The Nadel family- Enjoy reading our everyday adventures!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Things to do with toddlers and twos!

This school year has been a new challenge for me, since I am now homeschooling my older two kids while BOTH of my younger two are awake. Last year, Bethany still took a morning nap for at least 45 min-one hour. Not so, this fall. It has proved to be a handful! Most days, Bethany plays on the floor by herself, while we read books and Bible. Then we have snack, and that gets us to about 11:00. SO usually we still have one long hour left until school is done for the day! My kids usually do some reading/ exercise/ computer time after lunch to get the full 4 hours of school in the day.

I have a book called Things to do with Toddlers and Twos by Karen Miller. It is a great resource with lots of ideas of things for little ones to do. The main thing I found that helps me is switching the toys out each week or so. Whatever toys the little girls play with during school, I switch those out and grab some "new" ones we haven't played with for a while, out of their closet. This has worked very well so far. There are lots of other things I can do to keep them busy, some of which involve me more. Anyway. since I know a few of my readers may need some ideas, and I have been here twice before, I made a list of things I can grab to do with my toddlers/ preschoolers.

Here it is:

“Things to do with Toddlers and Twos” (based off a book that I own by the same name)
Texture cards—made with index cards and diff. Types of fabric to feel
Pasting paper
Tearing paper
Sticky tape/ stickers (masking tape is great fun!) Keep it in your purse!
Play dishes
Items to smell, hear, taste
Stick horse
Slide, roll, jump, push (self or car, block)
Tunnel- crawl & hide
Pour a bead—plastic cup, large bead
Cotton balls and old plastic laundry scoops, spoons
Popsicle/ craft sticks in toothbrush holder
Zipper case—keep “things” in
Empty & fill bucket
Stacking rings
Stringing large beads?
Poke things into/ through holes—i.e. Kleenex box
Old shell game (hide under 3 bowls, move, find)
Plastic jar with toys- open, pour, close
Sponges, put in box for stacking
Clothes pins or bean bags- place or toss into bucket/ can
Fingerplays—“where is…,” “I spy …”colors
Hats & mirror, shoes, purses (Great to fill and empty!)
Stroller or cart to push Pull toys
Call & response game –say “doh, doh, doh” or da-da-da, child repeats
Playdoh and tools—plastic forks, knives, rolling pins, etc.,
Brush or sponge painting (can do with water outside)
Crayons, chalk, shave cream, fingerpaint (“paint” can be pudding, yogurt if needed)
Bubbles and straw in bowl
Wash items—rocks, doll, toy dishes
Eye droppers—fill bowls
Radio play- on/ off—cassette tapes?
Pounding bench (tools)
Oil and water bottle
Balls in a tube
Sock puppets Bubbles!
Ice cube on a tray!
Spray bottle and rag—“clean” floor
Duplo/ Primo blocks
Boats/ floating in sink/ “fishing”
Raisins & toothpicks—connect & build
Stacking/ nesting cups
Wet Ones container & ping-pong balls (dump & fill)
Plastic soap box (used for traveling) and playing cards fit inside
“Fort” with a blanket and card table
File folder cut with windows and paste photos underneath of animals, etc.,
Sidewalk chalk
Broom, dustpan to sweep porch, kitchen floor
Flannel/ felt board w/ VeggieTales characters, family, letters, numbers
VeggieTales matching game with stickers on juice can lids
Instruments- wrist bells, chopsticks for drum, beans in Easter eggs
Puzzles made with picture on cardboard, cut up
Straw jewelry with yarn & cut up straws
Balloon batting- draw faces, put ribbon on, can “bat” with nylon over clothes hanger
Houses made with wooden craft sticks

Bethany playing with blocks during
homeschool today!
Hope this helps some of you! Let me know if you have any great ideas to add!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Watch battery saga!

Some of you have heard this (Joshua, my parents, Morgan), but it is a story for sure!

So about a month ago, Joshua's Aunt Rachel was here, and she had this pretty watch band that she had made--beading she did on her own. She had a watch that clipped onto it. I thought, "I have a watch like that, I should make one..." I had gotten one a few years ago with a gift card from Michael's. I got several clip-on watch bracelets to go with it. I wear it occasionally, but thought maybe I'd wear it more if I had my own beaded bracelet to go on it. So I made one for it that is multi-colored. I wore it for a few days, and the watch stopped working, and seemed like it was "super-winding".

I took the battery out at home and one of the kids lost it soon after that. So I went to Target and just guessed on the battery size. It was wrong, of course! So I decided to take it to a place in the mall where I have gotten lots of watch batteries replaced for free, since Target & Wal-mart don't change watch batteries anymore. When I went in, the saleslady told me that they are now charging $10 to replace watch batteries. Sigh... Well, all I really need is to take this Target battery out, and she helped me do that-- open the back and get it out. She mentioned maybe I should try Radio Shack, because they sell lots of watch batteries and maybe I'd be able to find one there. Keep in mind, that this watch face attachment does not cost more than $10 brand new! So I go into Radio Shack, and the salesman there tells me if I don't know what battery it is, then I may as well just play the Colorado Lottery, because it is about that likely that I would just pick the right battery for this watch. He said to take it to another jewelry store in the mall, and they could help me with the battery, but he knew they charged for it.

So... I go to place #4 to get a watch battery. This would have been so much easier if my kids hadn't lost the battery! Ugh! I go to the next jewelry store in the mall, and there is a man that works in the back with very dirty hands that helps me. He got the watch battery on the first try, but it wasn't winding correctly. He said he could have their "watch guy" look at it for me if I wanted. I said, no I think I'll just get a new watch face. Ok, that will be $15 for the watch battery. Wow, really? OK... So I pay him... and then I said, can I just give you the battery back? I am just going to throw this battery away when I get home. No, we can't take them back after they've been opened, he tells me. Sigh... Then manager the walks by, and I ask him if there is anyway I can have a refund. Sure, no problem, he tells me. So, at least I got a free watch battery in this watch that doesn't work...

THEN. The next night, Joshua and I go to Michael's to get a new watch face. I had a coupon, so I got it on sale for under $8! YEAH! I get the watch home, put it on my new jeweled bracelet band... and it doesn't WORK! AAUGGGH! Well, I fished my old watch out of the trash, and we get the battery out of it. Joshua helps me put it into the new watch face. It works. FINALLY!

A few weeks later, my band was getting really stretchy, so I re-strung it. A week after that, it fell apart when I was putting it in my pocket. CRIMINY!!  Well, it was an easy repair the next day, no big deal. I am thinking I need to quit wearing a watch!

My dad told me that next time he'd just give me $8 and I could go buy a watch at Target or Wal-mart. It's not a bad idea...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thoughts on cleaning...

Here are some of my thoughts on cleaning...

I know, you all think that since I am a stay-at-home-mom, that I must clean all the time. Haha, lol, rofl, hehe... That's funny. I am not a big fan of cleaning. I'd rather read, craft, blog, play with my kids, etc., Since I am a homeschooler, I don't have tons of time to clean. Homeschooling is like having a part-time job. But cleaning is necessary. Why? you say... It just gets dirty again. Well, it is better for the health of your family to have a clean house. It is easier to have guests over anytime if it is reasonably clean most of the time.

Over the years of my being a wife and housewife, I have done lots of different theories of cleaning. I have tried Zone Cleaning, where you clean one zone a day. A list like this would be:

Monday- Baths
Tuesday- Kitchen floor
Wednesday- Dust
Thursday- Laundry
Friday- Kitchen counters, cupboards, micro, etc.,
Saturday- Vacuum
Sunday- Day of Rest

But I never really felt like I needed to clean my house that much, unless we were selling it. When our house was for sale, we cleaned it thoroughly once a week on Saturday, which is what my Mom did. Before I had kids, I would switch off cleaning things each week, kinda like zone cleaning. But I did baths every other week (unless company was coming). I kept a schedule like this for a long time:

Week 1: Dust & vacuum/ baths
Week 2: Kitchen floor
Week 3: wash sheets, towels, etc., /baths
Week 4: Clean kitchen, sweep & spot mop the floor

I liked this because it wasn't so overwhelming or necessary to clean everything each week. I would only clean for about an hour each week. If you have a dog or cat, you may need to vacuum and sweep more often. Now I have my two big kids help me. My DS (7 years old) sweeps the kitchen floor several times a week. He also gathers the trash daily. My DD 11 y.o. cleans the bathrooms each week, and loads the dishwasher each morning, as well as drying dishes after dinner. They also have to pick up their rooms each Saturday (I help my 7 y.o since it is still overwhelming for him). My DH vacuums for me each week. We have done it this way for 2 years now (except my DS sweeping) each week, and I think we will do it this way for a while. The house needs to be cleaned each week with all these people around. Also, after one of us is sick, I walk around with a rag & disinfectant, or a Clorox wipe and clean the phone, light switches and door knobs.

There is a great book that I like, my sister turned me on to it. It is called Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson. has it here.
She has a lot of great tips and thoughts about cleaning, and how to do a lot of jobs, i.e. folding a fitted sheet, how to wash dishes, etc., I think of it as the Joy of Cooking, but for cleaning. A great manual, a great book to refer to.

Another book that I like on cleaning is called, How to Clean Practically Anything by Monte and Marjorie Florman.

You can find it on here.
It is a great reference guide for general cleaning, and it is small too! I've found it at Goodwill for cheap!
So there you go...

Hope that helps!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Field trip!

Today we went on a field trip to a Lake where we could feed some ducks. The lake is near the Lakeside Apartments, called Lake Lenore. It is special to us because it is where we began dating, and where we were engaged. There are other duck ponds in town, but they are further away and charge for the day use. We had a picnic there with Daddy and then fed the ducks some bread from home. We attracted about 15 ducks! All of them were female. I think I saw two males hanging out under a far bush in the water, but they wouldn't come out! Oh well... The kids had a great time seeing ducks pretty close, and we even heard them quack! We took that as a thank you. :-D We even had a few ducks swim from the other side of the lake to eat our bits of bread! And it always seems no matter how much bread you bring, it's never enough!
watching the ducks swim around...
Mom showing the webbed feet to the kids

Thursday, August 26, 2010

School days...

So we have been enjoying having a space for our homeschool in our new home. Here are a few pics of the kids busy at work in it...

Rebekah & Caleb at work...
Rebekah's desk...
Caleb reading "The Story of Ping" to Mallory on
2nd day of school.

Rebekah showing Beffy the ABC magnets.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Homeschool IDs

Here is a great tool for homeschoolers. You can make yourself a homeschool ID for FREE! All you do is input your child's info, picture and print it. Then you can laminate it yourself (or Office Depot), or cover it with contact paper or clear packing tape. I have a laminator that I love! I got mine for Christmas a few years ago and have used it a lot! So if you wanted me to laminate some for you (in GJ), I am willing to do that. Just let me know!

Here is some more info:

Then click on the tab on the left which says FREE homeschool ID. It will take you to the form to fill out, and you can upload a photo right from your computer! It is quite helpful to show as a teacher at Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc., when getting a Teacher Discount. Hope this helps!

Get a FREE
Homeschool ID Card!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Things that make me happy!

Today in my Guideposts devotions, I read about gifts, and how we need to appreciate the everyday things in our lives. I had been thinking of this yesterday, and how there are new things in my house that I am still enjoying. What a great gift God has given us! A little "sacred in the ordinary" you may say. SO here are some things I have been thinking of...

-That my new dishwasher is quieter than my one at my old house.
-That my laundry area here has luevered doors to close, unlike my old one= no doors.
-For our new house layout, that we can fit in more things, so the kids can play with lots of old toys & games. Including the kitchen, and play table & chairs in the little girls' room.
-That my two big kids can have their own rooms & space to go to relax.
-That we have space for a school room, where the kids can have school time, and the little girls can play in other parts of the house without disturbing them.

I have been trying to treasure each day more. To take some time to just sit, watch the kids play, not be busy all the time. It is something out of a book I read this summer called Mosaic by Amy Grant. She talked in it about having a quiet time each day and how this was hard for her, since she was not a morning person. (neither am I!) So what she does is go outside first thing in the morning, and wakes up while she says, "THIS is THE day the LORD has MADE, I will REJOICE and BE GLAD in it." Psalm 118: 24. It is the day God has given me (us); dedicate it to Him, I will rely on Him, and be thankful, glad in it-- not sad, upset, not worrying, but praying, asking Him for guidance, discernment, encouragement, etc., He made this day, I will give it back to Him, and go through it with HIM in it. I

 really enjoyed that portion of the book. There are a few other parts that I liked, but that is for another day. I hope that has given you food for thought. What are some things YOU are thankful for in this day? What everyday things do you appreciate?

Monday, August 23, 2010

First day of school!

For the past few years, Joshua has started our first day of homeschool with the part of "Finding Nemo" that has Nemo waking up his dad on the first day of school. "First day of school! First day of school! C'mon let's go!" Nemo says. "I don't wanna go to school, just five more minutes... (of sleep)" Nemo's dad Marlin says. :-D

So today we began another homeschool year. We did take pictures before we began, just like for public school. Then we jumped right in academically! No need to get to know the teacher! (It's their MOM!) No need to find a new classroom-- but it is a new classroom this year, with a new (to us) table and chairs! It was fun to have a "school" room in our new house. Maybe next time I will post pics of our new school room. Rebekah even has her own desk! :-D

 Rebekah, our big 6th grader

Caleb, our 2nd grader

Mallory, preschool
Bethany, no more morning naps for me!


So, last week we bought 6 chicks! Joshua found a gal on Craigslist that had chicks for sale, on Orchard Mesa. So we went out there and bought them and a small bag of feed from her. The kids have really been enjoying them, trying to name them. Bethany has been loving watching them when they were in a cardboard box in the garage. (She calls them "doggies" and asks about them A LOT now!) Joshua finished (mostly) the chicken coop this past weekend and we moved them in on Saturday night. We let them out for about 1/2 hour before we put them into the new coop. Well, one little sneaky one went under the deck! We may never get him out... so now we have 5!

Joshua still wants to finish the chicken chalet, as he calls it, by adding a door and ramp, chicken wire and a little pen so they can go outside. We are looking forward to having our own fresh eggs!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Teaching writing numerals- poems

When I student taught kindergarten here in Grand Junction years ago (I was a newlywed!), the teacher that I worked with was Carol Wagner. I have used a lot of ideas from her in my homeschool. One of my favorites was the way she taught writing, esp. numerals. She called the lined/ dotted line paper "house paper", because it had a basement, downstairs, upstairs, floor and ceiling. I refer to the parts of the "house" below in the jingles. Each numeral had its own little poem or jingle to it. I have them written on large index cards and have used them with each of my kids. So here they are... hope you can use them!

1- A straight line down, one is fun!

2- Start a little below the "ceiling"- not down on the dotted line.
A. Over the rainbow.
B. Slant back on a railroad track.
C. Two, two, two.
(slant back & down to floor, stop right underneath where you began.)

3. Start in the same place that you start for a two.
A. Around the tree.
B. Back up
 C. And around the tree.
That's the number three!

4. A. Down
B. And over
C. (Pick up your pencil and go back to the ceiling.)
D. And down some more (clear to the floor!)
That's the number four! *Must have this tail!

5. A. A little skinny man
B. With a big, fat tummy
C. And- he always wears a hat!
 (Little skinny man is the first part of the four and the tummy is the bottom of the three. Always put hat on last.)

6. A. 6 is a snake that CURVES down on the ground.
B. But it's too dark!
C. So he comes back out halfway.
(This is the first right to left numeral, there are lots of backwards 6s and then they begin to write 2 and 3 backward too!)

7. A. Straight over
B. Slant down to heaven
That's the number 7!

8. Another right to left- very confusing! Turn on dotted line and cross on dotted line.
A. Make an S
B. But do not wait!
C. Go back to the top.
That's the number 8!

9. Right to left "loop" has to live upstairs.
A. First you make a l-o-o-o-o-p
B. Then you make a l-i-i-i-i-i-ne
It's so easy to make a 9!

0. (Right to left)
A. Make a big l-o-o-o-o-p
You'll be a hero, once you learn to make a zero!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Homeschool Buyers Co-op!

I just listened to a webinar (FREE!) by Brett Walters about Homeschool Buyers Co-Op. I have been a member there for a few years and have not done much with them for a few years. But I learned a lot about the website, and all the discounts they offer. Here is more of what they offer:

  • Group Buys for deep discounts on educational curriculum
  • Exclusive member discounts from over 100 educational suppliers
  • Our Dell discount program
  • The fact the membershp qualifies you for discounts at Academic Superstore
Membership there is free & confidential. I have gotten their FREE homeschool ID cards for the past three years. They are great because you can print them out and laminate them, and show they to get dscounts at various retailers,

They also have wonderful FREEBIES, a free curriculum database, free educational contests & scholarships database,  free educational field trips database and free local discounts database for educators. Be sure to check them out! You can sign up for their newsletter too.

OR you can friend them on Facebook and hear more about what they have to offer. 

Here is their web site address:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cloth diapers

Hi, my name is Jill and I use cloth diapers. TODAY. "Isn't that a thing of the past?", you ask. No, actually there are a lot of moms I know that use cloth diapers. After the initial investment, it is a great way to save money. I have enough diapers that I wash them about once a week. I have a diaper pail that we got when Rebekah was born, as a gift from an Aunt & Uncle that sold Amway. It is a nice pail because it has a lid & a handle, as well as a place to put a scented refill for a little scent pad. It helps a little bit. I tried diaper service, and it was similar-- putting the diapers in a pail/ bag and changing them out once a week. I thought, I could do that. The smell has never bothered me much. My mom used cloth diapers on us when we were kids, and she used diaper pins. But today the diaper covers all have velcro, are easy to fold & place inside the cover. I bought a lot of covers online when Rebekah & Caleb were babies. All four of my kids have worn them. Diaper covers come in a variety of sizes & colors. In my photo you can see some of the ones I have. I had a lot of people give me some that they were not using or were done with, so I have a LOT. I figure I save 10 cents each time I use a cloth diaper, and they are better for the environment- reusing, right?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Composting 101

So, Joshua and I have decided since we have some spare space outside and we have a septic system that can't handle all kinds of food, that we would start a compost bin. We've never done this before, but are excited to try it. I love the idea that our food trash can turn out to be some great soil! We have a large spot for a garden next year, and this new soil will be wonderful for it!

We found a few websites that we like, with some great information:  -this has great tips & articles to get started.  -a great list of items you can compost

*I have not checked everything on these pages, but have found some great tips and ideas. I cannot say the whole site is family-friendly!*

A few tips we have learned is that coffee grounds are great for compost- which we happen to have a lot of around here! :-D Also, do not add meat, bones or animal fat, it will attract critters.

From the site: Wooden pallets make excellent compost bins. Start with one pallet on the ground. Drive two metal stakes into each side. Slide additional pallets over each support and you have a bin ready for compost. 
We got some wooden pallets for free, and this is exactly what we did! You can also use an old trash can with holes too! Compost needs brown layers and green layers, so we will put newspaper, brown paper trash bags and white shredded paper out there too!

We are collecting our compost in a plastic bucket from ice cream. It is nice because it has a lid & handle and can sit on the counter. We empty it every day or two. It is handy!

It is a great activity for the kids to see. I will update more in the spring when we have results!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bind weed killing recipe

I got this "recipe" out of the newspaper for killing bindweed. Pass it on!

(By Dennis Hill of Bookcliff Gardens, in GJ)
Mix these two herbicides: Hi-Yield Killz-All and Fertilome Weed-Out, according to label directions in the same gallon of water. You would put a gallon of water into a sprayer, then add 2 tablespoons of Weed-Out and 4 tablespoons of Killz-All to that gallon of water and then spray that onto your weeds. That will treat about 200 square feet. These are strong chemicals when used together and will kill ANYTHING it's sprayed on, including grasses and broad-leafed plants.

Bindweed (aka Wild-morning glory) is a difficult one to get rid of, and you will probably need to repeat the application a week or so after the original. Also this is one instance when it works better when you apply this when the temperatures are higher (not usually the time to be applying herbicides).

Originally printed in the Daily Sentinel.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Jam packed!

Our last few weeks have been jam packed, in more ways than one! I made over 30 jars (various sizes) of apricot and strawberry jam. I put it all in the freezer, will be nice to have homemade jam all winter, I hope! And the apricots were free-- hooray! The older 3 kids had swim lessons, and all did very well, learned a lot in the two weeks. I also have been sewing- made valances for Mallory's room and pretty velvet pillows for the couch. (both with free fabric from a friend!) We had Joshua's aunt Rachel Black here from Florida, and had a great time hanging out with her, hosting her here a few days, and seeing family a LOT! Loved it all! Then Joshua and I had our 14th anniversary, and he gave me flowers for that. We went out to a delicious dinner at Garfield's, since we had a gift certificate from our mortgage lender. I am really enjoying the busy, fun, lazy but crazy days of summer! Only a few weeks left until we hit the books again! Now you know what I'll be doing the next few weeks...

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