Theme Day Ideas for at Home Learning



We are still getting in the grove of e-learning. This was to be the first year all the kids were in school. Well, that was cut short.

Our school district counts attendance and grades even though we are under a stay at home order. I’m learning to choose my battles, and the kids have been amazing through all of the upheavals.

One of the biggest surprises is how much they love themed days. They asked to have a pajama day at home. I agreed. We decided themed days were a perfect fit for at home school. But they have to be easy and not waste precious resources.

Here are a few ideas on our list.

Pajama Day
The easiest!

Superhero Day
Dress up as your favorite hero. It could be fictitious or a real-life hero.

Professional Day
Dress up or make badges of a profession that your child wants to be when they grow up.

Favorite Holiday
Wear Christmas sweaters or play holiday music as they study. Pick a holiday and go crazy.

Stuffed Animal Day
Bring a favorite stuffed animal to your study area. They can have a baby, as we call them, to cuddle with while reading and listening to lessons.

Crazy Hair Day
Dig out the leftover color hair spray from Halloween. Use every bow in the house. Use whatever you have.

Sports Day
Dress in a team jersey. Dress up as a gymnast. Cheerleader outfits count too. Bring out the sweatbands and wrist bands. Take plain t-shirts and let the kiddos design jerseys.

Hat Day
Let the kids pick a hat to wear. Train conductor hat, cap, shower cap, beach hat, fishing hat. You get the idea.

Cozy Day
Whatever makes your child feel cozy. It could be a cup of hot chocolate. My eldest always wants a pillow and blanket to cuddle up with while reading. Allow them to personalize their space. Their version of cozy may surprise you.

Book Day
Have the kids talk, act, and dress as their favorite book character. We've had trouble getting ebooks from the library and school library. We have eased our reading requirements a bit to allow audiobooks because of this. The kids still have to do daily reading, but they have days that are just for audiobooks.

Try Something New Day
Let your child choose something they've always wanted to try. It could be a new food. Maybe they want to try doing a cartwheel. They could try a new art media. If they come up with the idea, they will want to go through with it. Just make sure it’s safe.

Letter Day
Let your child write a letter or draw a picture to a family member, friend, person in a nursing home, first responder, hospital workers, garbage truck driver, or military personnel. The list could go on forever.

I’d love to hear your theme day ideas.

I know this time is difficult. If you haven’t heard it lately. You’re doing a good job. Give everyone in your house a little extra grace during this time. Give yourself a little extra grace as well.

We will get through this.

Amanda

Things I'm Loving

Affiliate links in post. 

Being 100% truthful here. I'm not the spender in the relationship. Most of the time I will go without in order to save a little coin. My husband, however believes if you are going to spend money then buy the best. We balance each other out. Things I'm loving right now include some freebies. It's a must. Let me know things you are loving right now too.

Jabra 75t Elite


For the longest time, I had earbuds with a cord connecting the two earbuds. Whenever I would workout, the cord would get caught on the back of my neck. It was awkward and uncomfortable.

This Christmas, I asked for a new set of wireless earbuds. My husband, who is a gadget guru, decided to get me the best. Whoa! He picked out a doozy. These earbuds are amazing. My favorite feature so far is the option to have hear-through on or off. If I need to hear the kids while I’m working out, I can. If I go for a walk on a breezy day the noise canceling is amazing. I don’t have to turn the volume up all the way to counter the ambient noise of trucks passing and wind swirling around my head.

If you are looking for new earbuds, these are worth the investment.

Podcast



Kevin and I decided to start listening to a podcast. We listen to it on our own. Later on, we discuss the podcast. We have been listening to the backlist of Dreaming Big with Bob Goff.

Grant it, Bob does repeat himself a lot during these podcasts, but some people need repetition. I get it. For the most part, it seems like these super successful people have the same insecurities we all possess. They just know how to work through them to reach their goals.

Throughout our marriage, we have reached several crossroads. Choosing one direction over another affected where we are today. We can sense another crossroad on the horizon, and we are taking action to make the decision a positive one for our family.

If you have a dream, listen to Dreaming Big.

YouTube

Recently we ditched cable and bought a Roku and a modem. I’ll have to give you my thoughts on that when we’ve had it a bit longer.

As a result, I’ve been on the lookout for new channels to follow.

Since I’m a huge book lover, I've been watching PeruseProject. Regan recommends, reviews, and vlogs about books. She mostly focuses on fantasy and sci-fi, but lately she has been branching out to historical fiction and nonfiction sprinkled with a touch of contemporary fiction. If you want book recommendations, check this channel out.

One channel new to me is Rachel Maksy. She explores vintage style, cosplay, and different makeup and hairstyles. I’m not a cosplay kinda gal, but I thoroughly enjoy the vintage themed videos.

As far as art channels, I watch the same ones listed before but have added a few that I love. Frannerd and Leigh Ellexson are down to earth. You feel like the artist's journey is ever-changing but attainable while watching their channels.

Snacks


I always feel guilty about eating. My metabolism is comparable to giant tortoises. As a result, I like to find snacks that are good for me or at least not going to make regret what I just put in my mouth. Pop Corners white cheddar chips are the best. They aren’t fried which is fantastic, and they taste great. Bonus!

Art Supplies


Windsor and Newton have a travel size watercolor set that's the cutest thing. I've been doing mixed media recently, and this set is perfect for what I need. It blends beautifully. If I ever get up the nerve to paint outside of my house, it’s the perfect on the go size.

I also bought a Master's Touch black paper sketchbook. I’m in love. I might fill this notebook in record time. It’s not great for watercolor painting or colored pencils. But what it lacks in that department it makes up for with gel pens and certain colors of gauche. Whoa!

Have you found anything recently that has changed your life or you can’t live without? Let me know.

Have a great week,

Amanda

To Be Read List

Welcome to a new year! Last year I read 21 books out of my 17 book goal. If you’re on Goodreads, I’d love to connect.


I have stepped up my reading goal for 2020 to 20 books. My first TBR of the year consists of four books. One I received as a Christmas gift, another with a Christmas gift card, one I already own, and the last is a book from my sister. Let me know if any of these books are on your TBR for 2020.

The House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig



If you like fantasy stories that include ghosts and fairy tales you will enjoy The House of Salt and Sorrows. This book is a twist on a fairy tale combined with a murder mystery. Twelve sisters have become eight. The setting is a fictitious island with a large estate on top of massive cliffs overlooking the ocean. Four older sisters have died in various ways. However, something doesn’t seem right about the fourth sister’s death. The sixth sister Annaliegh thinks she may have been murdered. Everyone dismisses her claim, but she doesn’t stop looking into the death of her sister. If you are a fan of murder mysteries and fantasy let me know if you enjoyed this book.

The 7 1/2 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton



As you may have noticed, I’m a big fan of Agatha Christie. Especially, her Hercules Poirot novels. This book is recommended to readers who love Agatha Christie. A woman was murdered but there’s another problem. The person required to solve this murder has to live through different people to gather clues about the crime. Each day he is in a different body and must learn new facts during the investigation. I started this book earlier in 2019 and put it down. It's a book that will require my undivided attention. Last year I read it while reading another book. Big mistake. Hopefully, I will enjoy this book as much as the other murder mysteries I read through so quickly.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows




Reading wartime historical fiction can be emotionally draining. That’s why I space historical fiction out between fantasy and murder mysteries. My sister recommended this book to me while we were at their house for Christmas. She’s letting me borrow it. It’s set in post World War II in London, and it’s written in a series of letters. This should be a quick read and hopefully one that I will love.

Winter Wood by Shea Ernshaw




Winter Wood is a fairy tale set in a majestic forest. A girl by the name of Nora has been accused of being a witch, but her family has always had a special connection with the forest. After a severe winter storm, a boy was lost but miraculously found alive. Nora has to discover how and why he survived. But the boy does not want his secrets revealed. I can’t wait to start reading this book.

What are your next to be read books? Let me know so I can add more to my list as well.

Happy Reading, 

Amanda

Favorite Books of 2019

This post has affiliated links.

This year was a reading success. Mostly because my husband started reading fiction. I never thought this day would come. We discuss what we are reading, and it’s refreshing to share something outside of work and the kids. Kevin loves the Jack Reacher series. 

Funny story. We were at Barnes and Noble and the guy helping us with our purchase stated that he liked my choice but wasn’t thrilled with Kevin’s reading choice. I wanted to tell him to shut his mouth. I just got my husband to start reading fiction! Don’t you dare judge his choice. Thankfully, Kevin is not easily deterred when he's made up his mind.

Another success this year was seeing my eldest child’s love of reading explode. They have a reading competition at school. The children that reach 700 reading counts points get a limo ride to pick out a free book from Barnes and Noble. He has over 250 points so far. I love that he sets goals and goes after them wholeheartedly.

On to my favorite books of 2019.


A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston

It had been a while since I picked up a fantasy, but I was in the mood for something different. This book intrigued me so I bought it on the spot. It’s different from anything I’ve read. The characters pull at your heart, and you want them to succeed. Stuck in between some of the chapters are a few scenes told by another character. It threw me off the first time. However, you get in the rhythm, and it fits in the story nicely. Give this one a read if you're looking for a fantasy with touches of magic, sisterly love, and love story in the making.



Crooked House by Agatha Christie

If you know me, then you know I love Agatha Christie. She was a master murder mystery storyteller, and this one didn’t disappoint. In the story, a murder has happened at a stately home. The detective is invited to investigate at the request of the granddaughter. Everyone is a suspect. Even the lovely young woman the detective is in love with. It’s a classic who done it that will keep you guessing.


A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock

What is it about the Art Deco period that dazzles? This book was not in my normal reading genre, but the blurb caught my eye. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to put it down. The story is set in New York during the age of the Art Deco period. A socialite's reputation is guarded more than her money. An artist is commissioned to paint a mural in the building. He instantly falls for the main character. The problem is she must decide if she is happy as a socialite or if she wants something daring and with less security.




Hello year of stepping out of my normal genres. I’ve read two of Jenny Colgon's novels and loved them. I’m picky when it comes to contemporary love stories, but this one was perfect. The idea of a story set in a mobile bookshop was perfect for my reading slump. Books, romance, travel,  and new experiences are all wrapped up in this novel.


Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Whoa! This book is the definition of opposites attract. A witch and a chasseur are thrown together by unfortunate events. They must marry but hate what the other represents. They must find a way to make the best of their circumstances. I didn’t want to put this book down either. The magic is described beautifully. The struggle to find your true self and let others love you as you are brings a true human element to this book. If you love fantasy with a twisted love story, pick this one up.

Let me know what your favorite books of 2019 were.

Happy reading,

Amanda

Things I'm Loving Right Now

Did you find products that you love this month? I'm loving these finds. Some have changed my life. That might be a little dramatic, but it's true. Check out my faves for this month, and there are some affiliate links below. 



Essie: Yes I Canyon nail polish
This is the perfect fall color. It looks like pumpkin pie on your nails.


Cusibox 4 Slice Toaster
OK. I know this is a weird one but stick with me. For the last 18 years we have had the same toaster. It worked great, but there was one problem. All three kiddos need breakfast at the same time every morning. It was taking forever to toast everything. So, we bought this beauty. It’s been a life changer in the mornings. The blue is pretty cute too. How did we ever survive with only a two-slot toaster?



Cafe Music BGMC
The house is really quiet during the day while the kids are at school. I was looking for something to play as background noise. I can’t write or draw if there are lyrics. I don’t want to miss anything, so it distracts from my work. Cafe Music has been the solution. Bonus! The kids love to listen while doing their homework and to fall asleep to at night.



No.8 Round brush by Master’s Touch.
It’s a fantastic brush and it holds the water and paint well. This size was recommended by a YouTube illustrator that I watch. I didn’t buy the most expensive brand, but it works beautifully.


Burt’s bees tinted lip balm in Pink Blossom
Once you find a lip balm that moisturizes, you never want to try anything else. I found the one. The color lasts for a while, and it’s pretty. I had to try a couple different colors, but this one is my favorite!

Share your faves below. 

Amanda