Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Homeschool organizing (AND a review....)

When we made the decision to homeschool I looked around my house and thought "Now what?" I needed to tackle the problem of paperwork, books and school supplies. We don't have a spare room to use as a school room, so I knew we were going to make use of the dining room. At the end of the day I wanted my dining room back. How to accomplish this? Here are a few tricks I use...

1. Use of a tri-fold board

I bought one of those foam core project boards at the local big box store. A bit of fancy duct tape and ta-da: a fancy board to keep my daughter focused and on task.

2. Using blank wall space

We have two windows in our dining room, and my window treatment has always covered the "blank" space in between the two. As I was thinking about where I could hang a white board it hit me that I could use this space during the day by pulling back the curtains. Each evening we put them back down and the "school" space disappears behind the curtain! It's a perfect solution for unused space.

3. "Sneaky" organizing tips (using existing furniture)

I have several pieces of furniture in my dining room. A dresser that holds table linens and a few board games. A corner cupboard that acts as dish storage and a liquor cabinet and a hutch for more dishes. This hutch belonged to my grandmother. I have repainted it & made it fit our family! I cleared out a few drawers and the bottom of the hutch. We are using bins for school books and papers. They can easily be taken out for day-use and stored during meal times. It makes life simpler.

4. Peachey's Threads chair bag (product review)

My friend Jane makes these amazing bags! I knew it would be an answer to one of our problems. Here's the issue, as my daughter completes work it needed somewhere to keep it until I could grade it. The solution is this adorable bag! Work-in-progress is kept here until it's completed & graded. Then it moves into the file to keep for records/grade card. It's well-contructed and fits perfectly on our chair. It's so cute that we leave it on the chair all the time.

These are just a few of the creative ways I have fit our school stuff into our regular everyday things. Do you have any creative suggestions?

Don't forget to check out the Wellness Wednesday page for healthy, delicious recipes you can add to your family's menu this week!

As always, God Bless from my (im)perfect mess....

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Anxiety, Stress and Attention Problems

This year we made the hard choice of pulling our daughter out of school. She was doing well, learning & having fun. Why did we do this? We know she is capable of so much more. Paying attention in the classroom was hard for her. The students all work on various things, at various times and the "grass is always greener..." as the saying goes. We would end up spending  hours every night catching up on "classwork" which became homework. Many night ended in tears and frustration.

This decision has been many years in the making. We have changed our diet to reflect a more primal, natural way of eating. Eliminated gluten, totally cut out artificial dyes & reduced the overall amount of grains and sugars. It has helped so much! I have learned a lot about using herbal teas and tinctures to calm her if she is feeling stressed or anxious. I have also completed my aromatherapy certification and I have learned so much about using essential oils to help supplement the other natural things we do. I do not advocate the use of essential oils day in & day out...they are very potent and should be treated respectfully. I am currently enrolled in an herbalism class to learn even more! This is the course I am taking: The Herbal Academy of New England.

If you are struggling with attention issues or know someone who is my first advice is to change your diet! Secondly, work with someone who knows a lot about herbal preparations. Get a book, google it! I am just starting down my herbal path & I am loving everything I have learned! Third, restorative yoga (or yoga nidra) has been fantastic in our house. It's a very gentle yoga that requires very little physically, but relaxes your mind! It's amazing just before bed. Finally, use essential oils to supplement the other things you are doing. Here are a few of my go-to essential oil recipes for attention, anxiety & stress.

A Personal Inhaler:

If you're not familiar with these little gadgets, your missing out. It's portable, discreet & wonderful for on-the-go. You just add the oils to the cotton wicks, snap the whole thing together and...instant calm!! My recipe for "chilling out" is this:

Place wick in small glass dish, drop oils onto wick and then roll the wick through the rest to soak it all up. Find personal inhalers here {Personal Inhaler}

2 drops of rosewood
2 drops of lavender
4 drops of sandalwood

Diffuser Blend:

If you own an essential oil diffuser this is great! Especially useful in the evenings during a bedtime routine! My daughter uses this diffuser {Diffuser}

4 drops lavender
3 drops rosewood
3 drops vetiver

You can drop these into the diffuser every time or multiply out the amounts and create a "stock" bottle to drop from. If using a stock bottle of this blend, use 5 drops in your diffuser!

Relaxing Bath Blend: adapted from {The Essential Oils Handbook} by Jennie Harding

My daughter loves to take a relaxing bath. Here is the blend I use on days when she could use a little extra "calming down"

In a 4 oz glass dropper bottle {}

fill about 2/3 full with jojoba oil
Drop in the following essential oils
4 drops Orange Leaf (or petitgrain)
2 drops Neroli
2 drops Spearmint

Add 2 droppers full to bath under warm running water. Alternately you can add 2 droppers full to bath salts and mix well then dissolve into bath.

I hope that these ideas work well for you! I am not a medical professional, so please consult with your doctor before starting any new health care regimen! *see medical disclaimer "Who I am..."*

On that note Today is Wellness Wednesday! Check out the recipes & add one of your own if you would like to participate! Thanks...

God Bless from my (im)perfect mess....