Nutritious, Traditional Food: Homemade Baby Formula Part 1

Originally posted August 2013

I want to do a series on traditionally prepared, nutritious foods.  We have http://quietinthechaos.com/senior-gay-dating-app/, as many of you know, in an effort to heal our son’s reflux and gut issues.  Below is a little background on what happened with my now 7 year old (though leaving out a lot of details, not to mention the cost comparison of medicines and formulas vs homemade). 

Obviously, I am in no way a medical professional and am NOT giving you medical or health care advice.  I am offering you information and what you do with it is up to you.  

Mister had terrible reflux, was on Nutramigen baby formula (it is an elemental formula in which the dairy is broken down as much as possible) for dairy protein allergy, and overall his gut was a mess.  I nursed and pumped as long a I could (while doing a dairy free diet myself, for his sake) but Mister refused to nurse after 6 months; I continued to pump but after a month lost my supply.

If you have read anything about traditional foods, or traditional nutrition, you have read that the “gut” is the most vital part of the body- it produces enzymes that affect every single aspect of your body functioning properly, along with so much more we have learned in the last 10 years.

From using hormones to absorbing vitamins and minerals, the condition of your gut determines your overall health.  Period.  (see the bottom of this article for links and resources regarding gut health)

So, here are a list of the ingredients in a can of Nutramigen:

That is a picture taken straight from a can of baby formula in my pantry.  I have no idea why I still have this can.  Maybe it reminds me of how far we have come in just 4 short months.

Can you pronounce any of those words easily?  Do you know what many of those ingredients are?

They aren’t natural.  They are not God made and nature grown.

Ingredients on a package are in order of amount found in that product.  Corn syrup solids are the majority of what is makes up most general baby formulas.

Corn syrups solids are a genetically modified organism (GMO), made from corn and are basically SUGAR.  A crappy, non-nutritional, HIGHLY processed chemical food product.

I can’t even call it a food, because it isn’t.

Corn syrup solids interfere with a hormone which tells your body “hey, you’re full!  Stop eating!”  Therefore you eat more (that’s pretty convenient for food corporations…).

Corn syrup or some form of it is found in almost anything in a package or box.  It is much healthier to find a real food recipe version of your favorite boxed foods and cook them at home.

Check out this link from Dr. Mark Hyman on 5 Reasons Why High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You.

None of those ingredients aid in the health of the gut, body, or absorption of nutrients.  Do babies everywhere survive on that can?  Yes, they do. Do they possibly have unforeseen health complications later in life?  Yes.

Many of those ingredients have been linked to health problems, especially the highly processed High Fructose Corn Syrup, and vegetable oils in that can.  *ick*  I seriously can’t imagine making meals out of that stuff.

So, I did research.  I read.  I bought Nourishing Traditions Cookbook.  FYI- that is a link to the cookbook on Amazon.  

I love it so much I took it to Kinkos and had the covers laminated, and the binding spiral bound so I can lay it flat and it makes it easier to flip through 700 pages.

In the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, there are recipes for baby formula (it is also found on Weston A Price website).  One uses raw milk or goats milk, which with a dairy protein allergy Max cannot have. *for baby #4 in 2016, I did make the goat milk formula for our baby and it worked well. We will do it again for Baby #5 if necessary

The other uses liver and bone broth.  *ding ding ding*

So, I went back to searching for organic grassfed beef bones for stock and liver, and all the ingredients I needed for the formula.  After I found them all, we decided to dive in and do it!

I began weaning him onto the meat-based formula the week we left for a trip in June.  I made up a few batches, froze them, and took them with us.  By the time we got home he was on the homemade formula full time, in addition to his solids.

No more nutrient void commercial formula.

A few chiropractor visits later, and Max is no longer on medication.  His gut is healed- thanks to that bone broth and it’s mineral producing gelatin, no doubt.  The chiropractor also did work on his gut, you can read about that here.  (Google the importance on bone broth in your diet). **This was all pre-the big bone broth craze of paleo and keto fads. But doesn’t change the fact that it is affective.

Gosh, it really brings me to tears writing this out.

His belly is healed.  He occasionally spits up, but usually only when I get his bottle too warm, or he gulps it down.

Oddly, after I started Max on the homemade formula, he became a new baby in many ways.  He started napping better, was generally happier, and his development shot off.

He no longer has reflux, and there aren’t acid reflux stains on his bed sheets anymore.  Even on his medicines there were smelly, acidic stains on his sheets after a nap, or first thing in the morning, from refulx.

Traditional, WHOLE foods healed my son’s gut.

Not a medicine that masks symptoms.

Hard work and healthy food.

So, what is this homemade, meat-based baby formula recipe, you may be asking?
From Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, page 603 here it is:

3 3/4 cups homemade beef or chicken broth (recipe from page 122 or 124)
2 ounces organic liver
5 Tablespoon lactose
1 teaspoon infant probiotic
1/4 cup homemade liquid whey
1 Tablespoon organic coconut oil
1 teaspoon codliver oil (I use Green Pastures)
1 teaspoon UNrefined sunflower oil
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon acerola powder

Now, assume all those ingredients are from only the best sources and are organic.  Because anything you can get from Walmart probably isn’t the best quality ingredient. **In 2019, you can actually find a lot of organic foods and ingredients in Walmart and Kroger- yay!

I found mine at: http://www.radiantlifecatalog.com/ and I get my coconut oil from http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/

I use Weston A Price Foundation as a HUGE source of information and health related articles, along with Nourishing Traditions– it is so much more than a cookbook!  It is over 700 pages of wisdom, science, and traditional health information.

The point of this recipe is that all ingredients are natural, whole, raw sources of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients a baby needs-they can be easily absorbed and the body knows what to do with them.  They are not processed or found in a man made vitamin capsule.  (you can overdose on synthetic vitamins, but it is much harder to do so with natural sources because your body knows how to use them and rid of excess.)

I also want to include the breakdown of the nutritional analysis done by Sally Fallon and Weston A Price Foundation of breastmilk and these homemade formulas.  Obviously breast milk is BEST, provided the mother eats a nutritious diet, but some of us aren’t able to nurse or continue nursing.

This is a good alternative for my family:

Based on 36 ounces.
Breast Milk
Cow’s Milk
Formula
Goat Milk
Formula
Liver-Based
Formula
Calories
766
856
890
682
Protein
11.3g
18g
18g
15g
Carbohydrates
76g
79g
77g
69g
Total Fat
48g
52g
54g
36g
Saturated Fat
22g
28g
30g
16g
Mono Fat
18g
16g
16g
12g
Poly Fat
5.5g
5.6g
5.7g
5.6g
Omega-3 FA
.58g
1.3g
1.2g
1.0g
Omega-6 FA
4.4g
4.2g
4.4g
4.5g
Cholesterol
153mg
137mg
166mg
227mg
Vitamin A*
946IU
5000IU
5000IU
20,000IU
Thiamin-B1
.15mg
1.05mg
1.1mg
.19mg
Riboflavin-B2
.4mg
1.2mg
1.2mg
1.9mg
Niacin-B3
1.9mg
2.5mg
4.4mg
14.2mg
Vitamin B6
.12mg
.51mg
.60mg
.65mg
Vitamin B12
.5mcg
1.9mcg
2.8mcg
39mcg
Folate
57mcg
236mcg
284mcg
159mcg
Vitamin C
55mg
57mg
59mg
62mg
Vitamin D
480IU
450IU
525IU
460IU
Vitamin E***
9.9mg
6.2mg
4.7mg
4.9mg
Calcium
355mg
532mg
548mg
NA**
Copper
.57mg
.38mg
.58mg
1.9mg
Iron
.33mg
1.4mg
2.2mg
5.4mg
Magnesium
37.4mg
91.3mg
96.1mg
34.5mg
Manganese
.29mg
.034mg
.12mg
.24mg
Phosphorus
151mg
616mg
729mg
344mg
Potassium
560mg
949mg
1228mg
750mg
Selenium
18.8mcg
15.4mcg
18.7mcg
31.1mcg
Sodium
186mg
308mg
320mg
NA**
Zinc
1.9mg
2.8mg
2.7mg
2.5mg
* Vitamin A levels in human milk will depend on the diet of the mother. Nursing mothers eating vitamin A-rich foods such as cod liver oil will have much higher levels of vitamin A in their milk. Commercial formulas contain about 2400 IU vitamin A per 800 calories.
** Calcium and sodium values for homemade broth are not available.
*** Vitamin E values are derived from commercial vegetable oils. The vitamin E levels for homemade formulaswill be higher if good quality, expeller-expressed oils are used.

At first I was embarrassed and scared to tell people I made Mister’s formula. As in most things, when you go against the grain or do something differently that mainstream society, people think you’re a little wacky. In 2019, it can be easier for people to see the benefits of real, nutritious food for all stages of life, than it was even in 2013.

I am proud to say we worked hard, and we healed Max’s gut (and therefore damage caused by the commercial formulas and medicines we had tried).  He is healthy, growing, and gaining weight better than he ever did the first half of his first  year.

We are approaching his first birthday, and I am so thankful.

 READ PART 2 HERE

Articles on gut health:

 

Top Educational Toys for Toddlers-PreK

*original post May 2013, updated*

I am a teacher by trade, and a mama by … everything else.  =)  My husband and I try to keep educational/classic toys and books in our home, avoiding twaddle, and “junk” toys.

A fellow homeschooling (and dear) friend, and a few other readers have asked me what we use for toys in our house (I think my reputation for a toy nazi must precede me?!).  So I thought I would make an easy list of educational and fun learning toys that we enjoy or wish we had to enjoy.

These have really been a blessing in our home and homeschool- I know that seems ridiculous to say about “toys,” things that are material.  But they have really helped Lexie learn so much, often times on her own, or through questioning me.  Many things were gifts or bought with gift money from family and friends.  We are very grateful for their love and support.

This is a list that excludes puzzles, books, baby dolls, and toy trucks, etc-the general toys kids have aren’t on here.  I will do another post on those recommendations.  But I don’t think you would generally find many of these items in most homes.

These are not in a particular order, except the first one.  All the others Lexie plays with equally as much or in conjunction with the Magna Tiles.  haha

1. Magna Tiles!  You probably saw my post.  They are an investment … I know; I was nervous clicking the checkout button.  BUT, they’re amazing learning fun!  Last time I talked about them on here (the light table post) I wasn’t kidding about grabbing them for $120 with free shipping and the free book promotion.  That is no longer available, two weeks later.  I scoped theses things out for weeks to get that deal; but it sells out quickly.
2. Sorting bears– she loves them.  And they are great for her to play with during independent play.  They are good for learning and imaginative play-this set comes in 3 different sizes.  We read the three bears and then I introduced them.  She plays with them several days a week (if you get them, be sure to get the set with 3 sizes like the one in the link)
3. These basic pattern blocks get used ALL the time, for all different things.  They also make the pattern block cards that go with them, to use for more instruction type learning/play.  My younger children love using the pattern block cards independently while I school with my olders.
4. Unifix Cubes, or some sort of snapping cube.  Unifix cubes are great for building, sorting, counting, and learning about number sense, etc.  They’re a great math manipulative!  I linked to the 500 count set because 100 isn’t really enough.  When you get into complicated math down the road (multiplication, division, fractions) you will need more than 100 to compare amounts, makes graphs, etc.  So I’d suggest the larger set if you are able  (Especially if you will have more than one child using them at a time)
5. This letter construction set is Ah-MAZING.  I think I paid $25 w shipping (we have amazon prime, it’s worth it just for the shipping on Christmas gifts for family, alone!)  The set is a little more now.  The set is very strong, the pieces are big and wide so they’re easy for little hands to manipulate, and it’s fun.
This wasn’t a toy Lexie just jumped into- I let her explore with them first, then when she asked, I showed her what they were really for.  Now, a few years later, all of my children enjoy this set.
6. The Thomas Wooden Railway.  She loves it and uses it all the time.  We got the wooden one, and the wooden trains to go with it (we only have a few, but she seems happy with that for now).  I thought she would get frustrated with it, because the tracks have to be put together a certain way, unless you have enough track pieces then it doesn’t matter.  But she doesn’t.  She just pretends, takes it apart, can almost get it back together correctly… but often she plays with the trains without the tracks. **All 4 children now enjoy this train set, playing with the train tracks, and the trains. One of the first sounds baby #4 learned was “choo choo”
7. this shape sorter wooden clock by Melissa and Doug.  I know- it looks simple but it has seriously been on her table in the living room for over a year, and she plays with it almost daily.  We have used it for numbers, colors, and shapes.
8. Lexie learned her letters and letter sounds with foam bath letters and numbers like these (they were a gift for her first bday, I have no clue what brand ours are.  But they are a nice thick foam made for the bath tub, though they’ve never been in the tub…)
She lines them up, sorts them by color, stands them up (that takes some time and focus!) She still plays with them regularly.  They are one of the toys I don’t really rotate out. Our set came with numbers as well.  This is also how she learned her numbers.  I would just point to the letter/number and tell her its name and the sound it made.  Sometimes the most simple things are so great for learning! She has done the same with her younger siblings, teaching them on her own.
9. A small dry erase board and dry erase markers– my mom brought one for the trip from Memphis to NE when we moved.  Bug really likes it, but it isn’t something I let her have all the time (we are learning not to bang the marker on the board….)  The board is a small 12 x 12 board, great for playing, and learning to write.  The one linked has both a lined side, and a blank side; so as children develop their writing skills they can use the lined side.  We enjoy ours so far!
10. Her doll house– it is the fisher price loving family dollhouse, I had when I was a kid.  She plays with it all the time, and we play with it together.
11. water beads– you may have seen my post.  Cheap and fun (and they come in colors, too)!  They aren’t something we do every day, or even every week.  But Lexie LOVES them!  I think we may cover them in shaving cream for some extra sensory fun in the next few days.
12. Magnets– So much fun, so much learning and exploring.

13. Lacing cards– we have a few different sets of these from friends and family.  My kids use them often, they are something fun to do together as well.  They pretend to sew, knit, and crochet like mama.  Great for fine motor, critical thinking, and hand eye coordination.

14. Melissa and Doug Buckets– we have a few different versions of these- they are all VERY well loved, and have held up so to much abuse play. Living on a farm, outside toys like buckets get used on an almost daily basis and these have no disappointed! This is one toy that we can’t really have too many of.

15. ABC Bean Bags– I cannot count the ways we use these bean bags! One way, is by throwing them into those buckets I posted above. These have been so much fun for all ages in our home (7 down to baby). We toss, stack, count, hide, and tote around these bean bags daily. We also like our shapes bean bags and I plan to get the number bean bags eventually.

So, there are my top toys for toddlers through PreK children.  Of course always supervise your young children with any toy.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting my site!  I was not paid or compensated in anyway for these opinions; they are my own.

Weekly Wrap Up {homeschool update} with Baby #4 Summary

So, how goes being a mama of 4, 6 years old and under?  It is going really great!

Weekly Wrap Up {end of november}

We have fallen into our groove with routines, baby is sleeping great *most* days for her naps, which helps with our learning time as a family.  The kids are enjoying their school time; we have finally gotten pretty comfortable with Mister doing more activities while I teach Lexie.  Ila walks around with her ABC flash cards (I laminated them and put on a ring for her) during most of learning time. She likes to come sit in my lap through out the morning and “read” to me.  =)

Lexie (6 years old)

The Lady is just flying through everything I give her or introduce her to.  She enjoys reading; we are still going over the rules as we work through All About Reading, because I don’t want her to have gaps down the road.  However, she is reading on a 4-6th grade level.  Next we are going to start working to build her vocabulary, because when reading at a higher level, she is coming across many words she doesn’t know yet.

She is learning her math facts in math and really enjoys challenging herself with those.  She does her math sheets independently and we do calendar most days (sometimes I just forget ..).  Whenever we do hands on math with manipulatives Max likes to join in.  He can do math on her level, but his writing skills aren’t there yet so we don’t focus on a math curriculum at all for him- just hands on fun! (like it should be).

We have started using the CD that came with our science (Apologia’s Astronomy 2nd Edition)- that way I don’t have to read, but I can listen along and pause it to go more in depth or explain something a little better.  The kids follow along in the book, and then Lexie does the science journal.

Handwriting and math are part of her “clip board work,” that she does independently; I check over these after she has completed them to be sure she did her best, or understood everything.  She loves watching herself improve, and I enjoy the discipline she is learning in completing her work on her own.

ps-k-weekly-wrap-up3-end-of-november

Max (4 years old)

Mister is just reading like crazy.  He does not like to read formally, off a piece of paper yet. He likes me to write words on the board for him to read, and I am 100% okay with that!  He is only 4, after all.

He is working through Reading the Alphabet by ThisReadingMama.com- I used that with Lexie and she *loved* it, so he is enjoying it now.  Each week we go on to a new letter/site word.  His favorite activities are the mazes (he is constantly asking me to find mazes for him to do), and he enjoys syllable counting.  Max is also very interested in counting to 100 .. every. single. day.  Which is great so I go with it; he likes to get out his number chart for that (check our Rainbow Resources for those!).

PS, K Weekly Wrap Up {end of november}

Mister is still obsessed with puzzles and anything he can do with his hands.  We try to make sure he gets plenty of movement, hands on learning, and has lots of play time so he continues to grow a love for learning.

Ila (2 years old)

Ila is tagging along with us in everything we do.  Right now she enjoys puzzles, dolls, coloring, and practicing her letter sounds.  She doesn’t actually know the letters that correspond with the sound, but she likes to try and I like encouraging her.  She is going to follow Lexie in her eagerness to learn and read, I think.

PS, K Weekly Wrap Up {end of november}

Our Routine For Now {baby #4 is 4 months old}

  • 7am baby up, nurse
  • 7:15-7:20ish I get Max up for mama and baby time while I give baby a bottle
  • Mister gets “the sisters” up =)
  • I cook breakfast, baby hangs out in bumbo or bouncer, older 3 do morning chores/get ready for day
  • everyone eats breakfast and we do our morning basket “stuff”
  • 8:25 baby down for nap
  • all 3 bigger kids go outside or downstairs to play until 9am
  • 9am we begin school
  • 10:30- it is time to get baby up and fed.  We are usually done with school by this point, Lexie may have some clipboard work to finish on her own for the rest of the week
  • 11:15 everyone has lunch
  • 12:00 baby takes nap, then I put Ila down for nap, bigs go outside to play
  • 12:45 Mister goes down for nap, Lexie has rest time reading books, mama writes blog posts, does chores, or rests
  • 2:00 time to get baby up for feeding- Lexie usually comes in to spend time with me and baby
  • 3:00 everyone up from naps, outside or downstairs to play or we run errands
  • 3:30 baby down for last nap, I prep dinner if not yet done
  • 5:00 Baby up, nurse
  • 5:30 everyone eats dinner, baby gets solids
  • bath, wind down, sometimes we watch a show like Mister Rogers, Bob the Builder, Boxcar Children, etc
  • 6:30 baby gets bottle and goes right to bed
  • 7:00 everyone in bed, unless Mister napped good then he and Lexie get to stay up a little later (but they’re always ready for bed-that’s what happens when you spend most of your day running around a farm!)
  • Mama and Daddy time- this is my favorite part about keeping a good routine while our kids are young~I get 1:1 time with my husband and we can unwind from our days together without little people needing us non stop.  It’s nice!

Not everything is set to a specific time, but naps and feedings are.  Everything else works around that, and just sort of falls into place; it is simple and flows well because I don’t have to force anything.

Coralie {4 months old}

Baby #4- wow.  She is already 4 months old (19 weeks) and SO happy.  The best thing I could have ever done for this baby is getting a good sleep schedule down- without it she would still be crying, fussy, unhappy, and unpredicatable.

Because of her eating and sleep routines I am able to pinpoint what she needs, she rarely cries (and if she does it is because something is wrong), and she sleeps very well as long as I hit her wake time right (too short results in a short nap, too long results in crying).

baby-4-summary-4-months

But the BEST part of her routine-she went from HATING going to sleep in her crib, to *loving* it.  Before about 15 weeks old, she cried every time I laid her down on the changing table to put on her sleep blanket (we use THIS ONE).  Now, the girl is happy, kicking, and ready to go to bed as soon as I zip her up!  We talks and babbles while I sing Jesus Loves Me, sucks/gnaws on her hand (teething), and when I lay her down she goes to sleep within 20 minutes.  Sometimes she fusses after talking for a bit, but never cries for me to get her.  IF she is crying-crying, I will go rub some oil on her gums or try to burp her and then lay her back down.  Then she usually drifts off to sleep.

She is still a very social girl, loves talking and playing.  She got a jumper from her grandparents for Christmas, which I had to let her play in early because A) babies outgrow things fast and it seemed silly to waste a whole month of having it but not using it and B) she is all about kicking these days.  She loves it.  This way she can see everyone and know what is going on, which is right up her alley.

She is eating every 3.5 hours, her wake time is anywhere from 85-95 minutes (lengthens as we go through the day), and she is experimenting with solids.  We have done soft boiled egg yolk, green beans, squash, carrots, and peaches.  She devoured all of them, and stares at us while we eat.  I think she is ready for more in her day, but honestly I am not ready to have to tote around baby food, spoons, bibs, etc every time we leave the house.  I already have to pack formula and hot water, so Im good for now.  I am going to try to get by without daytime solids until 6+ months.  She is only having them at our dinner time (5:30) now.

That is pretty much it for our weekly wrap up and summary.  We are just trucking through everything, enjoying it as we go.

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Horizons Preschool Homeschool Curriculum Set {a review}

For the past several weeks our family has been reviewing Alpha Omega Publication’s Horizons Preschool Set. I have been using it with my son who is almost three years old (just a few more weeks!).

The curriculum set is $125 and includes:

  • 2 student books- colorful, consumable worksheets
  • 2 teacher manuals- includes 180 lesson plans
  • music cd
  • resource packet: memory verse, ABC puzzle, & all flashcards

About Horizon’s Preschool Set

This is a Christian based program curriculum; there are 180 lessons included within 2 student books, 2 teacher guides that align with the student books, a fun music cd, and a resource packet that includes all your extras (flashcards, and black line masters for making copies).  It all arrived in a nice, colorful box that makes it so easy to keep everything together.

Horizons Preschool Set {a review}

There are 5 days of lessons per week (which is very easy to tweak if you prefer fewer days).

Each of the lessons begins with a scripture and Bible story lesson (which my son seemed to completely absorb), and then flows seamlessly into other subject lessons like social studies, phonics, math, PE, science and more!  You can see the Scope and Sequence here, (also included in the teacher’s manual,) which will tell you everything that is covered in this level.  That is what I used to decide which level Max needed to start with.

The student workbook is beautiful and clean; the pages are colorful with nice images, but are not so busy they are distracting or confusing for young learners.  The teacher’s manual has all the instructions for lessons and your coordinating pages to the student’s workbook pages.  It is easy to follow and literally walks you through everything you need to do/say for your student’s lessons (of course you can go off script, like we did for some lessons).

The music CD contains 17 children’s songs, as well as the instrumental singalong versions.  (thankfully) the lyrics are included which makes leading the songs much easier if you’re like me and don’t know them!  The kids also enjoyed listening to the CD in their room during independent play.

What We Thought About Horizon’s Preschool Set

We simply loved this!  I used the program with my (almost) 3 year old 3, sometimes 4 days a week.  It is written in a school or homeschool setting format.  If you are homeschooling, either you already know how to or soon will learn, to modify what you need for your family/students.  It is very easy to change what is written in the Preschool Set to fit your young child/ren learning at home!  New material is introduced on days 1, 3, and 5, using days 2 and 4 for review, so you can easily adjust for how many days a week your family does preschool.

I really liked that the set included SO much, because that meant I could go in-depth with what I felt really needed to be covered, skim over anything he just needed to review, OR review things that Max either really enjoyed, or didn’t quite grasp the first time.  I liked that they included all the resources I needed in the resource packet, which keeps me from needing to buy a bunch of accessories for teaching my children.  They are loose leaf, so you can either store them in the set box, or organize in folders like I did.

Preschool learning should be fun, SIMPLE, but meaningful, and that is exactly what I think Horizon’s has brought to the table.

I like that I didn’t need to try to find anything to add to this!  Like many homeschoolers I would rather have too much (meaning I don’t need it all) than not enough.

Because he enjoyed having his own preschool “work” like big sister, Mister really focused during the lessons and had fun with them.  He learned to use his fingers to count using 1:1 correspondence (which he is really obsessed with right now), and listened to the stories that were especially for him. =)  Max enjoyed the hands on activities so much, and this really showed me how much of a hands on learner he is (vs older sister who doesn’t need hands-on activities but also enjoys them).  

We have loved this program and will continue using it!

Horizons Preschool {a review}

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Tot Time {sorting by color} December 2014

The month of December we were going to take a short break from learning time, however- both kids are still begging to do it each day!  So I decided to use this month as a trial for including Max in our structured learning time.  Up to this point he has just been too destructive and too much of a distraction for Lexie.

Tot Time {sorting by color- Quiet In The Chaos}

Two Year Old Development

However, about 10-12 days ago, Max woke up a different child!  (Mister is 27 months old) He is suddenly (a bit more) obedient, more independent, talking in complete sentences, eating so neatly, dressing himself, and his melt downs have become non-existent. (YAY!)  During the time that Lexie is working on her school work, Max has been coloring, identifying letters, and sorting by color (his favorite) with us at the counter.  He loves being included, and this fits well with our ultimate goal of everyone learning together.

This is my FAVORITE stage!  He has started showing interest in a bit more structured learning (Lexie always showed interest so we have done it since she was tiny).  Of course everything is through play and we/they play all day because that is the most important way for them to learn.

One thing I will mention is that, as much as I wanted to, I have tried not to push him to do learning time with us; he just wasn’t ready.  And although it was hard for a few months during his really terrible two’s, OMG he has come out of that developmental leap ready to participate a bit!

Between Mister participating in learning time, and Ila stretching her wake time and feeding schedule, we have an ever evolving daily routine.  So for a quick run down, our new routine looks something like this:

  • 7am- daddy gets them up, eat breakfast, while mommy feeds Ila
  • 7:55/8am – Ila goes down for nap, mommy cleans kitchen from breakfast, does a few chores, everyone ready for the day, kids outside if weather permits
  • 8:45am- Sonlight readings for the day, Bible verse of the week, and discussion of any books we read.  Sometimes we watch a video about what we have read (for instance this week we watched a few youtube videos on octopi, coral reefs, and sunken ships on the ipad.  this is a treat, not a regular thing)
  • 9:30/9:45- learning time- this includes Lexie’s All About reading, practicing sight word ring, shapes ring, HWOT work, any copy work, and math practice.  We don’t do all these things every day.  Some days we just doodle, color, and talk!
  • 10:30- Max and Lexie to independent play/mommy feeds Ila
  • 11:30- Ila down, big two eat lunch, outside if weather permits
  • 12:15 Max down for nap
  • 12:30 Lexie down for nap
  • 1:30/2 Ila up to eat
  • 2:30/3pm Ila down for nap
  • 3:00-3:300 L and M up from nap, outside again if weather permits, if not we play and read
  • somewhere in here I prep dinner if I haven’t already
  • 4:30/5- Ila up and eats
  • 5:30/6- eat dinner; Ila back down for last nap of day (we are working on stretching to a 4 hour schedule, when we get there she will drop this nap and do a bit earlier bedtime.  Until then she usually needs to be held during this cat nap.  We don’t have the swing up or I would use it instead)
  • 6:40- L and M to bed
  • 7pm- Ila’s last feeding of the day, in bed by 7:40

And that is it for now.  Hopefully in the next 4-6 weeks Ila will have her 3.5hr feedings stretched to every 4 hours.  AAAAAH the 4 hour feeding schedule- YAY.  That is when things really get easier.  But for now, this is working out well for everyone.  I have a little bit of time right now while all the kids are down for nap that I can rest, blog, or sew.  =)

But, back to learning time- sometimes after we do our Sonlight readings for the day, we just sit at the table and talk while we all doodle and color.  During this time Lexie spells words, practices writing and drawing, Max identifies letters, shapes, and numbers that I write on his paper.  We also count, Max may go get a puzzle to work on, etc.  So we are learning but it is much less formal and just as important as the formal stuff we do.  This is a precious time, and I am so fired up about teaching them!

I am so excited about this time together!  It is so much fun watching Max grow and develop from a baby into a big boy toddler; and Lexie is just becoming a sweet, precious little lady, while Ila is becoming more alert every day.  We have so much fun.

**One more thing I want to add- I never thought Max’s terrible two’s would end.  It was truly hard, stressful, and I was learning to breathe my way through the day.  But IT DOES END.  And on the other side there is a happy, independent, clumsy, and sweet phase- that’s where we are.  Lexie never had terrible two’s (or at least they weren’t very hard if she did) so it was all new to me.  If you’re a new mama in the throws of tantrums and all that is the two’s, just continue to be consistent and steadfast because it does end; and when it does, all the time, effort, and discipline you have put in during the hard time pays off!

And it is so much fun!  So let the tot-time blog posts begin.

Weekly Wrap Up: Fall is here 2014 {w/o October 5}

The past few weeks we have slowly been adding our learning time back into our routine.  Honestly, I could continue our break from it, but Lexie and Max both request it.  So back to it we go!

AAR manuals

We try to start our Mondays off strong, getting in as much reading and foundational lessons as possible.  This week we did good in that area; Lexie read her AAR readers like a pro, and flew through her sight words.  Since The Miss {baby Ila} was born, the hubby has been taking Lexie to gymnastics on Tuesdays.  When Ila is a few weeks older, we will spend Tuesday mornings at the children’s museum with some friends, then head from there to the gym.  Until then, J.Tom taking her works perfectly.  It allows Max and I to have some time together during Ila’s naps, too.

Wednesday is our day “off” from learning for now; I got caught up on laundry, pulled out more of Lexie’s baby clothes for Ila (if there is anything Ila will NEVER need, it is clothes!), vacuumed, and the kids did some art.  This is going to be our mid-week cleaning day.  Sometimes I can get a TON done on Wednesday, other times not so much.

Thursday we did more Sonlight reading and took a walk outside.  I wish I could say we were walking more, but honestly I haven’t found the time to get out much yet.  Between nursing Ila, then pumping for Ila, reading to the kids, and making daytime lunch/snacks there isn’t a lot of down time for me until the kids are down.  Then I get a breather, but obviously can’t go for walks!  (thankfully we have a treadmill now, so soon I will start walking/running on it.)

weekly wrap up October 2014 do a dot paints

We love Do-A-Dot paints!

This week Lexie decided to write her cousin a letter, we made snuggly pallets on the floor, kept the windows open, and I began work on the kids’ some more fall/winter clothes.  I am making Lexie a dress and a ruffle pants outfit, and for Max a few pairs of pajama pants with matching shirts.  I plan to make Ila a skirt or two to match Lexie’s clothes.

The past few weeks we have been so blessed by precious friends that have brought dinner, which has made it much easier on J.Tom and me those nights.  Then our church family (where we have been visiting for about a month before Ila was born) brought us a beautiful gift basket/storage bag with diapers, Burt’s Bees Baby products, and an outfit.  I am getting anxious to get back to church and running around town, but honestly with all the illnesses everywhere, I know we need to wait until Ila has more of an immune system- this is cold and flu season, on top of the enterovirus and possible Ebola fears going around.

Here is to a beautiful fall!

weekly wrap up October 2014 pallets

reading and snuggling on pallets

A Peek into Our PreK Day with Pictures {Crew Carnival}


Our Homeschool Day in Pictures {Quiet in the Chaos}
This week we are linking up with the Review Crew’s “Our Homeschool Day in Pictures.”  Click on the image above to read other Crew members’ posts!

This week Lexie’s reading EXPLODED!  She has been reading her AAR readers like crazy; we love this program.  I am so proud of her, but mostly I am just thankful her confidence has gone through the roof.  She will try read just about any word I point to.  We are working on using her finger to point to the words (she doesn’t like to do this, but reads much better when she does) and not using the pictures to guess what the sentence says.  As you can see, we used an envelope to cover the pictures so she will read the words first, then look at the pics.

Weekly Wrap Up: AAR

 

And now we do a whole lot of this ….

baby collage homeschool day

 

We have snacks outside, twice a day.  (I think this is their favorite thing to do …)

A peek into our preschool day

 

The Mister enjoys playing “connect four” and reading books.

A Peek into our Preschool

 

We have also been gardening (LOTS of tomatoes coming off our plants), and just adjusting to having a baby in the house.  Overall, everything is going smoothly and everyone is adjusting well!  =)

Preschooler {3 yrs old} and Toddler {23 mo old} Summaries

(Written Thursday, August 28, 2014)

17 days until baby wright #3 should be here (September 14th) … of course it could be more or less than that, only the baby and God know the plan.  I talked with my very sweet friend that is going to have Bug and Mister while I labor, and it feels good to know my babies will not only be safe and taken care of, but that someone else is praying about this for me.  God knows our circumstances, and theirs and we know He will send baby on when the time is right.

I woke up this morning, about 2:30am, to more storms.  We have had a TON of rain here the last 10 days, so much the trail and parks we enjoy most are flooded terribly.  (Good thing we decided not to have the birthday party at those parks, just in case in rained).  I couldn’t go back to sleep so I hopped in the shower and am drinking my first cup of coffee since July 2nd.  I quit coffee, mainly because I like it with cream and I am doing no dairy for baby, so this is really nice even if it is with rice milk.

I can’t believe that next week  my babies will be four and two years old!  I will begin with Lexie’s summary.

birthday dress

Proud of her birthday dress

To say Lexie is vibrant, happy, and full of silliness is an understatement.  She loves to play in her dressy dresses, go “camping” with Max, and read books (all. day. long).  She is currently reading the Bob Books: Advanced Beginners books.  You can read a bit more about that Here.

She enjoys our learning time together, helping me bake, and playing downstairs.  Of course outside is usually her very first choice of play time, especially if it involves water.  Developmentally, her language is amazing.  Her fine motor (writing) skills are improving, and her confidence has grown by leaps and bounds.

If there is anything I can say about being a parent for the first time, it is that you can definitely go with your gut.  Lexie has always been very social, but despite being in daycare and Mother’s Day Out when we lived in Arkansas, she was/is still very introverted in a group.  Whether it is at daycare, library story time, or gymnastics, if it wasn’t her close friends and family, she wanted to sit by the grown up in charge and watch (she is my people watcher!) or play mostly by herself.  Today, she starts out that way in a new setting, but quickly warms up!  And just a few weeks ago at the neighborhood block party she jumped right into the festivities without needing us to encourage her at all!  My point is- we have never rushed her.  We did not push her to stay the night with family before we felt she was ready, participate in things she didn’t feel comfortable with, and here she is learning within her OWN boundaries how to feel confident.  There are definitely rules to raising an introverted child, and being an introvert myself I understand her insecurities and what makes them “flare.”

I love watching her grow and change, but am very sad my baby is almost four and not such a baby anymore.

Lexie and Max are sleeping in the same room now; it is going surprisingly well!  Hopefully it continues to go well after baby arrives …  Lexie wakes some nights needing to go potty, and sometimes that wakes Max up, but in the last few weeks he has gotten used to her being in the same room and he sleeps through it.

He naps in his crib from 12:15-2:30/3:00.  J.Tom comes home for lunch and Lexie spends that time with him; at about 12:45 she goes downstairs and has “rest time” on the bed down there.  She is allowed her books on the bed with her but must be quiet.  She does pretty good with it.

As for Max Payne, well he is a little “stinky pot,” as he calls himself.  He is TT potty trained; we are still working on poopy, which he usually does after he wakes up at nap time, but some days that isn’t the case.  I am not sure he has distinguished between having gas and needing to potty, or if he is just a bit afraid of using the potty?  Either way, he will get there and we have aaaall winter inside to get it down!  haha  In the mean time, we are down to using 2 diapers a day (nap and night time) and that makes this mama a happy camper!

He does and says everything big sister does.  Everything.  They are a mess together and I am thankful they are such good friends (for now..) and pray we can continue to foster that relationship as they grow.  He can identify many of his letters, but not all.  He just hasn’t been interested in learning them like Lexie was, and if there isn’t interest it just isn’t going to happen.  So I haven’t been pushing it.  He loves to count and read nursery rhymes.

Oddly, he isn’t a big fan of messy play or crafts.  He gets most interested in painting, but even that doesn’t hold his attention long.  He would rather be driving trucks and engines around on the floor and furniture.  =)  Or playing in water.  The boy still loves water, and being outside.  He and Lexie will spend what seems like hours downstairs playing pretend together.

At this point (well, for a while now), he is jumping with two feet, climbing everything he can get a foot on, and LOVES to bounce on the trampoline.  “Dog dog” is his buddy- poor Charlie girl puts up with a lot from Max!  He refuses to say Charlie, although we know he can.  She is just “dog dog” for now.  She doesn’t seem to mind.  =)

Best Buddies

loving on his “dog dog”

His personality has just blossomed in the last 6-8 months- he is funny, rowdy, and so sweet.  He and Lexie are both obsessed with their Daddy, and we are so thankful we have had this summer home with him.  It has been wonderful watching him do nap time with Lexie during his lunch hour every day, and eating dinner with him every night.

The Bears (that’s the boys, per Lexie) spend time together every night when Daddy gets home, just rough-housing and being “bears.”  Lexie gets a bit jealous; she is very much her daddy’s girl and wants to join them, but she loves to laugh at them and their silliness.  We try to encourage her to let daddy and Mister have bear time.  Both of them are super snuggly and I think they will do great with Baby #3!

 

 

 

 

trip to the county fair

petting the “baby cow” at the fair

enjoying the cool mornings

enjoying the cool mornings and teaching Max to swing

 

enjoying the cool mornings

Silly babies!

I really can’t believe we will be a family of 5 soon- Lexie and Max will both be such good big siblings.  *feeling blessed*

Beginning Sonlight P4/5 Part I: new schedule/routine

Monday, May 26th, we began our Sonlight P4/5 curriculum.  You can read more about my first impression when we received everything here and why we chose what we did, here.

I wasn’t sure if we would begin in the summer, or closer to the fall when baby #3 arrives.  I have been so excited to get started, and in desperate need of a new routine for Lexie’s learning time, that I decided to start now.  I am glad we did!

Had we waited until fall, we would probably be all the way through our current math (which is Singapore early bird) and would begin Saxon.  But, since we are starting early, we are just continuing on with Singapore.  I am not super impressed with their program, and don’t find it challenging for Lexie at all cognitively; but it does keep us in the routine of doing some math thinking skills so we will continue with it for a bit.

We also began our All About Reading Level 1– to say I LOOOOOVE this program is an understatement.  Love love love.  Honestly, everything she is doing now she has been able to do for months; almost a year, actually.  But it is giving her a great foundation and building her confidence in literacy SO much.  Lexie has been sounding out CVC words (like “cat” “cup” “pig” etc) at least since her third birthday, but when I would introduce a reader like Bob Books, she would always say, “I can’t read the words.  You do it.”  So, while we played around with decoding (and reading by sight words), I didn’t push her.  (besides, she has many years before she needs to be a fluent reader!)  I just follow her lead on what she is comfortable with at this point.

All About Reading has built her confidence so much, and in just the first week.  She has been reading any cvc word I put in front of her, loves the short activities that go along with the program, and looks forward to getting everything out of her workboxes each day!  (well, we don’t do learning time every day, but when we do do learning time …)

(In addition to AAR, we are still using our little curriculum from ThisReadingMama.  I will talk more about how we incorporate it in my following posts in this series.)

Like many children her age (under 4) her writing and fine motor skills are still developing.  Her cognitive development is way beyond her writing abilities, so we are practicing fine motor skills and handwriting (just how to form the letters and numbers, not making them perfect).  She does not like to color very much (bummer) and prefers to “write,” in her special books daddy brings home to her.  She is still enjoying Logic of English, but we are only using the handwriting portion (because we love AAR).

So here is what our schedule looks like now for days we have learning time (it’s a little detailed ..):

  • 7am- wake/brush teeth/milk and snuggles/breakfast/clean kitchen
  • (we do our memory work and Bible verse during breakfast)
  • 8am- kids clean up any toys they got out.  I get our Sonlight read alouds for the day and potty chair for Max, we all go to Lexie’s room and read while Max plays and practices pottying
  • 9am- Max to independent play, Lexie’s learning time, then independent play for a few minutes while I clean up, get laundry changed over, and do other chores
  • 10am- walk to park, play outside, pool time in backyard, play games, chores, run errands
  • 11:15- lunch, clean up, free play, baths if necessary
  • 12:00- nap for max.  depending on our morning Lexie will either have a little more independent play here, or she will go down for nap
  • 1:00- Lexie goes down for nap if she had a low key morning
  • 1-2:30/3:00- everyone is napping, including myself if I am super tired (and at this point I usually am)
  • 2:30/3:00- up and go to the pool, park, play outside, or run errands
  • That’s it until dinner, baths and bed!

So, you can see learning time doesn’t take up our whole day, or even a whole hour usually.  We are also doing some lapbooking (which is SO fun) , on days we lapbook or do puzzles or something during learning time it takes a little longer to complete.  But we have FUN and play a lot. On days we don’t do learning time, the kids play out back, either with me or together while I do chores.

I live by routine and schedule; my kids need the structure and so do I.  I don’t do chaos well, however we alway have fun!  We are always dancing, playing music, singing songs, etc.  But we just do it in a controlled-chaos kinda way!  😉

I like this routine, because Max can be involved with our read alouds; but during the time Lexie needs to focus and have my undivided attention Mr. Rambunctious is having his down time in his room.  I would LOVE for him to sit in on learning time, but at this point he is way too hands on wanting to be in the middle of everything she is doing; it just makes it harder for her (and me).  So we play and learn with Max later during the day through songs, puzzles, outside, and just good ole conversation!

When the baby comes along, his/her naps and feeding schedule will go right along with everything we already do.  I am not worried about that at all.  I am actually looking forward to it!  =)

coloring by SIght Words

(I did the red as an example for her, she did the rest)  activity from Reading The Alphabet

  •  My second Beginning Sonlight post will be about how I organize all our materials for everything.
  • My third Beginning Sonlight post will be more details about our Sonlight curriculum and how exactly we use it as well as along with our other programs.  Every Sonlight family uses it differently, but we are really enjoying it this way so far; of course if that changes, I will let you know.
  • And, look for my post on our workboxes!

Baby and Preschooler Summaries: 18 months and 3.5yrs

{I began this post in march, but just now finished proof reading and editing errors. So, It is a month late! =) }

On March 2, Mister will be 18 months- we FINALLY have molars! He has cut the top right, and just finished the bottom right. He is now getting the right eye tooth, and has started cutting the left molars. I have to be honest- I was starting to wonder if we should see a dentist such as Dentist Framingham to see what was going on. The boy hasn’t had a tooth in months! By 18 months, Lexie had ALL but her two year molars. She had a mouth FULL of teeth, poor Max doesn’t. Hopefully by summer he will be about done (of course then it will be time for his two year molars …).

His sleep is mostly good. He takes one nap; I put him down at 12:00 on the dot, and he stays in bed until 2:30-3:00 depending on how long he sleeps. During all the teething his naps have been hit or miss- some days they are only an 1.5 hours, other days they are over 2. I have been rubbing diluted thieves oil on his gums before naps and bed time, and he loves it. The thieves helps numbs his gums.

building a city with unit bocks

building a city with unit bocks

Language

I have looked back at Lexie’s 17-18 month summaries, and wow! That girl was talking like crazy (and has never slowed down …). Mister had lots of words, but isn’t using complete sentences. The most he says in the way of sentences at this point is “bye bye, dada!” Everything else consist of one or two words for things he wants.

He signs more and please, and uses words for most everything else. He is bad about wanting to grunt for things- but I really try to make him use his words instead of responding to his grunts.

Physical Development

His physical development is crazy good- especially his fine motor skills. For a boy, he has always had advanced fine motor skills. His gross motor skills are good too-climbing stairs, moving stools, climbing on furniture, kicking a ball. He and Lexie love to “play soccer” in the back yard or in the house. He recently learned to climb the ladder on the playground out back, and is very proud of himself. Lexie is in gymnastics, so naturally she is all the time doing rolls and cartwheels around the house. Mister tries SO hard to do forward rolls like big sister. It is pretty cute.

shape sorter during morning

shape sorter during morning “learning time”

He especially loves to tinker with things; you will often find him putting small toys inside cups, pretending to eat with a spoon, or stashing odd and ends inside a jar. Water is still his favorite activity, and calms him instantly. He will just let the water run through his fingers and is instantly soothed.

Personality

Personality wise- Max Payne is all boy. he never stops. Ever.

He is determined, and gets frustrated very easily. He is very vocal about what he does and does not like, over all is very sensitive, and snuggly. The only time he stops to relax is if he is getting tired. He loves to read books, but a few pages in has to get up and do something, then come back to finish. During playdates he does great- he snuggles me at first, and then is off to play and explore, even in new settings.

mommy and max time

mommy and max time

Lexie is most definitely his favorite person; he follows her around and does what she tells him to … most of the time. He is her little minion- she asks him to pick up her toys or hand her something and he just doesn’t so happily. Haha, that probably won’t last much longer.

Overall Max is a joy and my biggest challenge (other than losing the weight I put on while pregnant with him). He gets bored easily and wants to do everything big sister does, even when he isn’t quite capable. That frustrates him. But it won’t be long and he will be doing everything she does and more!

When we decided to get Lexie a violin for her third birthday, and start her in lessons there were some people that told us “good luck with that; a 3 year old in violin. ha.” I am proud my girl has proven them wrong! =) She graduated from her practice violin (which helps young children get used to handling the violin, the weight of it on their shoulder, etc) her teacher made to her real violin. She is learning to play little rhymes on each string/note and where to put her fingers. She knows all her positions and how to hold her violin properly, though she is getting used to the new shoulder rest.

Overall, Lexie is a snuggly, sweet, happy, girl who is very eager to learn. The more she can take in the better- there is no such thing as too much information or reading at this point. I struggle to keep up with her thirst for knowledge and that is where she challenges me- I am always on my toes trying to fill her need and love of learning. I can’t believe she will be 4 this year. Where has the time gone?

Graduating from practice violin to real violin

Graduating from practice violin to real violin

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