Friday, July 24, 2015

Preschool Plans

I received an email from a friend this week asking me about starting a preschool group.  I have enjoyed teaching my kids preschool for the past 11 years and here is a review of some of the curriculums that I have used and liked:

I am still trying to decided what curriculum I want to use with my little 4 year old this year.  I enjoy them all!

 Pictures of some of last years preschool kids!

I have used the Joy School curriculum with some of my kids and I love the values and stories that it uses.  The Eyre's have just revised the Joy School Curriculum and it is now call Joy School 2.0.  The good news is that the new program is even cheaper than it was before.  

I have also adapted the "Five in A Row" curriculum for a preschool curriculum.  It was written as a homeschool curriculum, but can easily be adapted.  It is based on classic children's literature and you use one book per week to teach about many different subjects.  

We have most often just made up our own curriculum, there is so much available on the internet it is easy to just assign lessons like this:

Week 1:  Letter A, Number 1 (animals)
Week 2:  Letter B, Number 2 (balls) . . . 

Another idea that some of my friends have used in the past is FunShine Express.  It is more expensive, but sends you everything you need to teach preschool.  

I also like the Core Knowledge book "What Your Preschooler Needs to Know."

Here is a post I wrote called, "Picking a Preschool."

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


You might remember that last year I wrote at article for Power Of Moms called, "Mom Adventures."  It is about a summer tradition that we have had for several summers to set aside one day a week that I focus on my kids and we have an adventure together.  Here is our first adventure for this summer:

We have been taking walks each morning this week by a beautiful lake near our home.  We usually end up walking about 2 miles.  Today we were determined to make the full loop around the lake which is about 4 miles.  The kids weren't worried about their ability to finish the course, they were worried about my ability to finish the course!  I am a bit slower when I am pregnant!  The kids were awesome, they pushed the stroller to give me extra speed and literally ran circles around me!  We completed the course in 1 hour and 5 minutes!  Which is quite remarkable considering the extra weight I carry, the stroller, and the fact that we had six kids! (one of the boys was at basketball camp)

We had so much fun and felt such a sense of accomplishment.  After picking up our basketball camp boy we went through a drive thru for hot dogs and went to a park we had never visited before and enjoyed the perfect 65 degree weather!  

BYU Women's Conference

Looking back to my trip to Utah at the beginning of May:

The night before I flew out for Women's Conference I was able to go to the temple with my daughter and the rest of the youth in our ward!  It was a perfect way to start my weekend.  
I met these two wonderful friends in Utah.  
It was amazing to be apart of this large gathering of amazing women!  
I can't describe how thrilled I was to run into my dear friend Dinah!  It completely made my day!
We sat right behind Sister Peterson who just returned from serving a mission in our ward! 
So many individuals blessed us with their knowledge and wisdom!  
My mom and dad drove all the to BYU to come see me!  
I was able to see my brother Kaden and his wife, Carianne.  
We ate delicious food.  
We stayed at Elise's mom's house and I gleaned so many organizational, decor, and cleaning ideas!  
The pictures don't begin to show how amazing her house really is!  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Big Picture

May 19, 2015

Today I went to a routine O.B. doctor visit.  The nurse I usually see wasn't there so a new nurse showed me to my room.  I had my two little girls with me and seeing my daughters, the nurse asked if our new baby would be a girl or boy?

I responded that we are having a girl!  She commented on how fun it will be to have 3 daughters.

I smiled and said, "Actually this will be our fifth!  We also have three sons!" 

-- at this point in conversations there is usually silence because whoever has just figured out that we are having our 8th child usually thinks we are amazing or crazy!  

Trying to be nice the nurse said something about how I must like being pregnant or I must at least have great pregnancies.  

I responded by saying, "It's not that I love being pregnant, it is just that I really like my kids!"  

I reflected on that conversation throughout the day.  Why have I chosen to spend so many of the last 13+ years pregnant?  It is not because I love wearing maternity clothes, I don't enjoy gaining and then trying to loose large amounts of weight.  I definitely don't look forward to feeling nauseous for weeks on end.  I do it because I focus on the big picture.  I love that Heavenly Father has a plan for us as a whole human family, but he also has a plan for me.  I know that his plan for me was to be a mother of many children.  It is a job I am so thankful for every day (even on the hard days).  I know pregnancy isn't always pleasant, but creating life and having an eternal family is well worth the price!  

I just have to keep focusing on the big picture!  

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up- Book Review

I recently finished reading this book.  

I am glad that I read it.  I have given away many garbage bags full of stuff to Goodwill,  I have thrown out garbage bags full of papers, my drawers have never looked better!  This book really motivated me to look at what I own in a new way.    

The most valuable lesson I learned from Marie Kondo is: 
Only Keep What Brings You Joy  

I would recommend this book, but I would first warn you that she is is an organizing expert from Japan and not all of her practices will apply to American families (especially big American families).  
I would also like you to know that I don't talk to my belongings :)  You will understand if you read the book!  

Overall, I am glad that I read about her method of decluttering and organizing!  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Being a mom is the top job!

One thing I learned at Power of Moms is:  

A pearl of wisdom from Linda Eyre, she said something to the effect of, "Write down three things on your calendar that don't relate to mothering and figure out how to delegate or delete."

I sat down with my crazy long list of things to do and places to be before school is out on May 22nd.  I was overwhelmed and I was taking it all out on my husband and kids.  In the back of my mind was that thought from the Power of Moms retreat.  I looked again at my long list and asked myself what do I really have to have done by this week.  What do I have to have done by next week?  What can wait until summer.  How can I put more focus on being the mom and less on being the To-Do lady?  I decided to try to seize the small moments.  

After school I put the to-do list aside and we made an after school snack from the cookbook my 4th grader made me for Mothers Day.  My older boys were gone and it was a rare occasion to spend time with my four youngest kids.  

Later, I spent time talking to my oldest daughter and then I enjoyed watching my little girls do a dance they made up using my Mother's Day roses as props.  I loved it and despite the fact that not everything on my list is complete, I feel complete because I put the focus back where it should be, on being a mom.  

I guess you could say, I took time to "smell the roses." (Even the very smashed rose that my little one used as her dance prop!)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Full Tank. . . What I gained from attending the Power of Moms Retreat

One Mundane task we regularly have to do is gas up our car.  We don't actually "have to" stop and gas up, but the consequences for not gassing up are pretty unpleasant!  How much less effective would we be in life with a car that is out of gas?

I have been fortunate over the years to "gas up" my knowledge tank in little bits day by day as I read, listen to, or interact with others.  Sometimes I get a lot of gas when I am able to watch General Conference, attend Time Out for Women, or attend a local conference for mothers.  My husband has been well aware of my desire for many years to attend a Power of Moms retreat at the Eyre's Home in Utah.  This year we decided to make it happen!  Despite the fact that his load at work seemed extra demanding and our schedule at home seemed particularly impossible to manage without two parents to run kids around.  He graciously bought me  a plane ticket, helped me prepare, and dropped me at the airport.

Not only was I able to attend the Power of Moms retreat, I was able to attend BYU women's Conference, spend hours talking with some of my dearest friends, visit with my parents and brother and sister-in-law, run into dear friends that I have collected over the years, meet many virtual friends that I enjoy through internet associations, and rest from daily house keeping duties.

I have learned so much and feel so refreshed and ready to maintain my most important role of wife and mother.

Not only is my "Tank Full," it is overflowing!  I really believe it is essential as mother to take time for each of us to "gas up."  We need to remember who we are as a person, what we want to focus on in our family, and what our goals are.  

I will tell you that I had high expectations for this retreat.  I expected it to be amazing.  It far exceeded my expectations!  It was worth any and all effort to attend!  Our speakers were Linda and Richard Eyre, Saren Eyre Loosli and April Perry (Co-Founders of Power of Moms), Saydi Eyre Shumway, as well as some amazing board members of Power of Moms.  All the speakers were filled with ideas and inspiration, but even better was that they were genuine because they are also busy in the trenches of motherhood!  The structure for the day was perfect.  We had the opportunity to listen and learn, discuss with other mothers, ponder on how were are doing as mothers, and of course eat together.  It was small enough to feel connected with everyone although it was also too short,  there were many mothers I would have like to talk to more.  It was an amazing day and it was so powerful to consider the effect that it would have as all of the amazing mothers, about 85, would take this knowledge and power home to bless their families and communities.  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!  

Now for the pictures!-  

I had the opportunity to attend with these amazing women!  I love love love them!  Years ago we all lived in Rochester, Minnesota together and we had a preschool group for our boys.  I will forever be grateful for their friendship and inspiration!  (we missed Lyndsee and Natalie who also taught preschool with us).

Ann Aney, Elise Sykes, Tasha Bradshaw, and Angela McKellar

Saren and April run an amazing website.  I told them that I feel like they are some of my best friends because I listen to their Radio Show while doing laundry and cleaning everyday :)
Linda and Richard Eyre have written about 50 amazing books.  They are also the authors of Joy School.  I have read many of their books and always admired them.  They are parents of 9, well educated, wonderful children and I look up to them for inspiration on how to successfully raise a large family.  
Linda and Richard opened their home to us and made us feel so comfortable and at welcome.  
We enjoyed discussing with other mothers the daily realities of motherhood.  
Discussion Groups.
Their house is amazing.  
Every mother in attendance was simply inspirational.  
I was excited to meet Allyson Reynold's.  She his heavily involved in Power of Moms.  She does a lot of writing for the website, Deseret News articles, and regularly appears on Studio 5.  She was down to earth and wonderful to meet in person.  
Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of lunch until it was nearly gone!  It was wonderful, and we commented that the best part was that we didn't have to make it!  
I loved meeting wonderful board members Rachel Neilson and Lacy Anderson and attending with Angela McKellar was a wonderful treat!  
Saren, Linda, and Saydi
Candi Kidd has been my virtual friend, it was nice to meet her in real life!  
Angela and Saydi Eyre Shumway knew each other in high school!
This mother, Amy Price, just had her 9th baby.  It was wonderful to visit with her.  Not only did she just have a new baby, she also just wrote a book!  
The retreat was in the beautiful mountains of Park City.  
I loved meeting other moms!  Jodi happens to live near my brother and sister and is married to one of my high school friends!  It is a small world!  

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