Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spelling word puzzle practice

Need ideas to help your kids practice his/her spelling words.  This is one of our favorites.  I outline index cards with markers (it was to show them which way the letters go, but we have now added a line under the word also, the o, u, and n are very tricky).  I do each word in a separate color to help them out. 
Some day I'll figure out how to edit things on here, until then you get a sideways picture.  I think you get the point though.
Then I cut the puzzles apart in between each letter.
I store the whole weeks group of words in a ziploc bag.  Some of these words actually go along with their reading stories but some are just sight words so we can reuse these at a later date.  I did not laminate them because they held up pretty well for a couple days but you certainly could do so if you chose to.

Don't like peanut butter? Maybe it doesn't matter...

I have recently (a week ago) decided to go Gluten Free (GF) to see if it would relieve some crazy symptoms I've been having that has left my doctors stumped.  My first struggle is not with bread but with cookies.  All I want is cookies.  Every cookie is made with flour :(  I've been searching websites and finding some recipes but they all want you to use a GF flour mix.  Oh my goodness are those expensive.  I saw on one online site for a 5 pound bag....$25.00, yes, you read that correctly.  You can mix up your own, it might be a little cheaper but I haven't order the separate flour mixes yet.  Thankfully I have a couple family members and a couple friends that having been living GF for a while and are sharing recipes with me.  I made a GF peanut butter cookie recipe my friend sent me last night.  The whole family loved them, even my son, Shane, who doesn't even like peanut butter.  His response?  "These cookies are paralyzing me with yumminess!"  I think they are a winner.  So here is my friends kid approved flourless peanut butter cookie recipe.

Easy Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
Mix all ingredients well and drop by tablespoon fulls* onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper**. Flatten with a fork or the bottom of a drinking glass. Bake at 350 F for 11 minutes***. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet.

*I rolled mine like traditional peanut butter cookies out of habit, then flattened with a fork.
**Parchment paper?  Who has that on hand?  I didn't and mine were fine without it, didn't even spray the pan.
***Mine only took 9 minutes so who knows how long they will really take in your oven.  We could smell ours were done before the timer went off.  :)

If I was a better blogger there would have been pictures to go with this recipe (I'll get those next time around, I know there will be a next time).

My family is being totally supportive of my GF eating but not all wanting to give up their flour and wheat just yet.  My aunt though, after tasting these cookies, said if all GF food tasted this good I could totally do this.

My next dessert recipe to try is a crustless pumpkin pie (another dessert I was sad I was going to miss out on).  The picture looks amazing.  Can't wait to try it out.  I let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Planning ahead (a Christmas scavenger hunt idea)

Putting up Christmas lights gets me started thinking about our annual Christmas parent's night out.  Parent's night out is a fundraiser our church does a couple times a year.  It lasts from 6-11pm on a Friday night.  We feed the kids dinner, have a devotion, play games, do crafts, have snack, do a scavenger hunt and always end the night with a game of Hide and Seek in the dark.  Our Christmas one is a little different.  It is free to the parents.  Our gift to them, a free night without kids.  We usually do a gift drive for local foster kids but they do no have to contribute to come. 

Anyway, back to the Christmas lights and how that gets me thinking ahead.  I always make the scavenger hunt relate to whatever our theme for the night is.  However with up to 50 kids doing the scavenger hunt we have about 10 groups, so instead of clues they are given a list of things they must find hidden all over the church.  I always to basically the same scavenger hunt at Christmas but they don't seem to get tired of it nor do I.  We usually put up some new lights and the pack rat in me can't throw away those perfect boxes.  Instead I gather pieces of a paper nativity (this year we are using a sticker one we ordered from Oriental Trading after Christmas last year when it went on clearance, yes, we have saved them all year :) ) cut them apart to put one piece in each box.  I then wrap each of the teams in different Christmas wrapping paper (which I also stock up on after Christmas.  Last year I got a lot at target for 20 cents a roll when it all went 90% off, the joys of having a sister working there).  I hide the boxes throughout the church and give the team leader a sample of their paper.  They must find all packages with their correct paper.  After all packages are found they must return to the starting area, open the packages, assemble their nativity and clean up their mess before winning.  Love it!  So much fun.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Christmas already?

Some people think I'm crazy but I love Christmas.  I would decorate in July if the family would let me.  We have so many family traditions that go with Christmas.  It is such an exciting time with our family.  I have so many wonderful Christmas memories.  Mostly importantly it is a time where we celebrate the birth of my Savior Jesus Christ.  If he had not come, we couldn't be saved.  Life would be so much different.  We would have to offer sacrifices and such to atone for our sins, now we just have to ask for forgiveness, he has done the hard part for us and for that I'm so thankful.

We might not start in July with decorating but do start in October.  In fact, we are starting today.  Mom has taken the week off and we will start putting up lights.  What?  Lights in October?  Yes, when you put up 60,000 lights or more you got to get started, especially when we only have one free weekend before we turn them on for the season. 

My grandpa started decorating for Christmas when I was very little (maybe before, I'm not sure what year it started).  One year in particular as I remember the story, he put up only a cross with lights on it lighting it up.  A man drove by that night, he was planning to end his life that very night.  He came back though.  He told my grandpa he saw that cross on the way to kill himself and realized he was making a bad choice.  He knew God loved him.  To this day, the cross still remains in our yard with our decorations.  We have added many other things but the cross still stands.  It is tattered, a little rotten but it still stands. 

I remember so many nights of sitting out with my grandpa watching my parents work as he would tell them higher or lower with the lights to line them up straight around the trees.  We would sit and drink our hot chocolate and talk.  Some nights he would dress up as Santa and we would dress up as his elves.  Some nights we would just sit out by his outdoor fireplace and watch the cars go by. 

I remember one of the last times my grandpa saw the lights.  It was the last Christmas he was with us.  He had been so sick he could only watch us work from his window but he got so much joy from seeing us carry on.  This particular moment though someone was driving him to the doctor, I was working on putting something up.  He rolled down the window to look at everything and I saw a tear in his eye.  It meant so much to him that we were carrying on for him.  I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it now.  I miss him so much.  He won't physically be here this Christmas with us but he won't be forgotten.  We will carry on in his memory. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cancer sucks but my God is still good. All the time!

This blog I said would be about kids.  Today it is about my kids and a sad/happy time they are going through.  Life isn't all fun and games, sometimes kids face not cool stuff but it helps to shape them.  How we lead them through these times will determine how they will react when they get older I believe. 

Tomorrow we will celebrate the life of a man who recently lost his battle with cancer.  It was a quick devastating battle lasting only a few short months.  How do you go from not being sick to being given 6 months to a year and barely making it 6 months?  I just don't understand why some things happen.  It isn't for me to understand I guess only to trust that it is all part of God's plan.  How many people's lives were touched by this man?  Many I'm sure.  He was eccentric in my eyes, a different kind of guy.  However, every day from the moment he received his diagnosis and prognosis he claimed healing.  He wasn't healed here on Earth but today he is whole again without pain and suffering.

My kids without fail prayed for Mr. Doc every night.  Zach probably doesn't understand but Shane does.  In fact cancer is something we have talked a lot to him about.  Two years ago our pastor's wife lost her battle with cancer.  Did he fully understand then?  I don't think so but we prayed for her nightly with him.  Last year during the month of October some of the football teams were sporting their pink in support of Breast cancer awareness, he started asking questions.  Then earlier this year daddy got really sick and had an iv in his arm for 2 weeks to receive daily IV antibiotics.  He expressed such concern to his teacher.  He thought daddy had cancer and was going to die.  Too much for such a little guy.  I talked to several people about how to deal with him (friends, doctors, teachers, pastors).  Explain it on his level they all suggested but don't sugar coat it.  That is what we did.  He is so sensitive to it. 

The day we found out about Mr. Doc's passing I knew I had to tell him.  I had to tell him now our prayers need to change.  We no longer need to pray for Mr. Doc but his family.  He cried a lot, sad for my Doc.  I used it as a time to talk about Heaven and how great it is up there.  I explained to him Mr. Doc was suffering so much here, he couldn't walk or play guitar anymore.  None of the stuff he liked to do, and he was hurting all the time.  In heaven he is with Jesus, not hurting and not sad. 

What I find sad is that my kids have been to more memorial services/funerals than they are old combined.  Why take them?  Why subject my kids to that?  On most occasions we have done it for finality to them.  yes, I realize they are young but it is what we think is for the best. 

We have a friend currently in the fight of her life, battling cancer.  We are praying and believing for a full healing.  Her kids are the ages of my kids approximately.  It is so hard for me to watch.  A wake up call really, life is so short.  Like with Mr. Doc, my kids faithfully remember to pray for Ms. Robin every night.  I was worried after hearing about Mr. Doc Shane might think that prayers don't work.  If we are honest with ourselves I'm sure we have all thought that about something one time or another, why did God let that happen?  Why didn't he hear my prayers?

The fact of the matter is God always hears our prayers.  And...he always answers them.  Does he answer them the way we want?  No!  He answers according to his will.  Sometimes his answer is yes, providing healing or whatever you've asked for, sometimes the answer is wait, and sometimes the answer is no. 

I believe that is both these battles lost with cancer in Mr. Doc and Ms. Linda's situation God was still glorified.  His name was proclaimed over and over.  They lived lives of godliness despite their circumstances and I believe others were witnesses to God's love and power through them both. 

I believe that Ms. Robin's life is also an amazing testimony to God's power.  Her strength and peace I believe can only come from God.  She is amazing to me. 

As for Shane doubting prayer and its power, he has not wavered.  He still believes God is able to heal Ms. Robin.  (I'm not doubting it either, I believe he will do it).  He believes God hears and answers our prayers, (looks like I way underestimated my little man, I should have known he was strong enough to not be swayed by what looked like an unanswered prayer).

Tomorrow Shane and Zach will attend the service with us as Mr. Doc is celebrated and God is lifted up.  Tomorrow I expect to hear people speak of how this man touched their lives and how God was seen in him.  It reminds me to live my life so that people will see God in me?  When I'm gone, what will people say about me?  Will they speak of God's love?  What about you?  What will people say about you? 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A few math ideas for all ages.

 A couple days ago I posted about this cute things I found at the dollar tree and had laminated.  I've made math activities for different ages using them.  Here are some things you could do with them.
This one I'm planning to use for the little kids, (pre-k to 1st grade)
This one I also plan on using for the little kids.
The next two I'm planning to use for Kyle.  Although he is 11 and in advanced math I don't want station time for him to be like school.  I don't want everything to be stressful.  He can do much larger problems than these but sometimes review of basic facts are good too.  So...these could be used for 4th or 5th grade or 6th grade as a review.
Here is how I decided to store these for now anyway.  I haven't tried them yet with the kids in these storage packages.  I'm not sure they will hold up.  I put the name of the activity at the top so I can quickly thumb through my box without having to pull everything out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Do everything without complaining and arguing.

I hate pinterest.  I'm not sure why, I just can't do it.  From what I hear though it saves me a lot of time.  However, I love pinterest ideas.  If one of my friends posts something onto facebook from pinterest I will usually check it out.  If they thought it was good surely I will to.  One day my friend posted this idea. 
Make a jar,  (ours said:  Do everything without complaining and arguing.  Philippians 2:14) fill it with 20 quarters, any time the child was caught arguing or complaining they must give a quarter to whoever they were arguing with.  At the end of the week whatever money remains in their jar they get to keep.  We did it a little different.  I used 20 dimes instead (and we may change it to nickles) (I did the quick math, $5 a week x 2 kids x 4 weeks=$40 a month).  I would also say to them the first time I heard it, "you are arguing, would you like to give me money?"  Usually that was enough to stop the arguing, they did however sometimes lose money.  This idea actually worked for us, arguing has gone way down.  

Since the idea worked for us and arguing and complaining have decreased I decided to change it up a bit.  Our lastest issue (surely my kids aren't the only ones out there) is that I find myself repeating a lot of instructions.  I'm like a broken record, put on your shoes, put on your shoes, put on your shoes or pick up your towel, pick up your towel, pick up your towel.  It gets old quick.  So, I'm changing our verse.  Our new verse is "Children, obey your parents int he Lord for this is right."  Epheisans 6:1.  When I have to repeat myself, they will give me 1 coin.  We also let them earn money back for extra good behavior.  I don't want them to get down to a few and think why bother being good now, I've lost everything anyway.  Good behavior is what we are striving for.
What do a 3 year old and 5 year old need money for?  Currently they are beginning to save up money for christmas shopping.  Each year I take them to the dollar tree and allow them to pick out gifts for everyone in the family.  We do the dollar tree for price reasons since they don't totally grasp the concept of money.  Really does dad or grandma want something from the dollar tree, probably not but what I feel like we are teaching them is to be thoughtful.  They really look around and think about the person they are buying things for. Each child is taken indivitually and buys for all other 14 family memebers that will be there Christmas morning.  (another reason we hit the dollar tree with 5 kids, I do this with my siblings also).  It usually takes an hour or longer and they aren't allowed to buy anything for themselves, this is about other people.   I want them to learn to be thoughful and I want them to realize it isn't all about getting stuff but also giving stuff.  It also isn't the same if I just give them money as it is if they have worked to earn it. 
Last year my little brother (age 10) learned a hard lesson.  He didn't want to do any extra stuff to earn money.  We kept saying no one was going to give him money he could olny presents with what he had earned and he must buy one for each of the other 4 kids because they don't understand not getting something.  He ended up only having $6 and had to choose who else to spend the money on.  That was a hard one for me as we were shopping and he was so disappointed in himself and couldn't get something for everyone.  It was also hard Christmas morning on him when he didn't have something for everyone else.  Sometimes stuff like that makes the greatest impression.  This year he is moving up to walmart or whereever he wants to shop, we have decided $1 at his age with his opportunities is no longer enough.  I'm happy to say, he is already doing well saving up, he doesn't want a repeat of last year. :)

What? No stations?

On Monday I had a terrible migraine and didn't feel like gathering station materials.  In a perfect world I would have tons of them ready to go but since I'm just getting this thing off the ground that isn't the case.  (Although I got several together yesterday and a few more together today.)  It was also a beautiful fall day (not typical at all for Florida) and my dad was going to be preparing dinner (usually I'm cooking during station time).  So, I decided we would skip stations and I would keep an eye on them while they played outside. 

When the kids got off the bus and ran to the table for snack time they noticed there were no supplies for stations.  Usually I have all the materials in the middle of the table to explain them before moving them to their special areas.  "What are we doing for station time?" I was asked.  I replied, "We are going outside instead of stations."  I was met with a loud and long, "Nooooooooo!"  Don't get me wrong these kids love to play outside (we try to go out every evening after dinner).  They were so disappointed there were no stations though.  Such a satisfying moment for me.  Sometimes as moms, teachers, caregivers we often wonder if what we do is noticed or appreciated (maybe I'm alone with those feelings).  It was so neat to hear they really loved stations. 

We started stations back up yesterday and will do some new ones today.  I'm working on many new ones to share with you, (will be putting up a new set of four ideas with those cute dollar tree items I posted about yesterday, tomorrow). 

Coming in a bit...a way we are trying to get ahold of arguing and complaining in our house.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I'm excited about this great find.

Check out these cool sets I found at the dollar tree.  (Love that store, I get so many good things from there.  I love that they have started carrying teacher stuff).  There were 12 of each design in each pack (12 peanut butter, 12 jelly, etc.)  I love that they are so cute and colorful and best of all that they were only $1. per pack.

I haven't quite decided how to use them but I have a couple matching activities in mind.  Stop back buy to see how I ended up using them.  I laminated them ahead of time.  I heard from a teacher friend that if you use a permanent marker after something has been laminated you can clean it off with a magic eraser.  I haven't yet tried this but I figured this way I could give it a try for myself.  If it works, I can change the content of my matching activities.

My go to website

Today I'm not going to post about a station.  I may have jumped the gun a bit on a station blog.  I'm realizing now I should have had several post prepared before starting.  Oh well, I promise there will be tons more.  Here's proof. 
A little embarrassed to say this is my desk, well one of them, the other is actually mostly clean, although I'm sure you don't believe that after seeing this.  Regardless, there is no less than 30 stations I'm working on hiding in this mess.  Believe it or not, there is a bit of organization there but only I would know it.  My goal for the day is to tackle this mess and complete some of my ongoing projects.  The hold up?  I need to make a run to walmart today for some envelopes and bags for storage purposes, then maybe I can get it under control.  Okay, that could just be an excuse but I really do need more bags and envelopes :)  I told you, I'm really good at starting things, not always good at carrying through.

Back to the title of this post.  I love finding a great website that I can find great stuff on.  I have several but I'm not going to share them all at once (I might need them for another day when I don't have it all together).  I think this site is my all time favorite site.  DLTK-kids. For years I've been using this site.  It is full of printable bible crafts, animal crafts, holiday crafts, bible lessons, mini books, bingo games, and so much more.  If ever I'm looking for anything this is the first place I go to.  She also has several other sister sites that I love as well.  If you are ever in need of a craft, you will probably be able to find it here.  I can't begin to guess how many activities my kids and all my church kids have done from this site.  LOVE IT!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Six activities with Color/Shape flash cards.

Yep, you read that correctly.  6 activities with two packs of color/shape flash cards.  I purchased mine at walmart on clearance for .50 each at the end of the back to school sale.  The dollar tree usually sells them too.  I laminated my cards but it probably wasn't necessary. 
  1. Color sorting:  sort all the cards by color.

2.Shape sorting:  sort all the cards by shape

3. Color patterning:  make a pattern with the colors.

4. Shape patterning:  make a pattern with the shapes.

5.Matching:  This is where you would need the second set of flash cards.  Have the kids find the match.  Mine were two sided cards so it makes it a tad more difficult but not impossible.

6.Make a rainbow:  Sort the cards in rainbow order.

I tried to create some labels for bags.  Well I did create them but I can't figure out how to link the pdf to here...gonna need to do a little more research.  If you would like them before I can figure it out email me and I will email them directly to you.  juneandcasey@cox.net

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Teachers Pay Teachers

Looking for material for your classroom, homeschool, or like me, station time.  Check out Teachers Pay Teachers.  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/ This website was suggested to me by my best friend, a first grade teacher.  All the material on it is designed by teachers, sold for cheap.  The best part, my favorite anyway, is that there is tons of stuff you can download for free.  I've used several things for stations from this site.  I've found worksheets for Kyle (age 11), coloring sheets, games, etc.  They have tons of catergories, all subjects, holidays, age groups.  So much stuff.  Hope you enjoy it.

Puzzle station

Today's station idea is puzzles.  Pretty self explanitory, I know.  Good thing since I can't find my camera.  Puzzles are available at all times to our children.  If you have children though, you probably know that they don't play with half the stuff they have.  Give them 10 minutes though and say you may only play with puzzles, they enjoy it.  Our puzzle station puzzles are not puzzles they have access to at all times.  They are special ones, ones they only get to use on occassion.  We probably do a puzzle station once a week usually with the option of 2 puzzles.  (It has been requested by the girls that we have girly stations, this is one I can easily give them the option of something girly.  The Dollar tree has lots of princess puzzles usually.) Most of my puzzles have been picked up at the dollar tree (they have puzzlse of all sizes for only $1).  I have also found puzzles in the dollar section at Target and most recently at the newly added dollar spots in our Walmart. 

I hope tomorrow to have a cooler station idea with pictures, providing I can find the camera and figure out how to add the pictures.  I have many more ideas.  Come back soon.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Painting station

My first station idea to share is a basic one.  Who has time for in depth stuff all the time, sometimes just a quick go to something is what we need. 

At the end of the back to school sales I found some water color sets on clearance for .25.  I grabbed those up.  For us, it is best to have 1 set per kid (ours are labeled, you are only allowed to use yours), no one wants to share with Zach, all his colos are mixed.  I also, like many of you probably, have an over abundance of coloring books (if you don't, the dollar store has tons of them for only $1).  I tear out a bunch of pages, some girly some not.  I make sure to have at least 2 per kid per station time.  Erica (7) takes longer, she takes her time and hers look beautiful. Shane (6) just likes to do as many as he can :)  There is also a great website I use often for coloring pages.  http://coloring.ws/  One of my favs, it has a little bit of everything.  Painting is one of their favorite activities, probably because we don't do it often :)

I plan to include pictures for most of my station times but I haven't figured that out just yet, nor do I have pictures yet, nor do I want to wake up any kids to demonstrate.  Hopefully within the next few posts I will be able to include some pictures.  I think you can figure this one out without them though :)

What are stations?

For us we call our quiet time station time.  When I look online for other ideas I'm usually finding them called quiet time activities or busy bag activities.  Mine are not in bags, nor are they quiet.  I haven't found a good way that works for storing them all, some fit in bags, some just don't.  I haven't found a storage system that works for us yet, there will be a post about it if ever I find one.  Sometimes we are quiet (they aren't allowed to talk to people at another station) and sometimes they aren't.  Sometimes they just make noise and sometimes I let them until I get too annoyed, they have had to sit quietly all day at school.  Zach usually works with a partner since I'm cooking and can't help him with instructions every time they move, so where ever he is is not quiet.  And computer station...they think they have to have that loud to hear it.

Our station time usually last between 40 and 50 minutes.  Each day I plan 4 different stations and if the computer is available it is a 5th station.  Since all of Kyle's text books are now online or on CDs he sometimes uses the computer all afternoon.  In a couple years I see a second or even third computer in the living room.  The kids spend 10 minutes at each station.  We tried 15 minutes, it is just too much time for my group usually, unless it is something they love like painting.  Originally I thought we could do the same stations all week.  They blew a hole in that the second day.  The activities didn't last long enough for a whole week and the ones that could have, 5 days was just too boring.  So, I change them up every day.  It's more work but I enjoy it.  Ocassionally we have a project that last two days (if someone doesn't throw them away...oops, that happened this week.  We were making turkeys and someone else thought they were just scraps and they got tossed.  Come to think of it, the kids never even asked about it). Sometimes the content is based on where they might be struggling at school, (rhyming words, math, spelling words) sometimes they are just fun.  I don't want them to feel like this is just school extended but I don't want to just waste their time either.  Learning can be fun without you realizing you are learning.  There is usually a lot of variety in our stations, not all math one day and art the next.  Our kids really love this time.  They love when I've made a new station or gotten new materials.  Just to be clear, our whole day isn't so structured but when you've got 5 kids and are preparing dinner for 12 people you have to do something to stay sain.  These kids can demolish the living room in 2 seconds flat.  They do play outside but with the varying ages/sexes we try to keep an eye on that, I'm just too crazy cooking dinner to send them out to play usually.  We try to head out as a family after dinner (we eat an early dinner)

Planning stations is what gave me the idea of a blog.  I plan stations for 5 children...
  • an 11 year old boy.  There is really not a lot for his age.  Maybe people don't need stuff for kids this old I guess.  He probably doesn't either but he feels left out without them.  For him I try to find fun worksheets.  If we do a craft he usually just does it.  Crafts are one of those things that can be as in depth as you want them to be.  Some days he doesn't get to do stations (because of homework), some days he does.  If it is a station I'm not sure he will want to do he always has the option to read instead (he loves to read) but he almost always chooses the station.
  • a 7 year old girl.  She is probably the easiest to plan stations for.  She loves everything school related, loves to do art, and can already read well so she needs little help. 
  • a 6 year old girl.  She is also fairly easy to plan for.  She sometimes rushes through a little bit more though and I'm finding that many times if we do a worksheet activity, I probably need a plan for her to do on the back.  There will be 4 minutes left and she will be saying what do I do now.
  • a 6 year old boy.  This one is a little harder.  He gets bored quickly.  He worries about what he gtes to do in each of the next stations instead of focusing on the one he is at.  He can't be bothered to write his letters on the line (if only he realized he is the reason they keeping getting handwriting practice primarily) or color neatly.  He really does like station time though.
  • a 3 year old boy.  As the baby he has learned to play the baby card a lot.  How young they learn.  If it is something he doesn't want to do he tells me he is too little.  Of if he gets in trouble for something he says the big kids taught it to him.  He isn't much for station time (probably becuase he isn't alreay in a structured environment like the others).  If it is manipulatives he likes it, if it is handwriting practice he has to potty or something.  These are just a couple reason why he is usually partnered with one of the older kids each day.  That and he has been along all day and loves to be with them when they get home.
I do not plan different stations for each kid (not 20 stations in 1 day) usually.  Occassionally the oldest one has different stuff more on his level but the others all do the same station with the exception of handwriting, the youngest one ususally has something more on his level.  He is learning basic writing skills (tracing the lines, etc.)

That is the basic explanation of our stations.  Think you don't have time for stations.  Maybe not, many people are busy with sports and such but if you just had some prepared in the closet for that rainy day or when the kids were at each other and you just needed a break.  Break up your weekend with some alone time. 

What's coming next?  I will share the first station idea:)  (If you haven't noticed yet, I love the smiley...you will see it often, be warned).  Stay tuned!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Who is June Walters and why does she feel the need to blog?

I am...a Christian.  A child of God.  I have had a relationship with Christ for since I was 15 years old.  I attend Valparaiso Assembly of God in Valparaiso, FL.  I love being involved in church and love seeing my kids and other people's kids grow in Christ.

I am...wife to Casey.  Casey and I met in 1998, during a visit home from college.  He had come to Niceville with the United States Air Force.  We didn't start dating until fall/winter 1999 and were engaged February 2000.  We married June 17th, 2000.  Yes, that means I have been married 12 years (that also means, I'm getting old, ouch!)  We've been through some things, moved to Okinawa, Japan for 4 years, lost our house and all our belongings in Katrina, and got out of the Air Force.  We are stronger for everything we have faced.  I can't imagine life without him.  He is the love of my life.

I am...mom to Shane and Zachary.  Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a mom.  Some girls grow up with big plans to be different things.  I wanted to be a mom, I didn't care what else.  In November 2006 we welcomed our first son, Shane Russell Walters.  He is such a joy, so sweet, tender hearted, sensative and smart.  In May 2009 we welcomed our second son, Zachary Russell Walters.  He is so much fun.  Similar and different from his big brother.  He is more fiesty, sometimes sneaky but so sweet.  Yes, both of our children have the same middle name, I agree it is a little strange.  It is a family name though, Casey's middle name, his dad's middle name and his grandfather's middle name is/was Russell.  I'm not sure if it goes back farther or not. We decided to carry it on.  If we had 10 boys they would all have the same middle name (we don't plan on anymore children though). 

I am...daughter to Lloyd and Shannon Losinger.  My parents have faced many difficult situations but have overcome them all. They have amazing strength and determination.  I'm so proud to be their daughter.  Together they had 3 children.  When life should have been slowing down for them they took in two foster children.  One of those boys is now my brother.  Also added are two more beautiful sisters.  They have spent their lives giving to people.  They are amazing to me.  They are there for whoever needs them.

I am...sister to 5 siblings.  I am the oldest of 6 children, 3 blood sisters and 3 adopted siblings.  Although to us, blood means nothing.  they are my brother and sisters.  Yes, we have different birth parents but we are one family.  They were picked to be part of our family.  Missy is the second of the Losinger children although now she is a Lovell.  She is married to Jacob.  Kristen is the next sister.  She is still a Losinger although that will change someday :)  Kyle is my only brother (I do have several brother-in-laws, Casey has 4 sisters himself).  He is 11 and all boy.  He loves football and video games.  Erica has just turned 7 and is so studious.  She loves reading and writing.  Toya is now 6 (well tomorrow).  She and Shane are the same age. She is sweet and sneaky all at once.  She is Zachary's best friend I think, she is always loving on him. 

I am...a teacher at heart.  I have no official degree but it is in my blood.  I love teaching kids.  I love watching them learn something.  I love planning activities for them.  I love being with kids.  I come from a huge family that is very kid oriented.  I have been involved in kids ministry since I got saved.  Our children's pastor at the time gave me a place and let me help her in kids church.  She had a huge impact on my life (and consequently the lives of many children I believe). 

So...why am I doing this?  Well for many of the above reasons, because I am a mom, sister and teacher.  I'm always on the lookout for new activities for events we are doing or holiday time or just because.  This school year presented me with a problem.  Everyday I get the kids off the bus and we hang out while I cook dinner for everyone.  The first couple of days were crazy, I realized the kids needed some downtime, alone time.  They had been with people all day and just needed a break.  After snack we have about 1 hour before dinner.  Perfect amount of time for activities.  So i started station time with them.  I could find TONS of preschool stuff but NOTHING for Kyle's age (11).  Even Erica in first grade can read but Shane and Toya (both in Kindergarten) can't so not everything is all on each of their levels.  So I began searching the internet thinking I must be the only one with an issue like this.  Surely I'm not though, so I decided I would make a blog posting ideas for different age levels that we have done or would like to do.  So that is what I will do, postings on activities, recipes for kids, and much, much more as time goes by.  Some activities will be educational, some just fun :)

Choosing a name.

For weeks I've been trying to come up with a name for my blog.  I asked people for input after sharing where I wanted to go, they were no help (thanks ladies, I love you anyway).  Finally it hit me yesterday With lots of Tender Love and Care, it is part of me, it is what made me who I am.  How might you ask?  I shall explain. 

Many, many years ago a man took in my dad and raised him as his own.  At the time my dad was a very troubled teenager.  This man, my grandpa, Carl Tew, changed my dad's future the day he took him in.  Fast forward a couple years.  My dad had joined a traveling carnival, during one stop he met and fell in love with a 16 year old girl and married her (my mom of course :) ).  There they were 16 and 18 married and a baby on the way and needing a place to live.  They moved to New Orleans to live with my grandpa.  His family loved them as though they were blood.  They were treated as well as their own children and grandchildren.  Fast forward a few more years.  My grandpa moved to Florida and bought two pieces of property and put a house on each one.  My parents lived in one, his sister and brother-in-law (Joyce and Bob Crandall) lived in the other and he lived in a travel trailer parked on the lot.  Someone started calling them the TLC compound (Tew, Losinger, Crandall, but it also stood for Tender Love and Care).  So for years they signed Christmas cards the TLC compound and were known as such.  Fast forward many more years...I got married adding the name Walters into the mix.  So we threw it at the beginning, With Tender Love and Care.  Fast forward a couple more years, Missy married and now we have Lovell's.  So for now the name is With Lots of Tender Love and Care.  Items from our family are signed WLTLC now.  The T from our name is now gone but he remains in our hearts forever, without him, there might not still be a L or would have ever been a W and another L.  He is part of who we are.  I don't know how it will change over the years as more of my siblings get married but until then it remains WLTLC. 

Many people look at our family and think it is strange.  My aunt and uncle (Bob and Joyce) have now moved in with my parents since it is handicap accessible.  Casey and I returned home and live next door to my parents in one of the original houses here.  Missy and Jacob only live about 10 minutes away.  We do everything together.  Shopping days, birthdays, football games, everything.  We love being together.  Thankfully the son-in-laws fit right in and love it too.  (Note to any future in-laws, take one, you get us all :) )  Some people are envious of our relationships and closeness and wish they had even some of it with their own families.  All these people in my life have helped shape me into the person I have become.  Without them I would probably be someone very different.

As for With Lots of Tender Love and Care, it is something I strive for.  I have not arrived.  I have bad days like everyone else.  I'm grumpy some days and not much fun to be around.  I however long to be one that shows love and compassion at all times.  I love 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 where it talks about love. 

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
I want to love with that kind of love.  I want people to look at me and see God's love in me. 

I'm really doing it.

I'm really doing it.  I'm finally starting a blog.  Going to give it a shot anyway. It is something I've been debating for some time now.  Many things have become excuses for me.  I have terrible grammar, language arts was never a good subject for me.  I don't really have time to do everything I want to do.  Where do I start?  These are just a few excuses I've come up with but upon the urging of some friends I've decicded to give it a try.  What's the worst that could happen?  No one follows me, oh well.  If I don't try it I will never know what it could have been. 

Everything I read about blogs said to pick one topic and stick with it. Just one topic?  What to pick, what to pick?  So...I'm picking kids, my kids, my siblings, my neices and nephews maybe, fun kid activities, kid recipes, themes (eventually, I can't do everything at once, what will I have to work towards?).  All things kid related.  I have big ideas and plans of things to share but as many people who know me can tell you I'm good at starting things, not always good at following through.  Linking to other people's blogs scares me because I have no idea how to do it but I've found some great kid ideas and great kid related blogs that I will surely need to link up to.  If anyone reading this know how to do this, maybe you could help a girl out.

What's coming first?  My next post will be an introduction of myself and and explanation of the name I chose for this blog.  Look for it later today :)