Organized Bedroom, Park, New Curriculum!

I did it! I sat myself down and uploaded, edited and resized this week’s pictures! It took 2 hours worth of five or ten minute “sessions.” 😛
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The week I had my surgery Allan took everything out of the girls’ rooms and brought it all into our bedroom. He was going to go through it all with me and figure out what to keep and what to give away. The girls’ rooms were so messy all the time it was just too much.

The problem with Allan taking on that huge project was I was not able to do the organizational work because I was recovering from surgery! So, all that crap sat in our room for two weeks! Two miserable weeks of a horribly messy bedroom.

A few days ago I was feeling pretty good (I’ve felt pretty much fully recovered for a week now) so I tackled the project!
I started early in the morning when only Ember was up. She sat in there with me playing with dominoes.
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After cleaning for a couple hours I remembered to get some pictures of the massive mess.
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It wasn’t long before Payson was up and joining the fun.
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Followed very shortly by the older girls.
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I think I worked on the room for four hours total. Not all at once, it was a half hour here and there all through the day.
I was so excited when I was vaccuuming.
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Done.
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Ember was glad it was done because she was so ready for a nap and wanted mommy to lay down with her.
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I need to get some baby clippies for her hair. It’s just long enough to pull to the side.
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When Allan got home I didn’t say anything but was really excited for his reaction to walking in a completely clean bedroom after the mess we’d lived in for all that time.

He didn’t disappoint. He walked in and was like, “What the ?!?” and I don’t know how else to describe it, it was mostly nonverbal, just a very happy face. haha

We decided to walk down to the park since dinner wasn’t ready for another hour (crockpot potroast) and because the weather is so amazing right now.
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Ember was in a really good mood. She loves being outside.
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I can’t believe how huge Ember is getting. She doesn’t look itty bitty in Allan’s arms anymore 🙁
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Payson had a lot of fun at the park.
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After a while we headed back home.
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Brooklyn is growing up so much.
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I loved that there were flowers left in Brooklyn’s hair after she’d laid on the ground.
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I’m going to print this picture out for Sierra’s room.
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We stopped for a little while for some reason and Sierra got impatient and sat down. She gets really tired because of her toe walking. (She has an appointment next month about that!)
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The next morning I snapped a couple pictures of Ember because she’s just so cute.
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She always hangs out with me when I blog.
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I snapped this next picture because she was kicking her feet so happily. I only put her in this bouncy chair when I go potty because she likes to be in the same room as me at all times. I can see her from the toilet room and every time I peek out I say, “peek-a-boo” and she laughs a lot and kicks her feet so hard. It’s really funny. Who knew going pee could be such an entertaining part of the day?
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And then… Brooklyn’s new 2nd grade curriculum came in the mail!
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I haven’t talked about it on my blog because I was doing so much internal thinking about it, but I have been struggling a LOT with balance in my life lately. Four kids, homeschooling, and a myriad of other things thrown in and it’s all been WAY too much for me to handle. WAY WAY WAY too much.

Daily I felt overwhelmed and overworked. I would work my butt off and still not come even close to doing enough. I felt helpless and confused at how to catch up.
I was so busy I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

I talked with Allan and prayed a lot about what to do with homeschooling. Second grade takes a lot more time and effort than first grade. And Brooklyn was ready for a full school day. She needs it. She gets too bored if she has more than an hour or two of freetime. Which is totally understandable but I often don’t have a solid hour or two of time to devote to sitting there teaching her. I have ten minutes here, twenty minutes there, occasionally I do have one full hour but an hour isn’t enough.

The rest of the time there is a toddler crying by my side or a baby nursing (hard to teach while breastfeeding an older, active baby) or a baby in my lap grabbing at all the school supplies! It was ROUGH.

So, I told Allan we needed to look into public or private schools in our area because I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to homeschool, I just honest to goodness did not have the time. I just didn’t. At all. Not even close to enough time.

Brooklyn isn’t an easy going child when it comes to school work. And I don’t mean that as an insult to her or a negative remark… she needs quiet and calm to concentrate and there’s nothing wrong with that. It was this loud and crazy environment that was limiting our school time, not just my to do list. I can easily put off certain household work to get school done but I can’t put off tending to little kids! haha

All of this long boring stuff to say…….

We got a video curriculum. It has teachers recorded teaching all of the lessons for an entire year.

It’s a really awesome program. The teachers are sweet and Brooklyn loves them. They have puppets and special guests and they use a lot of fun props and stuff.

What I love so far most about this whole thing is I start the day teaching her out of the teacher’s manuals and when things start to get crazy and I’m desperately needed elsewhere (like at the changing table, haha) I can sit her down at the computer with the video on and she goes right on with her school day! There is no sitting and doing busy work or randomly coloring while waiting for mommy to come back and pick up where we left off. She can go on and do a few subjects with the video lessons until I come back!

I spend 80% of the school day with her still. A lot of time I’m sitting right next to her while she watches and I’m nursing the wiggly baby (and not worrying about my train of thought being affected!) or am cuddling with Sierra and Payson while we all watch together, or am doing puzzles on the floor next to Brooklyn with the two middle kids.

It’s just the best thing that’s ever happened to me. haha!

The curriculum is very expensive. $1,000 for one child every year. There is no reusing it; you have to return the hard drive (the videos are all on one hard drive). I don’t know about you but I don’t have $1,000 lying around so it is a sacrifice. I’ve been spending very little for months and months now (haven’t blogged about that either!) so I feel totally ok spending money on it. We can afford it, it just means sacrificing something else… like bedroom furniture. haha

So the boxes came in the mail and Brooklyn was practically passing out with joy.
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But I felt so bad for poor Sierra. She was soooo jealous. And not in a bad way, she just felt so left out 🙁
I’ve been researching curriculum for her and can’t decide what to use for her. I want something all put together for me (I do NOT have time this year for ANY planning) but she is way, way too advanced for kindergarten for most subjects but there are some subjects she isn’t ready for first grade in. History, for one.

I will be ordering her curriculum later today, though. I feel pressured to make a decision but I have to. She has finished every single kindergarten thing I’ve bought her and really needs to start first grade like, yesterday. haha!
And not because I care that much about her advancing a lot, but because she cares. She has been chomping at the bit for more and more school for a year now! It is time to take Sierra’s educational wants more seriously! 🙂
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Back to Brooklyn and her new curriculum. It is BJU distance learning. I bought the second grade package from christianbook.com. Which had FREE shipping and fast service. I would highly recommend them! I’d never heard of them but when I was checking out at BJU’s website and saw the $120!!! price tag for shipping I about passed out! I cancelled the order and went googling for free shipping and stumbled upon christianbook!
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The BJU curriculum is a christian curriculum. God is talked about in every subject. A lot. Even math. I like that! I didn’t know that I cared about that! haha. But I really love it.
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Brooklyn is so adorable while she does school. She takes it very seriously and listens carefully and uses her best handwriting. It’s really, really cute.
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Teaching her and watching her watch her lessons… it’s one of my favorite things 🙂
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Sierra watches with Brooklyn. At first Sierra was calling out the answers before Brooklyn could and it was really upsetting Brooklyn. I took Sierra into the other room and told her that she wasn’t allowed to answer Brooklyn’s questions any more. She’ll have her own questions next week.
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One reason I can’t give my full attention to homeschooling for more than a couple hours a day:
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The other reason:
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I think he was crying because I took away the crayon he was using to color on Brooklyn’s workbook page.
Oh and he is wearing cut off pajamas with a safety pin because he’s been putting his hands down his pants constantly and I really don’t enjoy washing diarrhea hands.
They’re cut off because it’s a thousand degrees here.
Anyone know a place I can get very lightweight overalls??

Sierra played with legos a lot that day. They’ve been a favorite in our house for months now.
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And now I have to go because it’s the kids’ Brooklyn’s turn for the computer. And because I’m bored of blogging. haha
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14 thoughts on “Organized Bedroom, Park, New Curriculum!

  • Wow! There's a lot going on (ok, more than normal maybe?) in your house. I've always wondered how you have little kids, homeschool, deal with food allergies, everything. You have to be so dedicated with your time, not to mention you must manage it so well!

    I'm always impressed when people cut back their spending. I need an overhaul in that area, do you have any advice or tips? 🙂

  • My biggest tip is to stay away from stores like Target. I am just fine at a grocery store but if I enter a Target I leave $300 poorer most of the time.

    My other tip is to shop with someone who follows a strict budget. Allan never gets tempted by impulse purchases. Ever. Tell your shopper friend to not let you impulse buy. You don't have to do this every shopping trip, just shopping trips that are more “dangerous” like for clothes or books or fun house items.

    If I need clothes for the kids or something not food related I shop with Allan and spend only on what's actually needed.

    Oh and my new favorite money saver ever… online shopping. I use Amazon's wishlist and save anything that crosses my mind as a need-to-buy item. After a couple weeks I go to make the purchases and end up deleting 90% of the stuff because I've had time to think about it 🙂

  • Wow, this is a huge post full of good stuff! You obviously had my attention at a new curriculum that was wonderful! I am loving that idea and think it must be a huge life saver for you! I can't imagine having a nursing baby, and dealing with Levi during school every day! I can barely manage what I've got. That really stinks that the new stuff is $1000 and you can't reuse it though!! 🙁 Do you have a time limit on how long you can keep the hard drive? I should probably be writing all these questions to you in a message or email or something. lol. Anyway…the pics are adorable. I can't even comment on all of them because there are too many I like! Since it was the last one I saw, I will say that shot of Ember at the desk….OH MY WORD! She is SUCH a little doll! She is getting big too!! 🙁 Oh and you asked me if it was good or sad to be getting rid of our baby stuff….it is both. It is very bitter sweet for me. I do MISS having a little baby around…and I've been having babies in the house for the last 7 years…so it is a shock. BUT…there are nice things about it too. I go back and forth between thinking we need more babies and that I've lost my mind! lol! The no diapers thing is HEAVENLY though! 😉 lol!

  • Target…you are SO right! That store gets me everytime. My husband is the same way, if it isn't on the list he doesn't even look at it. I need to get him to hold me accountable when I can't be trusted! 🙂

    Thanks for the advice, and glad it's working for you!

  • I didn't even know BJU had a distance learning curriculum like that. I tried out the BJU books for Science and History for 1st grade last year and liked the content, but didn't keep up with them because I just flat out didn't have the time to devote to doing the lessons with Natalie everyday on top of the other (imo more important) subjects. I don't know if Eric would go for that hefty pricetag, but I may seriously look into it. I am constantly telling him how much I struggle with balancing everything. I think that because Natalie is so easy going and just good at school, we let it slide, because she is not getting behind, but I still feel like I'm holding her back from her potential. And then there's Erica who is totally opposite and I know I will have my hands full this next year when I start doing full time K with her and 3rd grade with Natalie. Thank you sooo much for sharing on your blog. It's so nice to know we're not alone!

  • Great post. So much was covered. Gosh the kids get cuter everyday and I can't believe how big Ember is. 🙂 i have been struggling with some issues at public school with mine. It is frustrating and homeschooling just won't work for us so I have been pulling my hair out. Maybe I just need to step back and re-evaluate everything. Love all the pics.

  • Mindy, you get to keep the DVDs or hard drive (we got the hard drive) for 13 months. I like that that is plenty of time to finish everything with a year round schedule. I was just thinking of Levi and schooling- does he participate in school time at all?

    Amber, thanks for the sleeper link. I've never seen those before.
    The hefty price tag of BJU distance learning made me hesitate buying for weeks. It was hard for me to justify it but it has truly changed my life already. I felt depressed before because no matter how hard I worked there was always something left undone. I used to tell myself it was ok to save the dishes for the next day or have laundry clean but unfolded on the couch for a couple days but things like that were driving me slowly insane! haha

    This last week I've been able to clean my house completely and get 8 subjects of Brooklyn's school done every day! It feels like a miracle! I feel weird talking so highly of something so expensive but to me it has been worth the money. There is a payment plan that I was going to sign up for but you can't get the free shipping deal with it. (oh and ordering through christianbook saved me the tax price of $60!)

    April, I'm sorry you're having sturggles with public school. I can't imagine having to deal with issues that are mostly out of my control 🙁

  • I looked at christianbook (I have bought from them in the past) and couldn't find the BJU distance learning. I think I am more interested in the online or DVD, simply because I would only need it for a couple subjects. I am still really happy with our Language Arts and Math, but struggle with finding something for history and science. I'm wondering if you have to order the online version through the BJU press website?

  • You're right, I never found the online option on christianbook either. I bet you could order the online class from BJU and then the books to go along with it from christianbook.

    Have you heard of beautiful feet? It's my favorite for history. We are doing all the subjects BJU sent, including history, but I still use our beautiful feet books every day.

  • Whoa, lots and lots of stuff to read through. I can't believe all that organization you did all on your own so soon after surgery. I think its so great that your hubby gave you the kind of reaction that you were wanting. That's the best. Feeling appreciated is so important.
    Those faces that Ember was making at you near the end of the organization story? Too cute!
    By the way, did you get your braided gray hairband from Target? (I have one just like it.) 🙂
    Also, I may have said this before, but I think you're just so inspirational. Its so great how much you care about your children and the quality of their education. I think its great that you know what your limits are and what is best for your kids, and you do what you feel to be right. You are giving them a wonderful gift in that.

  • I did get the headband from Target! I love Target stuff! Don't you love how soft it is? I hate headbands that give me a headache after wearing them for an hour.

    I don't feel like an inspiration but thank you. I try very hard to do what's right for my kids 🙂

  • Ariana,
    That is so wonderful you found a Curriculum you both love! That makes all the difference! I know we've switched several times with my son and we are so happy we did! I've only tried BJ for Science and did like it:) The Bob Jones School and College are here in SC and it's a great school!
    Is it possible that you could put the girls in the same grade and let them work back to back on the computer so that they can both complete that grade within the 13 months and save yourself the money each year? I know for us my 7 yr old is by far more advanced than 10 yr old so most of their things I combine(Except Math–It works great though because he's doing Teaching Textbooks on the computer.)
    ~April

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