DIY: School at Home

I’m a simple girl, so it makes sense that my efforts at homeschooling are more stick-in-the-sand than glitter-glam. After perusing Pinterest until my eyes oozed out of my head, I decided that attempting most of those wonderfully fancy projects would turn me into a crazy person. So, I vowed to spend as little money as possible and utilize the resources I already had.

This DIY morning board (as I have so aptly named it) is easy to put together and even easier to use. The easel was a Christmas gift two years ago, the 100-pack of paper plates were in the pantry, the paper calendar was hanging in our bathroom, and the ABC scripture flip-chart had been hanging around the house for a few months. I used three Command adhesive hooks leftover from party decorations, two binder rings leftover from my teaching days, and a lone clothespin from the laundry room. The bingo dotter came from the dollar store, and we use it to mark of the date each morning.

The easel serves as command central for our morning time routine. As soon as Asher is coherent enough to pitter-patter out of the bedroom, he asks to do the date. I point to each part of the calendar as I say, “Today is Monday, June 1st. The year is 2015.” He takes his bingo dotter and dots the current day. Then we count all of the days of the month, pointing to each number. Next, I ask him about the weather, then help him affix the clothespin to whatever picture matches whatever is going on outside. After the date and weather are taken care of, we move on to our ABC scriptures. We focus on memorizing one scripture a week, and we review the previous weeks’ scriptures as we go along. (This is very helpful for me, too!) Considering he’s only three years old, I don’t want to go really in-depth with our morning time. Some days he doesn’t want to count all of the days, so I’m not opposed to letting that slide on occasion.

The magnetic marker board is great for writing practice — we can also flip it over to use the chalkboard side. This past week we learned about mammals, so we dug through his animal magnet collection and put the mammals on the magnet board. Then every couple of days we would review their characteristics. (He loves telling people that all mammals toot…you’ve been warned!)

This simple, stress-free morning board helps us start our day, and serves as a launchpad for whatever else happens to be on the agenda. It puts him in the learning mindset, and he usually asks to practice Latin or do phonics after we finish our little routine. Other days, we sit together in the floor and work on rhyming and counting puzzles. I try to let him lead us based on whatever his little heart desires — this keeps our 3K homeschool time light and fun. I want to keep him excited about academics, as opposed to enforcing a monotonous morning routine.

DIY: Homemade Cough Syrup

Texas has finally decided that summer is over…it only took until November. We were in shorts and t-shirts until Halloween! Now that we’re threatened with “cold” weather, the sniffles and those pesky night coughs tend to come-a-callin’. Be ready to combat sleepless nights with this quick and easy homemade cough syrup.

If you have a stocked liquor cabinet, this just got easier. If you’re like me, this recipe will require a trip to the local liquor store. Hopefully you won’t have to drag a five-month-old and two-and-a-half-year-old with you. If you do take a toddler along, mentally prepare yourself for him to announce,  “Mommy needs her medicine!” as you roll through the aisles. Let’s just say I wasn’t mentally prepared for that experience.

There are endless recipes for homemade cough syrups on the internet; I went through a handful, picking and choosing, until I compiled this simple recipe. Granted, I could have driven less than half a mile to one of the two pharmacies near my neighborhood, but my goal is to stay away from the unnecessary ingredients, preservatives, and dyes that are inherent with commercial cough syrups.

No heating, no steeping, no cooking required. Just mix the ingredients together and store in a mason jar. Since the alcohol acts as a preservative, you can leave it in the pantry — possibly up to a year. From what I’ve read, storing it in the refrigerator buys you an extra six months of shelf-life.

Dosage: One tablespoon for adults. Whether or not you choose to give this to your older children is up to you. If you do, stick to one-fourth of a teaspoon. Yes, there is alcohol in this cough syrup…just like there is alcohol in commercial cough syrup. You wouldn’t take shots of Robitussin, so don’t take shots of this one.

DIY: FREE Home Management Binder!

Marvel at this thing of beauty. Take it in. Let your inner binder-making nerd revel in its glory.

Now go make your own!

After hearing several mommy-friends sing the praises of a certain popular life planner, I began researching a do-it-yourself version. I’m all for custom covers and cutesy calendars, but I knew my husband wouldn’t be as thrilled as I was about a $50+ planner. My sweet eight-week-old was kind enough to lead me into a bout of mastitis, which resulted in a weekend of bed-rest at my parents’ house. While I nursed ’round the clock and they entertained my toddler, I scavenged the interwebs for free printables to make my own planner. Some call these home management binders…I simply call it, My Precious.

Here are the links to my favorite free printables:

Prayer calendars:×11.pdf?inf_contact_key=f8053c3d92eff68e12feb9ef4115a5d8ddc3c78bd3ad29df594ad147c61ebcb5

Daily/Weekly/Calendar Stuff:

Activities for kids



LOTS of calendars & meal planners

Dates to remember

30 Day Challenge

Weekly schedule (love this one!)

LOTS of calendars & planners


Clean 15/Dirty Dozen —

Grocery list —

Please note: I did not create ANY of these wonderful printables, I just compiled the list.

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