that each person is expected to sign, showing they understand their responsibility in helping keep the house running smoothly.

Start by knowing what each family member is able to do. Make a list of chores each person can do and then assign each one to the person best able to do them. Of course, if you have several children close in age, you may want to switch out days so they share duties. Continue to assign chores based on ability until all household chores are assigned and rosters made.

Don’t expect everyone to do their chores perfectly the first day. In fact, you may want to give yourselves a week to get used to the new family rosters. Once everyone learns what they’re supposed to do and actually does them, your house could begin to run smoother than it ever has.

One advantage of having family rosters is the fact that one person won’t be responsible for everything. It wasn’t uncommon in the past for women to “keep the home” while the men cared for everything outside. Times have changed, and traditional roles for caring for the home have changed as well.

Another advantage of family rosters is the work should get done quicker. The old proverb “many hands make light work” is true. If everyone is working to get their chores done each day, there won’t be so much work to do on the weekend. This will free everyone up to do things they enjoy rather than tackling chores at home.

Perhaps your family hasn’t been successful at keeping a family roster. Put past failures behind you and start afresh. When your family realizes the advantages of family rosters, they may be more willing to give it another try. Before long, your family will know what’s expected of them, do those things, and the house and family will thank you.

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