Our Sensory Diet Menu – Sensory Bins

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October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month

October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month

I know how much reading about others’ experiences have helped me, so I thought I’d share some some of the exercises/activities that we were given by our Occupational Therapist.

Because of our tactile issues, sensory bins are an integral part of our sensory diet.

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My Amazon Affiliate Link! Please feel free to use!

My Amazon Affiliate Link! Please feel free to use!

There are more ideas for Sensory Bins located on my Pinterest Board. We are apparently big fans of all types of slime.

 

We have also stocked up on playdough,shaving cream, clay, and just about anything else I could possibly think of.  I try to make sure we doing a sensory bin a couple of times a week. (When we started, we did it every day, and had to set a timer, to get her used to the idea of actually touching things, and then extending the minutes every so often. Now, she often asks to pull certain items out, or will want to make a new slime every few weeks.

In a pinch, sand toys at the beach work just as well. And thankfully, no one is ever too cool for making sand castles.

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This will  be an ongoing series chronicling our experiences with Sensory Processing Disorder. I am in NO WAY an expert! Please read and use at your own risk. 🙂

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Our Sensory Diet Menu – Yoga

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October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month

October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month

I know how much reading about others’ experiences have helped me, so I thought I’d share some some of the exercises/activities that we were given by our Occupational Therapist.

One of the first activities that our OT suggested to us was yoga. During our session she used Yoga Pretzel cards. I fell in love with them.

Now, having done yoga since college, I was a huge fan of this. I know how good yoga makes my bones feel, I can only imagine for someone with Sensory Processing Disorder, how awesome it could be. And these cards give step by step instructions that are easy for kids to follow. (I did step in and work with her on technique a bit.)

 

Eventually, I ordered some other yoga related activities just to mix things up a bit.

 

 

 

 

This will  be an ongoing series chronicling our experiences with Sensory Processing Disorder. I am in NO WAY an expert! Please read and use at your own risk. 🙂

A Couple of Months Into Our Homeschoool Year – Time for Re-evaluation!

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We are now about 2 months into our new homeschool year, and I am already needing to re-evaluate our plan!

By and large, I think our overall schedule was a good idea. The curriculum choices we made were good ones, but I think I grossly under-estimated how much time things would take. Also, my work hours have picked up quite a bit, and that has cut into my time to participate in some of the hands-on work I wanted to do with the girls.

We also started going to a weekly homeschool program – which works like a Co-Op but brings in professionals from the area to be the teachers of the classes (meaning I don’t have to volunteer!). So far, the girls have enjoyed the first session, so we are going to continue with it this fall. I’ve been making my girls do the optional “homework” sent home by these teachers, so that takes up time as well.

And then you add in OT appointments, AHG, AWANA, and the general laundry and occasional grocery shopping, and well, there just aren’t enough hours in a day! (Not to mention all of the prep for our recent travel as well!)

So, my plan for today is to rearrange our “planner spreadsheet” and stretching out our assignments into hopefully a more manageable schedule.

How are you doing? Have you re-evaluated your homeschool plan already? What are you changing or not?

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Swimming with Sensory Processing Disorder

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October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month

October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month

Swimming is what finally led us to our SPD diagnosis. My youngest has ALWAYS had problems with water. Every summer our attempts to help her learn to swim ourselves were a complete failure. We finally enrolled her in a “learn to swim” summer camp at the YMCA, which got her over the hump, and she could then at least swim well enough to not drown.

I was excited when both girls chose swimming as their fall sports activity. They used to do dance, but wanted to try something new. After experimenting with several summer camps, they both fell in love with swimming.

What actually happened though was my youngest WANTED to do swim lessons and  really enjoyed them, but absolutely refused to put her head in the water properly and do the breathing properly, etc. Which meant the Y would not “promote” her from the beginner class. She was upset about this because she did the stroke part very well, and her big sister was accepted to the swim team.

What did SPD look like for us, exactly?

She would say “I can’t” and shut down (and was seen as stubborn or defiant by first swim teacher, which is why we switched instructors). Thinking that perhaps my youngest didn’t understand the instructions was what let me to Google searching and to SPD in the first place. I had to take that info to our pediatrician myself and demand help, before we got referred to an OT for an evaluation. No one else caught it for us. (Listen to your gut, parents! Don’t let people brush off your concerns!!)

I had tried games like going under to pick rings off bottom, and slowly trying to go under bit by bit, and more. She wouldn’t blow bubbles for more than a second – she would blow a little, then stop and come back up. So the traditional approaches just did not work.

I began to work with the Y to help her on their side. On of the most amazing things about the local YMCA was their “Ability” Special Needs program. The Coordinator instantly knew what to do. We first started with getting our youngest assigned to a special needs trained swim instructor (Previous instructors were an abject failure).

We also purchased a few things to see if they might help. The Y Ability Coordinator suggested trying a swim headband and maybe a tight long-sleeve swim shirt. We purchased Ear Bandit with putty buddies, but my SPDer couldn’t stand stuff IN her ears. We had to do quite a bit of trial and error.

 

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Ear Band-Its were one of the many products we tried. After a while, we just used the swim cap and made sure the cap  covered her ears.

 

We also tried a swim cap which did work, but she didn’t like wearing it. We also purchased very nice goggles, and those worked well for her.

 

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High Quality Goggles and Swim Cap are now our Go-To.

 

Other things that I noticed: the indoor heated pool was was a much better environment for her as she was extremely sensitive to cold. However, that room echoed very bad and was extremely loud, so we switched her lessons to a different day when it was less crowded and quieter.

 

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What looks like “FUN” to other kids can be a literal HELL for an SPD kid.

 

Her group was intentionally kept small with no more than 5-6 kids, and an additional aide was added. The aide was there to shadow and assist my youngest, but publicly to any parents that asked, the aide was “in training,” so it wasn’t obvious in calling attention that my youngest was receiving specialized help. (That might not be a big deal to some parents, but I found to comforting that they were respecting my child’s feelings and her privacy.) After a few months, we also added in another weekly, private session.

 

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This was WITHIN WEEKS of starting agressive therapy and making changes to her swim class.

 

Her group was intentionally kept small with no more than 5-6 kids, and an additional aide was added. The aide was there to shadow and assist my youngest, but publicly to any parents that asked, the aide was “in training,” so it wasn’t obvious in calling attention that my youngest was receiving specialized help. (That might not be a big deal to some parents, but I found to comforting that they were respecting my child’s feelings and her privacy.) After a few months, we also added in another weekly, private session.

 

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We found that even a cheap “sun shirt” helped her deal with the splashing of the water while swimming.

 

I want to point out that the accommodations we implemented were not changing the rules or giving her special privileges or special treatment. Our youngest DOES have SPD, but she also has to learn to live within society. I did not ask them to change their level “promotion standards.” What we are trying to do is merely give her some tools that will help her cope and build her skills so she can promote fairly.

From talking to other parents of SPDers, I know I am not alone in this water struggle.

Here are a few articles that I found interesting and useful.

http://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/dyspraxia-children/pe-lessons/

http://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/dyspraxia-children/swimming-instructors-guide/

https://www.sensoryswim.com/sensory-processing-disorder

I just want to give you all some hope: six months after her diagnosis and starting therapy, our SPDer had “promoted” twice, was learning to jump off the diving platform, had bypassed her older sister in skill level, and told ME she no longer needed the aide in her class.

This fall, we did decide not to pursue the actual swim team (this also coincided with our move, so it would be different instructors) because of the amount amount of kids at swim team practice in an indoor facility, and the highly competitive (not in a good way) nature in our new town. I do plan to bring individual swim lessons back into the mix in the future.

And one year after beginning this journey – here is my SPDer, on the beach, being splashed by waves. AND LOVING IT.

 

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October 2017, at the Beach (on the right)

 

This will  be an ongoing series chronicling our experiences with Sensory Processing Disorder. I am in NO WAY an expert! Please read and use at your own risk. 🙂

Throwing a Little Sensory Processing Disorder into Our Mix . . .

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October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month

October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month

We had our first evaluation for Sensory Processing Disorder in January by an Occupational Therapist. It was amazing, I had been looking for answers for this child since the day she was born, and finally, someone listened and agreed with me and had ANSWERS. And a plan of action. And with two little tips that first appointment, my 8-year-old was able to wash her hair that evening (with lots of mom help) calmly and in 10 minutes. It was practically magical. I walked back downstairs and told my husband that I thought I might just love the new OT.

Those two little tips?

Wearing her swim goggles in the shower. And the OT described washing her hair like giving her head a deep massage. For some reason, it worked when the OT said it, not me when I’ve been saying it for ages. I didn’t even care. One thing I’ve learned about SPD is WHATEVER WORKS is my new motto.

I know it sounds weird, but I was actually EXCITED about having our diagnosis. My youngest was 8 at the time, but I’ve known “something” was going on since the day she was born. It took me this long (and walking in with an internet diagnosis saying “my daughter has X” before it happened). I was so happy to finally able to name it, and finally, have a PLAN.

I’ve tried to explain Sensory Processing Disorder to her as best I can, and I think she’s happy that she knows why she’s been a little “different.”

These are the diagnoses we began with —-

Gravitational Insecurity

Auditory Sensitivity

Tactile Defensiveness

Touch Sensitivity

Though we did not get an official Dyspraxia diagnosis, much of the language the OT used in the evaluation paperwork, mirrors the description.

http://www.webmd.boots.com/children/guide/dyspraxia

This will  be an ongoing series chronicling our experiences with Sensory Processing Disorder. I am in NO WAY an expert! Please read and use at your own risk. 🙂

A Message to Church Leadership About Women’s Bible Studies

As many of you know, we moved back to the DC metro area this summer. I have to say, I am SOOO disappointed.

There is NO CHURCH within 20 minutes drive of where I live that A) has a women’s Bible study on Wednesday evenings and B) has a good kid/student program at the same time.

(And considering there are most likely 100 churches within that 20 minutes drive, there is no reason I should have to drive further.)

Churches already don’t have anything on Sunday nights here, so most moms with kids get nothing but whatever they can get on Sunday morning, and that’s IT. So, if you have a Sunday School teacher who phones it in, that’s just too bad for you.

Yes, churches do have occasional Saturday morning activities (like a once a month women’s breakfast like our current church) but that’s it. CHURCHES– may we please examine the message you’re telling the women in your congregation? Inadvertently or otherwise?

(Why am I harping on Wednesday evenings? Because that is the traditional night for Bible studies to be scheduled. If a church said, we have found that Tuesday evenings tend to work better in our community, I’m all for that. Forget Sunday nights – like I said, NO ONE here has a Sunday evening program for adults, either.)

WHAT I HEAR WHEN I ASK ABOUT WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDIES

A) You should come when it’s convenient for US. And where.
— Well, I would if you were the least bit reasonable in that, and if it was when and where it was the slightest bit convenient to me, too.

OR

B) If you work, then you can’t come when we offer that one study for SAHM’s per week, so you’re on you’re own.
— I am not lying, one of the church leaders at a church we visited gave me a LOOK when I told them that I was not taking off of work to go to MOPS meetings. Which is the only thing they offer. To ALL women. Dude, I have to work. Have to. It’s not a choice.

And would everyone quit trying to push me at their MOPS program, like that’s good enough? I’m not a mom of a preschooler, either, so why would I think this would pertain to me? (Don’t go defending MOPS, ladies, I know the groups are more open — but the name is misleading- why would I think of going if the name is MOPS?) And still, what about all the moms of preschoolers who still work? What good is that group to them??

OR

C) Good little Christian women would be home and would be available to go when we tell them to go.
— ie. “Well, if you were fully committed to your faith you would be available to attend that mother’s group Bible study we only offer on Tuesday morning at 10am.” >> Don’t think I haven’t heard this as well this summer!!

— ie. “Sure, we have an evening Bible study on Tuesday evenings. In someone’s home. Across town in DC metro traffic during rush hour. With NO childcare…. Well, if you were fully committed, you’d go when we told you and where we told you when and where it was convenient for US. So you must not really be committed. So you’re on your own.

OR

C) We tried that once, but not enough people came to make it worth it.
— How hard did you really try? Is it really because it’s not wanted or needed? Or was it not worth the effort, so no one came?

If it mattered enough to you and you cared enough to make it good enough, that the activities were WORTH making it a priority over other possible commitments and issues? People would come. I’ve seen it happen. But expecting me to continue when my kids are shoved in a room bored out of their minds? Not gonna last for long.

I could see that this is the case in an individual congregation perhaps. But every-single-church in the metropolitan area? (Or at least enough that it’s the rule and not the exception?) No. I don’t think so. This is a systematic problem.

OR

D) We don’t offer childcare or ANY kind of kid program at the same time, but we still fully expect you to attend when we say you should.
— Yeah, like that is EVER GOING TO HAPPEN. What the heck do you want me to do? Have you seen the cost of childcare lately? Do you really think I have $15+ an hour to burn to go to a Bible study on a Tuesday night on a regular basis? Sure, I could leave them with “Dad” but when is “Dad” ever home on time?

AND

E) Don’t I really need the “spiritual leader of our home” getting spiritually fed as well? Isn’t that important? So, why shouldn’t he go instead?
— Don’t you see? You are making us as parents CHOOSE who gets to be spiritually fed this week. And yes, I had a pastor’s wife tell me to “take turns.” Right, my not going to Bible study as a woman is because I don’t know how to share. Sure. Okay. So let’s talk reality.

What ends up happening is the mom says to herself, Yes, I’ll be the good little woman and stay home with the kids because I will sacrifice my own spiritual health for my husband. (I’ve seen this over and over and over and over here in US churches.) Or, in this area – the husbands that are constantly deployed or required to work late at any given moment. So, she just flat out gives up. Cause that’s where I’m at right now.

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What does all that add up to, churches? You just don’t consider me a priority. You like to tell us how important we are as moms, but you fully expect us to do it all from a spiritually and permanently dry well.

No WONDER women don’t make their own spiritual walk a priority – you’ve all but told them they don’t need it and they don’t matter!

How have you told them that, you ask? Frankly, by all the above and more.

If you make it so HARD for them to get there, many will just give up in defeat. Why would they work so hard to go somewhere they don’t feel wanted?

Then, if they’re feeling like they need something but they’re can’t get it from you, that they must be bad moms or wrong! Frankly, if you don’t care about me, why should I care about myself?

Or why shouldn’t I go elsewhere, outside the church body, to find something/someone who does care about me? At least the PTA or sports team volunteering a mom often does – she get appreciated for that, and her kid gets something out of it.

CHURCHES, you say you want to support families.

  • What kind of support and help are you giving the parents trying to be good role models for their children?
  • What are those children learning from you? That moms don’t “deserve” or “need” spiritual support?
  • We need to walk the walk for our children, but how can I role model spiritual faith priority for my children without the church supporting me with tools to do so?

This isn’t meant to be a criticism of any one church, of any one denomination, in any one church building — but of the overall, universal, Christian church. I have many, many friends in ministry that I hold dear, so please don’t take any of what I’ve said as an individual, criticism.

This is also not just here in the DC area, though I find it more obvious here. We saw this in PA as well. Even AL to some extent. And yes, I have actually been told every single thing above AND MORE, personally.

I wish, if I could have every single pastor/church leader read this message from a perennial outsider (one who moves regularly due to job transfers), is that your intent isn’t the problem.I know many in ministry, and I know this is not what you intend. But this is what is happening.

CHURCH LEADERS, HERE ARE SIGNS YOU HAVE A PROBLEM

  1. If your men’s ministry is thriving, but those men’s wives are not in an equally compelling program, or those men’s wives are not in a Bible study at all: YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.
  2. If your men’s ministry is offering deep theological Bible studies, and your women’s ministry is offering teas and book clubs: YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.
  3. If a certain large percentage of your church feels like everyone else’s faith is more important and not giving their own spiritual walk FIRST priority (because this is what moms do): YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.
  4. If you are depending on that church down the street that hosts a women’s study that you don’t actively support and participate in the leadership in, to be the women’s Bible study ministry of your church: YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.
  5. If you are not addressing these problems from the highest points of your church leadership, from the pulpit, and not by personal self-example: YOU HAVE A PROBLEM.

We visited close to eight different churches this summer, in addition to researching and investigating countless churches within a reasonable driving radius. No, your intent isn’t the problem. But as a woman, the message that is being received, IS.

Getting Ready for 2017-2018 Homeschool Year!

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Yes, the school year has finally arrived! Where did our summer go?

Well, I’m not sure about you, but our summer was decimated by our move. Starting early June, we dealt with combining two houses into one (turning our furnished rental property into an unfurnished rental property) and then purging, unpacking and then purging more. And then more. And even more. Truly. After all I purged before our move, we still looked like hoarders when trying to squeeze everything into this 1200 square feet townhouse. We must be ruthlessly organized to survive in this space. It’s honestly been pretty painful dealing with all that. I can say now that there is not one area of our lives and not one box that we did not cut in at least half. I still really like the place we are renting though. Great landlord, with a good, functional layout, AND he completely renovated it before we moved in.

In the midst of dealing with all of that, I began to organize for this homeschool year. Thankfully I had purchased most of it before our move, but I did have to pick up some odds and ends that were forgotten.

Today, I thought I’d share with you our curriculum plan. Our girls are now 11 and 9, entering “6th” and “4th.”

Because I am continuing to work and homeschool, we have to rely on independent-type homeschool work, so they can complete the bulk of their work while I’m on the phone with clients.

Math– We are sticking with Teaching Textbooks. Our oldest is in the middle of Level 6, our youngest will start Level 5.

Spelling– I’ve let my oldest out of doing formal Spelling now, though I did tell her I would start marking all spelling mistakes in her work as wrong. My youngest will continue with SpellingCity.com, using Abeka spelling lists.

Writing, Reading/Literature– Our girls are voracious readers now, so that’s not a problem for us. However, we’ve never done a formal reading comprehension program. I found the Apologia Readers in Residence program that we are going to try this year. We are also trying their Writers in Residence program this year as well. We will do this four days a week.

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I got these great books from Amazon, for my oldest. I want to work on her reasoning and logic skills, since she’s entering middle school age. We will do one short lesson a day, four days a week.

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I thought it important to move to a more formal science program this year. Neither of my girls could agree on what to study, so we’re letting them each study what they want. So my oldest will be doing Apologia’s Zoology 3 (land animals), and my youngest will be doing Apologia’s elementary Chemistry. We purchased the books and workbooks from Apologia during a big sale. Even better, I found kits with everything you need for the experiments of each. Everything is in in a box, organized in bags by lesson, and labeled. It feels completely magical. Do you know how much I love having things done for me????

Anyway, I will be helping them get through the book work portion, and Hubby will help them with the experiments twice a week.

The books list this as two times a week, but as much as is listed, the work might have to stretch over four days.

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I found these cute devotional books for the girls to use for their devotional time this year. I saw the “Big Book of Animal Devotions” at a used curriculum sale, and thought it it would be perfect for my oldest who is studying zoology this year. While unpacking, I found the second devotional (which we have never used) and my youngest decided to use this year.

Our main focus/theme for this year will be going back to history. While I personally LOVE My Father’s World and their program, my daughters don’t. I’ve been informed that it’s “babyish.” I don’t agree, by the way, but we used it for K-2nd, so maybe that’s why they think that.

Last year, we used a lapbook from Home School in the Woods elections, which my girls loved. I think it spoke to their crafty side. They wanted to do that again. So, I have cobbled together several products from Home School in the Woods, to replicate MFW’s Creation to the Greeks program.

This year, we will be using their Timeline, the Old Testament Activity Pack, and their Project Passports for Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece.

So, to go along with that, I have started collecting books to go along with these themes. I purchased a few at a used curriculum sale, and many if not most of the resources we need will be coming from local libraries. I’ve also been using Paperbackswap.com to fill in books I couldn’t find in the libraries.

Our “Egypt” theme books:

Our main history overview books:

Just beginning our Greek theme books:

So, that is our “school plan” for the year! This does not include all of our other activities, which I will cover in another post!

This post is part of the Back to Homeschool linkup from iHomeschool Network! Click over to read more curriculum choices from our fellow bloggers!

Teaching Your Child About Their Personal Testimony

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Our girls will finally be getting baptized in a few weeks, and the pastor of the church has asked they give (or at least write for him to read!) a brief testimony before their baptism. (We will be going for an immersion baptism, not the “sprinkle”!)

Growing up in a Southern Baptist Church, I always knew what this meant, but I realized I found it difficult to explain this in non-church-y words to my girls. So of course I went to my favorite resource – the Internet!


Here are some sites that I thought might be useful to you:

Kids Testimony Form

Free Testimony Worksheet

How to Share Your Testimony

Billy Graham’s Teaching Tweens to Share their Testimonies

Parenting Like Hannah’s Tips for Teaching Kids to Share their Faith

Our Families Adventure’s Teaching Kids to Write a Personal Testimony

Jeff McClung’s Free Booklet to Help Kids Write & Share Their Testimony


I thought also that it would be a good idea if my husband and I went through this exercise WITH the girls, as a family activity. (Not that I’ve told my husband that yet, but I know he’ll be open to it! 🙂 ) So they could watch and see us do it, but also practice it on us. That would give us another opportunity to share and talk about this topic with them, and to really make sure they truly understand the decision they’ve made.


This is IN ADDITION to several workbooks that we used after they let us know of this decision several years ago.  We did one page a day in as part of their devotional time every morning. I liked that it really made them think through this, but at their level. This is one I personally liked:

I hope this is useful!

In Honor of International Women’s Day, from a Working, Homeschooling Mom

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In honor of International Women’s Day, I’m wearing my red Homeschooling Mom t-shirt! The girls were completely uninterested in wearing red, because like all homeschoolers (or is it just mine??) they really don’t see the point of wearing something just because someone told them to, or everyone else is. And also, they are apparently hitting the “party pooper” stage of tweendom.

What I love about my working homeschooling mom life, is that I get the best of everything (except sleep).  I don’t HAVE TO CHOOSE, between being home with my kids and having a career. Sure, neither one of those look like the traditional experience  (of either category) for me, but who cares?

And in honor of today, I thought I would share with you how I am spending my day. Granted, this is not a typical work day for me (typical is worse, lol!) — technically we are on “vacation” in Miami visiting family, but you can still see what a day in my life looks like:

So, this is how my day went.

7am Wake up to kid climbing in bed snuggling with me. Glance at the clock and pretend it doesn’t exist for a few more minutes.

7:30am Get up, do bare minimum of getting ready for day. MAKE THE COFFEE. Boot up the computer. Eat plain gluten-free bread with butter, not toast, because I am not at home and don’t have a gluten-free designated toaster here. Get kids moving on getting ready for day

8am Log in and watch webinar for new client who wants me to take over her client-facing training webinars. Drinking the coffee and eating the fake toast while watching. Get kids working on the minimum of school work we brought with us, and youngest doing her therapy exercises.

9am Webinar is done. Direct traffic (i.e. check in on kids, and give next set of directions.) Put on real clothes and brush hair, and prep 2nd cup of coffee. Spend 1/2 hour responding and cleaning out email backlog.

9:30am Call from brand-new client from webinar this morning. It’s a sudo-interview, so I’m trying to sound coherent and impressive still, and taking notes.

10:20am Call ends early, so I sneak in a brush my teeth and wash my face. Check in on kids again, but hubby seems pretty on top of things at this point (he’s finally awake with a couple of cups of coffee in him, as well). Ask kids to set up bags of things we need to shove in car for later today.

10:30am Call with potential coaching client, asking about resumes. Do my pitch thing.

11am Try to hustle everyone out of the house.

11:50am Arrive at Miami Seaquarium. Get in, find cafe and feed family overpriced lunch.

12:30pm Hubby heads off with kids to do homeschool class here. Since he’s off and never gets to do these things (and only one parent can go in with kids) I’m happy to let him have experience with kids. I sit at table and whip out my laptop, to work on multiple work presentations I have been procrastinating on.

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12:30pm-3:00pm I feverishly work on training webinars in PowerPoint in the cafe, while hubby takes girls to a class on sharks. Where they also apparently dissected fish. And touched creepy, slimy things. I’m perfectly okay with missing this moment in their lives!

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3pm Walk around the park a bit so I can actually say I’ve seen something, and my oldest creates an “incident” by dropping her pencil in the sea lion tank and the sea lion tries to eat it. Super proud mama moment means it’s probably time to leave before we’re kicked out.

3:30pm Drive back to in-laws, stopping at Italian bakery to pick up frozen gluten-free meals for me to have for dinner tonight, because it’s pizza night for everyone else. Consider mortgaging the pencil kid to pay bill.

5pm-8pm Celebrate niece’s 15th birthday with pizza and entire crazy loud Dominican family.

And while this is all going on, my mother-in-law does my laundry for me. Either because she loves me, or she doesn’t want me messing with her machine! 🙂

8:45pm Finally home and have kids in bed with lights off, and settled on my bed with laptop ready to work again for a couple of hours before crashing.

So, that’s my day. And yes, I am SUPPOSED TO BE ON VACATION. This is as close as I will probably get to a vacation for quite a while. Because let’s face it, even on “vacation,” women – especially working-while-homeschooling ones – never really get to NOT work. At least this one.

2017 Challenge- The Big Organizational PackFest! – Assignment #6

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ASSIGNMENT #6: Craft/Hobby Area

Aaaah, you could spend a million years organizing your craft space. At least I could! But we can’t. We have got to get ready for our move!

1. The very first step is that we need to purge your craft area of anything you are not going to use.

In my hobby group, we often set up “rosie boxes” (aka. “ring around the rosie”, but with a box!) where we will fill up a box, and then pass it around the group, everyone taking out what they want, and adding items they don’t. This is a great way to get rid of items you no longer need (like leftover wedding album stickers after you finished scrapbooking your wedding album, for example) and to try out a couple new things that you’ve never tried before. A similar idea would be to collectively set up a “free give away” table at your next get-together, where everyone drops stuff they don’t want anymore, and anyone is welcome to go through the pile.

I’ve also donated items to preschools, to friends, to the girls’ scouting troop, to my girls’ own craft box stash, or found a worthwhile nonprofit to pass them to. It doesn’t matter; the main idea is to Get-It-Out-Of-Your-House.

Oh and if there’s junk you will never use, and no one else will either? Toss it. Yup. Toss it in the garbage. Call it your very own “stupid tax” for buying it in the first place, and toss it.

2. Next, organize what is left. Perhaps you would like to organize by project, putting all the items you need for that project together. Or, organize by color, or whatever. When I’m organizing, I try to think of the space I’m moving into, and how would be the easiest to find it while unpacking. How can I set up my new craft area in the quickest, most orderly, and functional way possible??

(Don’t worry, I can hear you laughing! Yeah, I find the idea of my craft area being orderly and functional comical, too. Notice I didn’t say that it would end up that way in reality! I can dream, can’t I?)

So, that’s it. Sounds so very simple when you write it out, doesn’t it? And yet, this can take up quite a bit of time. So get to it, so you can move on to the office space next!