Friday, August 22, 2014

5 Reasons We Took Our Kids Toys Away...and why we do not feel bad about it

That's right, you read correctly. My husband and I (well mostly I) took away 90% of my childrens toys and it has been SO INCREDIBLE!!

A while back I took a gander at this wonderful blog by Living Well Spending Less about how she took her kids toys away. The reasons were exactly what I was going through.

Below are some pictures of Baby Cakes making a campfire with some sticks and leaves she went and found. We have been having some regular outside time (when it's not 100000000 degrees outside) and she's becoming more and more imaginative with the things in nature.

It really does sound silly when I say it that way but we have been beyond blessed with the amount of toys she has received throughout her short three years. A plethora! An overabundance. A surplus! Overkill. MUCH!!

Okay okay, maybe not that dramatic but it always felt that way when it was time to go in there and pick up before bedtime. There was much dumping of toys and very little playing with them.
And LOTS of mommy picking them up.

NOW: before you all start getting huffy, I didn't throw them away. I have them packed away awaiting the day she decided she was ready to play with them. **Hint: its been MONTHS and so far, she's forgotten all about them** We will donate them around November for Christmas presents for children's homes.

I also shared this awesome post from Becoming Minimalist with my husband. He approved of the choice to take away everything that wasn't dearly loved or currently being played with.

1. Too many toys causes disregard
The toys weren't being taken care of or even put away because honestly, there wasn't even a place for half of them. What with two girls in one room, there was MUCH stuff in little space. I noticed that even when gifted with a new toy, it was quickly disregarded with a quick thank you and then she was off playing with something that wasn't her toys.

2. Too many toys causes, well, a big ole honkin mess! 

AHHH! I am embarrassed to even show you this! Do you see toys piled on toys piled on books piled on bins attempting to organize! 
You cannot organize clutter!

3. Too many toys was causing restless nights
When we took their toys away, that night Baby Cakes went right to sleep with no arguing. She had a clean floor and  an organized closet. I'm not a doctor or psychologist but I saw a change in my daughters sleep patterns when her room was clean. :-) Good enough for me!

4. Too many toys left no room for siblings!
This was really the primary reason we HAD to make a chance. Tinker was ready to move from the little co-sleeper beside our bed into her pack-n-play in her sisters room. With all the clutter (and large twin bed for Cakes) there was NO ROOM! Even for a small pack-n-play. Crazy talk!!

5. Too many toys left no room for PLAYING!!
With a great big bed, a pack-n-play, and gobs and gobs of toys filling up the carpet and every nook and cranny, there was no room to play in their room. This led to toys being drug out of the room into the hall or parents room or living room just to have them left there. So that was the first step to removing the clutter toys: Everything left out of the room was the first thing to be packed away.

And now: Why we do not feel bad about it!

1 Corinthians 14:40English Standard Version (ESV)

40 But all things should be done decently and in order.

We are doing the same thing! From the living room to the shed to the master room to the bathroom, we are downsizing the clutter! We have given bags and bags and boxes upon boxes of things we no longer need/want/use away. AND IT FEELS GREAT!! If it made us feel better, imagine what it could do for our kiddos. And true enough, it made Cakes and Tinker feel great too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Hey everyone! So it's been three weeks since I decided to split my blogs. Its been going okay except every time I went to post something, I was sad it wasn't on this blog. Sometimes I want to post about cool God things happening in our lives but I honestly didn't have the desire to come back here and post something separate from the homeschool stuff.  My darling husband reminded me that homeschool is our life and our life is everything on this blog and that blog. He encouraged me to only have one and post about anything I wanted. :-) He's really great! So, with that being said, I've transferred all my homeschool posts here and will be using only this one from now on.

PHEW! I already feel better!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Introduction to Claude Monet

 Today was a trip to the library! We needed to pick up some books I had reserved!

Some of them went along with G is for Garden (as well as A is for Apple week).

The Claude Monet books are above Cakes' head so we didnt read much of the words. Instead, we just flipped through the pages and wondered at the beautiful pictures.

My favorite part was watching Baby Cakes get really close to the picture in the book and gingerly touch them, finding the brush strokes.

When we do A is for Apples in two weeks, we will take a trip to the McNay Art Museum and see a Monet in real life! I'm so excited!

We will also try our own art in the style of Monet. This week was merely an introduction!

We also did this!!
Pool time in the yard. 

Date night with stepdaughter! Fun fun!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

G is for Garden: Day 4

PLAY DATE!!! We had a play date today with some of our dearest friends! We played outside and visited about homeschool. My friend has a boy thats 11 days younger that Cakes so they've grown up together (since about 8 months when we met them). They came and played trains, chalk, sand, and of course kitchen!! It was such fun that the day flew by!! 

We finished our creation book though. We sang all 7 days of the super catchy song. 

And so did we! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

G is for Garden: Day 3

Howdy howdy howdy! (Bonus points if you can name the childrens movie that is from)
Today we did G is for Garden: Day 3

We worked on Days 5 and 6. 

Fish in the sea and birds in the sky!

Baby Cakes decided she wanted to draw the animals and people for day 6. This has become my favorite page in the creation book and I will treasure her drawings forever!!

One of my favorite parts of this curriculum is that we can do anything we want! Today, this is all we did. We played outside a lot today and spent some quality time with sister PopPop! We also take Wednesdays easier because we have church in the evenings!

We heart homeschooling!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

G is for Garden: Day 2

**This post includes affiliate links**

Well hello! Welcome to day 2! Today Baby Cakes wanted to add her letter to the letter wall so we did just that. We started by coloring her thumb with a "washable" marker and then she put little thumb prints all over the g. Included with the God's Little Explorers Paid Curriculum.

Then she added little stems. She liked connecting the flowers. It was her garden so I let her decorate as she liked!

Meanwhile, Tinker explored Baby Cakes' school supplies!

We added our G step on our treasure map!

Posted our G on the letter wall right after the X. 

After these things were done we got down the seeds to see if anything had happened to them! Cakes was SOOO excited to see the change. She busted out her magnifying glass to get a closer look at them. She was very hands on which was nice to see. She felt the little root hairs and helped the beans shed their skins. 

One of the books, Seeds to Plants, we got from the library was very over her head so I didn't think she'd be interested in it. I should stop doing that! She remembered from when we glanced at it that the book had a picture of what our beans were doing. She got out the book and we found the pictures.

I just sat next to her amazed as she set the beans on the matched stage in the book. She's amazing. 

We also covered days 3 and 4 of creation!!

         Land plants and trees!                                                                       Sun, moon, and stars!

**This post does include affiliate links for your convenience. Our family gets a small percentage of anything you purchase through the links at no additional cost to you! Thanks for contributing**

Monday, August 11, 2014

G is for Garden: Day 1

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Welcome to week 2 to our version of God's Little Explorers Preschool! This week is G is for Garden. This week focuses on creation! Each day we will talk about two days of creation. The curriculum has a great little song that breaks Genesis 1 down into days thats pretty catchy. Everyone had that song in their head all day!

Ripping up paper for the sky and the water. 
Beautiful creation book cover. 

Day 1 God created the night and the day

Day two he created the seas and above them a sky. 

After that we did the G do-a-dot page from Confessions of a Homeschooler

I drew some G's in pink highlighter and Cakes drew over them with her pencil. These then went into the alphabet notebook. I'm excited to have these things when she gets older and (hopefully) has beautiful handwriting!

Apparently it works better if you do it this way!

Then we decided to examine some normal run of the mill pinto beans from the pantry with our magnifying glass. Nothing too exciting there. 
We put them into a ziplock bag wrapped up in a wet paper towel to see what would happen. 

Summertime in Texas is usually pretty dreadful. Its so hot and humid that as soon as you walk outside, you feel like you need a shower! We remedy this by regular pool time!

This was done around 2pm. I love homeschooling!


Day 1 went well especially when followed with quality pool time!!

**This post does include affiliate links for your convenience. Our family gets a small percentage of anything you purchase through the links at no additional cost to you! Thanks for contributing**

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Fabulous and Free Saturday in San Antonio!

Evenin' y'all!
Today was a great day. It was the first Saturday in ages that we had that was purely for family. Nothing to be done. Just the five of us enjoying our town! The best part, except for lunch and parking, the whole day was free! Thanks PBS!

It started bright and early with breakfast tacos a very healthy breakfast and a trip to the San Antonio Children's Museum. Our local PBS station was hosting a back to school bash with a special appearance by Peg + Cat! We do not watch much tv but Peg + Cat is one of our favorites along with Duck Dynasty and anything to do with fixin' up old cars! 

We solved the problem so everything is awesome problem solved!

Quick fishing break!

Rolling doh into numbers. Great practice!

Observing stalactites. 

Driving a front end loader and pushing the buttons was the highlight for the girls. 

Lego building. You then load it onto a conveyer and drop it from a height to see if your structure could survive the fall. None of ours could.

This one is my favorite! It's our whole family! Daddy, Mommy, PopPop, Baby Cakes, and Tinker. 

...yes, PopPop has bigger hands than Mommy...she didn't let me forget about it all day!

Finding fossils

Leaving on a Imagin-air Airlines

Pilot future?

Tie a piece of fabric onto the loom. Its been building for years. Very cool!

Step back into time and visit a Victorian Lounge. The look on their faces was priceless!

ALWAYS time for a quick tea party with my girl. 

The snake loved Cakes and was very interested in her!

And wouldn't you know it! The museums are all connecting over the Matisse exhibit in town at the San Antonio Museum of Art and Henri Matisse made an appearance. It was so perfect to have studied him all week and then to be able to show Cakes an actual picture of him with his silvery beard and love of cats. It was a wonderful way to wrap up that lesson for the week! (Next two weeks is Monet! I can't wait)

We then went to the Buckhorn museum and the Original Mexican Restaurant (that's really what its called) which was soooo delicious! Then we got to walk around the beautiful River Walk and saw the Alamo. All the best parts of our beautiful downtown. Living in the same place your whole life can quite often make you blind to the beauty that surrounds you. Sometimes a staycation really is the best way to go!
Buckhorn Museum

The Original Mexican Restaurant

Welcome to Downtown San Antonio

The Alamo

Such a glorious, albeit crazy hot, day!