Thursday, May 31, 2012

How Do You...Handle Whining?

How to you deal with children who whine after being told no? 
submitted by Babychaser and Allyson

Ugh!  Whining is a constant struggle around our house!  I've come to realize that certain kids with certain personalities tend to whine more than others.  It doesn't mean they should be allowed to get away with it, though.  It just means I have to work harder to stay on top of it. 

I'll admit that sometimes I'm too busy or too lazy to cut the whining until it has gotten out of hand and become an ingrained habit. When I'm being more diligent, though, I have a no-tolerance policy toward whining. 

Whining is an ugly reaction to a child not getting his or her way.  It usually goes like this... a happy child asks for a cookie or another story before bed or to go outside in the rain.  I say no, and the happy child immediately dissolves into frowns, stomps, and whiny voice. This is when I say, "[Insert child's name], my answer was no and that is what I mean.  You can either stop whining now or I will [insert punishment]." 

It can take several days of whines and reminders and follow-throughs before I notice a difference.  It's a miserable series of days for me and for the child who is re-learning that whining does not get him or her anywhere.  In the end, though, the results are more than worth it!  (And then I slack off again and the whining returns and we have to go through this process once more.  When will we ever learn?!)

How do you combat whining?  Let us know in the comments. 

Also, if you have a question for a future "How Do You...?" post, share that in the comments, too, or send me an e-mail! I'd love to hear from you. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Civil War (by the books)

To read a brief overview of my history-teaching method, click here.  And remember: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.  They are a jumping off point for your own walk through history.


The Civil War

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco 

The Underground Railroad:
Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
Go Free or Die: A Story about Harriet Tubman by Jeri Ferris
The Clara Barton You Never Knew by James Lincoln Collier

Abraham Lincoln: 
Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Booksby Kay Winters
Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale  by Deborah Hopkinson
Mr. Lincoln's Whiskers by Karen Winnick
Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaire
Abe Lincoln's Hat by Martha Brenner

Tad Lincoln's Storyby F. N. Monjo
Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincolnby Jean Fritz    

Lee’s Surrender: 
The Silent Witnessby Robin Friedman

Assassination of Lincoln:
War's Endby Norma Jean Lutz

Reconstruction Era:
Caddie Woodlawnby Carol Ryrie Brink

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Summer Dress

Since Memorial Day is the un-official start of summer and we hit 90 degrees today, Alaine debuted her summer version of The Dress at our afternoon Sunday cookout. 

This time my design was inspired by a link my sister sent me.  Between a few scraps of fabric from my own stash and a little shopping at Hobby Lobby, I pulled the flower together easily.

To make this look summery and light, I dropped the T-shirt that she wore underneath for fall and winter and I added capri-length lacy pale pink leggings. 


I am more determined than ever to keep The Dress Project going until this dress is too small or turns to rags!  This floppy flower should take us through August, but I'm already thinking of ideas for the fall.  Any suggestions for the next design?  I'm even thinking of adding a layer of fabric or ruffles along the hem.  I'd love your opinions and links and pins

Thursday, May 24, 2012

How Do You...Juggle Multiple Bedtimes?

How do you manage bedtime with a wide range of ages? 

When my kids were all under five, it was easy to keep a single bedtime.  In the summer, it was between 8 and 8:30.  In the winter, it was between 7:00 and 8:00.  We noticed, however, that as Gavin grew older, he wasn't ready to sleep as early as the younger ones.  It was also harder to convince him it was bedtime when the summer sun still seeped around the pulled curtains.  Since he shared a bedroom with his younger (sleepier) siblings, we gave him the privilege of going to bed with a book.  He was allowed to stay up until he was tired as long as he was reading.  Reading settled him and made him sleepy so we never had to set restrictions on his reading time. 

When we moved to our new house last year, the boys got a bedroom and the girls got another.  We still keep Alaine's bed in our room, though, so we worked out a new bedtime routine.  Between 7:30-8:00, we all pray together and the three youngest are tucked into bed.  Gavin and Maddie then go into the girls' bedroom to listen to a portion of an audiobook.  They are allowed to stay up until 9:30-10:00, but the guidelines are similar to what they would be if they were in bed.  They cannot be loud.  Then cannot come out into the house for drinks or snacks or to talk.  Unless they need to use the bathroom, they need stay in the bedroom, quietly listening and winding down. 

Do your kids have different bedtimes?  How do you manage it?  Let us know in the comments.

If you have a question for a future "How Do You...?" post, share that in the comments, too, or send me an e-mail   

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

$3 Fun

What can you do with a $3 roll of masking tape? 

How about lay out a highway on the living room...

inspired by this pin

...and a small hopscotch course down the hall?

It's the perfect cure for a rainy or sticky, hot day, and you can't beat the clean-up either.  I think the kids had almost as much fun peeling up all the tape as they did playing!

We still have a third of our roll left.  Any creative suggestions? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Have I Mentioned We Have a Cat?

Back in February, when we adopted out dog, Finn, it was a long thought-out process.  Two of the boys said they would prefer we get a cat instead, but we ultimately chose a dog, and once Finn joined our family, we were all content with our pet situation. 

Last Monday, while preparing a quick breakfast before leaving for the grocery store, one of the kids noticed a furry black face, peering in our back door.  It was a small, long-haired black cat with glowing yellow eyes. We had noticed a black cat in our neighbors' yard many times so we assumed she was theirs.  Still, she seemed hungry so we fed her a dollop of tuna fish and then went on our way. 

When we returned home, she was gone, but she turned up again that evening, mewing at the back door for more food.  She was immensely friendly, not even minding when Alaine, our kitty enthusiast, rubbed her fur the wrong way.  The kids began begging to keep her, but we told them that she was probably the neighbors' cat and only visiting for a bite to eat. 

...but she was back the next day and began napping and sunning by the door.  She didn't seem to have plans to leave.  The questions and the pleadings continued from the kids.  They spent hours outside on the back deck, playing and rubbing and talking to the cat while she soaked up the attention.  When Finn visited her little corner of the world, though, she growled (yes, this cat growls!) and batted at his nose.  He jumped five feet backwards and decided to leave her in peace. 

On Tuesday evening, Brian, Maddie, and Gavin, carried the cat next door to return her, but as soon as they entered the yard, they were greeted by the "original" black cat, perched in a lawn chair.  They turned back around and carried the cat back home where Brian tentatively agreed to keep her.  We may have made the choice to adopt our dog, but it seems the cat decided to adopt us. 

So in addition to our energetic 40+ pound puppy, Finn, we now welcome a tiny, maybe 5 pound, fluffy-tailed cat named Kitt. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pioneers in the Pre-Civil War Era (by the books)

To read a brief overview of my history-teaching method, click here.  And remember: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.  They are a jumping off point for your own walk through history. 


The Log Cabin Quilt by Ellen Howard
The Log Cabin Church by Ellen Howard 
The Log Cabin Wedding by Ellen Howard 
A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family by Barbara Greenwood

Mountain Men 
Mountain Men: True Grit and Tall Tales by Andrew Glass

Sante Fe Trail (1821)
Tree in the Trail by Holling C. Holling 
The Alamo (1836)
Davy Crockett: Young Riflemanby Aileen Wells Parks
         (Childhood of Famous Americans series)
Susanna of the Alamo by John Jakes

Oregon Trail (1842-1843) 
Minnow and Rose by Judy Young
Facing West by Kathleen Kudlinski
Roughing It on the Oregon Trail by Diane Stanley 

Gold Rush (1849)
Gold Fever by Verla Kay 

Pony Express (1860)
Pony Express! by Steven Kroll

Friday, May 18, 2012

Water Water Everywhere

Owning our own home has been a lifestyle adjustment.  It is a good adjustment, but we went from renters who didn't have to paint or cut the grass or fix the pipes to owners who are responsible for everything!   We've had to learn to prioritize because it is tempting to jump into all of our projects at once.  Still, we made the decision when we moved here that if we started a project, we wanted it done the right way the first time so we're using restraint and  taking our time. 

The house has needed to be power washed since the day we moved in.  Parts of the siding were filthy, but others things took precedence.  As we ticked off the necessary fixes last summer and over the winter, I decided that I was tired of looking at grimy siding and that power washing needed to be at the top of the list for spring.  Of course, I was at Brian's mercy, but he agreed that it needed doing so last Saturday we geared up for a cleaning day. 

I admit I was a little too  giddy watching the dirty water stream down the side of the house.  I even tried my hand at the power washer a time or two.  Gavin took a turn, too.  We were all a little obsessed. 

The girls and I left for a baby shower in the afternoon, but when we returned, the house was white.  Not egg shell or off-white or gray, but a sunny, bright white... until Finn jumped up and put his muddy paw print by the door.  It was good while it lasted. 

Linking to...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How Do You...Introduce Solids?

How do you introduce solids to your babies and how do you encourage them to eat when they don't seem to be interested in solids at all?  (My 10.5-month-old son still won't eat more than a couple of tiny bites.)                                     
submitted by Suanna

My philosophy for introducing solids is similar to my philosophy on lots of things (like homeschooling and cleaning):

Keep it simple and don't pressure yourself (or your child)! 

Breastfed babies do not need any supplementation, including solid foods, until at least six months of age, but I found that neither of my babies was ready to begin solids until seven or eight months old...or even longer.  Owen was over a year old before he ate more than a few bites at a time.  Neither of my kids ate three meals a day until after their first birthdays.

I do not use jarred baby food, but I do not spend time making my own homemade baby food either.  By the time I offer bites to my babies, they are able to handle a mashed or soft version of what we are enjoying.  Grabbing food or trying to take over your spoon does not necessarily mean a baby wants to eat-- babies like to put everything in their mouths-- but it may mean he is ready to experiment with a new flavor.   Try a bite of sweet potato or a nibble of carrot and see what happens.  If he loves it, wonderful!  If not, no stress!  A baby will eat when he is developmentally ready. 

If you feel it is necessary to get your baby to eat more, try a variety of flavor and texture to see what appeals to him.  My babies thought it was fun to be handed a ripe peach and be allowed to suck and chew and drool to their heart's content.  Try slices of banana or hand him a whole one (while you supervise).  You may be surprised at what your baby likes if he's offered.  My youngest loved bites of onion when she was only 9-10 months old! 

How did you introduce solids to your baby?  Let us know in the comments.

Also, if you have a question for a future "How Do You...?" post, share that in the comments, too, or send me an e-mail! I'd love to hear from you. 

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