My Favorite Way to Stay Organized During the Week

I am a person that loves to have a daily to-do list. The more tables, charts and visuals I have, the more productive I become! During the week we have so much going on that it is hard to keep track of it all. In order to stay focused, I like to keep a weekly schedule that I can quickly glance at throughout the day.

I created the chart above, which features time slots spaced in 30 minute intervals, and color coded cells that make each task easy to read. All you need to do is print out the chartย here, fill in the blanks with your personalized schedule and use a highlighter or the paint bucket tool in Microsoft Word to color code the background of each cell! Easy Peasy!

So how do you keep track of your hectic schedule? What are your favorite organizational tools? Let me know down below ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for reading,

Jasmine

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FREE Printable”Math U see” Manipulatives!!!

MATH U SEE PRINTABLES

Homeschooling has been a great experience this past year and I love finding new books, resources and products. However, if you’re like me, storage can start becoming a bit of an issue. There are just so many great games, books and materials…and I want to buy them all! One item we purchased as part of our curriculum last year was Math U See, which also comes with a great sturdy set of manipulative blocks to help your child solve their math problems.

Math U See is seriously AMAZING. Math has always been a strength of mine, but before I began homeschooling  I was concerned about whether or not I would be able to teach the subject successfully. The program made it so easy for me and tons of fun for my son and my fears quickly faded away. Although I love the program and plan to use it for years to come, the blocks can sometimes be hard to store.

The integer blocks came in a really nice box, but unfortunately it was too big to keep in our curriculum bins, in my desk and even too big to fit in my filing cabinet! At first, we decided to place them in a large tackle box. It worked okay for a while, but if we didn’t place the blocks in precisely, then not all of them would fit. And let’s be real here, when you have three kids under six not everyone has the patience to put things away properly 100% of the time (myself included).

Not only are the blocks hard to store, but when we decide to take our schooling on the road, it can be cumbersome to find space for them. They are also really expensive. At about $80 for just the blocks alone, it can be hard for some families to afford the program, which is a shame because it works so well. I know that for us, the price was a bit of a shock (how much can paper and plastic really be?), but I made sure to pinch our pennies in order purchase the program.

Thankfully, I have come up with a pretty awesome solution which could solve both financial and storage concerns. I created my own 2D manipulatives that can be printed out and stored saving about 75% MORE space than our “space saving” tackle box! So, if you are interested in my handy dandy math blocks, here is what you need to do:

20170720_104519.jpg1.) Print out as many blocks as you need. I recommend printing out 5 copies so that you have 10 of each block. You can find the link here under the “math” section.

2.) Once printed, use a laminator like this one, to make sure the blocks are nice and sturdy and will last for years to come.

3.) Cut out all of your laminated blocks.

4.) Store your new blocks in a large envelope or use a hole punch to create a place to connect them using a ring clip (see picture above).

And that’s it! Now you have an affordable, space saving set of math manipulatives that you can use anywhere!

So what do you think of my new printables? Will it help you save some space? Where do you store your large homeschooling materials? Let me know in the comments section ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful night.

Weekly Meal Plan (July 17th – 23rd)

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This week I have decided to do a little experiment. Let me be 100% real with you all for a moment. Back in April, I decided to get back on the health and fitness train. I was eating right and exercising five days a week and lost about 15 pounds in 6 weeks. Then, the in-laws came. During that time we so were busy visiting local tourist attractions and catching up that I put exercise on hold (terrible excuse I know). My diet was also atrocious and all over the place.

It was a lot of fun, but once they left, I continued on with the habits I had quickly grown accustomed to. I’ve gained about 4 pounds in since they departed 2 months ago, which doesn’t sound too bad, but I feel horrible. I can visually see a difference in my body andย  strength and I feel a major difference in my energy level. This week I decided to finally get back on track! I created a meal plan that involves a variety of healthy foods (see below) and my goal is to stick to it. The only difference is that I will not be following any workout routine. This is partially due to the fact that I am extremely busy with work and also because I am interested to see just how much diet plays a role in our health.

I’ve heard people say things like, “weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise”. This week I will be putting that theory to the test and hopefully I will see a difference on the scale and feel a difference in my energy level. I hopped on the scale to weigh myself Monday morning and will do it again next week….wish me luck!

meal plan 7.17 to 7.23 chart

When I meal plan, I try to make breakfast, snacks and lunches as simple as possible. I usually just spend an hour or two prepping those foods for the entire week, but if I don’t, I try to plan it so that it takes less than 10 minutes to make. I made our lunches ahead of time this week and will make breakfast daily since it only takes a few minutes to scramble eggs. All of my snack choices for this week are basically grab-n-go.

It is also important to note that I try to stay away from added salt. There are times when I will add it to a recipe, but normally I just season foods (like the sauteed squash) with a small pat of real unsalted butter, a drop of extra virgin olive oil or fresh herbs. I also check ingredient labels on frozen and canned goods to make sure there is no added salt. For lunch, I will be using Mrs. Dash Salt Free Seasoning to season the chicken breast. The majority of recipes I use can easily be adjusted to fit everyone’s needs. For example, when making spaghetti this week I will be using the Veggetti to make myself some delicious Zoodles, but the kids will be eating it with whole grain pasta. I will also be drinking my favorite premade protein shake, but will be combining almond milk, bananas, spinach and chocolate to make our children’s shake from scratch in my trusty ninja blender.

Here are a list of recipes I will be using this week.
You may need to make adjustments based on the size of your family.
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lemon chicken
spaghetti sauce

fish
sweet potato hash

What are some of your favorite recipes? Do you meal plan or are you more spontaneous?
Let me know below! Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

DITL: Weekly Cleaning Routine of a SAHM

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What do you do all day?

That is the question I get asked A LOT. By strangers, friends and family, even my husband (YIKES). I guess people assume that there is some magical fairy that comes in each day to prepare meals, do dishes, fold laundry, the works. Cleaning a home with three little ones is a lot of work. Add in sports activities, doctor and dentist appointments, grocery shopping, homeschooling and my three at home jobs…and things start to get a lot more chaotic. Honestly, I feel like it is amazing I get any cleaning done, although I might be a tad bias.

Normally I try to pick up the house and declutter everyday. I also make sure to do the dishes and throw a load of laundry in the washing machine. There are some things however, that I let slide and only do on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis.ย  So I don’t bore you do death, I am just going to discuss a little bit about my weekly cleaning routine. You can also watch my cleaning routine time lapse video here.

Bathrooms: Once a week all the bathrooms in our home have the counters wiped down, cabinets washed, mirrors wiped and toilets and showers scrubbed. We have granite counter tops and I love cleaning them with BioCleaner, a multipurpose cleaning clay that has a fresh citrus scent.

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Kitchen: Our kitchen also gets a similar wipe down. I clean the counters, cabinets and appliances. For stainless steel, I like to wipe first with regular rubbing alcohol to get the grime off. Then I use a microfiber cloth with olive oil to keep it smudge resistant. 91LkzIoJL7L._SL1500_.jpg91LkzIoJL7L._SL1500_

Living & Dining Room: I dust around these areas making sure to get any fans and light fixtures. I also wipe down any wood furniture with a microfiber cloth and Murphy’s Oil Soap. The smell is amazing! Like all of the floors in the house, I sweep, mop and vacuum where appropriate. I recently purchased the EGOFLEX Spin Mop and LOVE it. It is made with stainless steel making it more durable than other spin mops on the market. It also has wheels for easy mobility and does not have a pedal in order to spin. The ones with pedals are more prone to breakage.

Bedrooms: For all the bedrooms I make sure to make the beds, put away any laundry and wipe down any wood furniture. I also dust where needed. I used to change the sheets weekly, but recently it has been hit and miss with that… whoops.

And that’s it! It is fairly easy really, just finding the time to do can be challenging. On a good day with minimal interruptions, it usually takes me about 3-4 hours. I have been toying with the idea of hiring a cleaning service. What do you think? Do you hire a cleaning service? How much does it cost for your home? If not, what does your cleaning routine look like? Are there any products you love?

Let me know in the comments ๐Ÿ™‚
Thanks for reading!

Sight Words Handwriting Challenge (FREE PRINTABLES!)

sight words handwriting challenge kindergartenWhen I began my homeschooling journey, I quickly became overwhelmed with the amount of curriculum available. For some strange reason, I thought that in order to homeschool the “right” way, I would need to purchase expensive texts or subscriptions. Thankfully, I eventually realized that there isn’t a right or wrong way to homeschool your child and sometimes it is best to just keep things simple.

Before my son began kindergarten I purchased a popular handwriting program called Handwriting Without Tears (HWT). Although it wasn’t as expensive as some of our other curriculum, it was still an added expense that our single income family had to take into consideration. After completing the program, I felt a little let down. I had seen so many great reviews praising their methods, but in the end I just felt like it was okay.

Was it terrible? I wouldn’t go that far. However, was it worth the $20+ dollars I spent? Not really. I felt like there wasn’t enough room to practice each letter on the pages provided and the teachers manual was sooo lengthy. There was good content in the manual… it just seemed like TOO much information, which seemed unnecessary. It took us about 3 months to complete HWT, so I decided to start finding more cost effective ways for my son to practice handwriting.

One of the things that really helped was thinking outside the box when it comes to writing. Who says you have to write with paper and pencil every single time? Use a chalk or dry erase board. Spray shaving cream on a baking pan and let your child practice writing using their finger. Take your children outdoors and let them use dirt and a stick to work on their manuscript. The possibilities are endless!

I also realized fairly quickly the large amounts of paper we were going through once we started home educating. One of the things I really recommend homeschooling parents purchase is a laminator. I found mine at Amazon for less than $40. Having a way to quickly laminate items at home allow us to reuse worksheets multiple times without pesky eraser marks all over the page. It also makes charts, flash cards and posters sturdier and long lasting! If you don’t have the ability to purchase a laminator, try placing worksheets in protective sheets made for binders! Works just as well ๐Ÿ™‚

Eventually I began making my own worksheets and practice pages. Today I am going to share with you a FREE printable (geared toward children ages 4-6) that I created. It combines art, handwriting and reading all in one. Simply print out the following pages and follow the instructions to begin!

Included are:
* List of 100 sight words
* Sentence Train wall chart
* “Draw. Write. Learn.” reusable worksheet
* Certificate of Completion!

Click here to download my Super Sight Words Handwriting Challenge worksheets!