We are really enjoying homeschool so far. We are still figuring out what works for us and what doesn’t, but the nice thing is we are allowed to adjust our days for what works best for our family.
Ella really enjoys insects a lot. She found a dead bumblebee and was asking lots of questions about them & inspecting it.
I scored this awesome poster that really adds to our Living Education Atmosphere.
Typically we just do school on the weekdays, but honestly education never ends & sometimes events are limited to the weekends. This Sunday, we went to the Ukrainian Festival & watched Ukrainian dancing, listened to Ukrainian music, planned on eating (pierogies sold out FAST & only meat options were left), & shopped for some items. I signed up to join the Ukrainian Women’s League of America.
We were supposed to see Shakespeare in the Park this Saturday, but we were rained out. We still had our picnic at the park, checked out the nature center (sad to learn it is still mostly shut down since covid with no plans to re-open at this time, and played on the outdoor playground.
Ella found a cicada which made her very happy. Cicadas are her favorite insect.
We went to the library for Family Storytime. It’s mostly geared toward the three younger kids, but the older kids still enjoy it too. They mostly go for the tech time after crafting & to pick out new books though. I enjoy picking up new cookbooks to try new recipes.
For math one day we made a “Hungry Adding Robot” that Mia picked from a math book we picked out at the library this week. We love our library trips. The kids had a lot of fun picking out projects for us to do over the course of this “term.” We also had a lot of fun making this.
I really love that we are able to do the activities together as a family, but the big girls still have their own individual work to do too.
For science one day we made Nature Journals to collect various nature the girls find. Each “journal” has 4 paper bags to fill with things they find interesting on our nature walks. We can use our Nature Anatomy books to identify new nature we haven’t seen before.
Today we took a field trip to Highfield Discovery Garden. The story in the garden today was Dragons Love Tacos & they got to pick Taco Topping Veggies from the garden. They got tomatoes, peppers, and radishes. They remembered that radishes were mentioned last week in The Tail of Peter Rabbit.
They played on the tree house playground & in the garden, spent time exploring in the nature center, picked a book each in the little library, and put on a puppet show. We also packed a picnic lunch to share in the garden Cafe. Moses really liked watching the trains go around the tree house tracks.
Overall we had a really good week. We completed all our group & individual work we had planned. Time to make dinner & get ready for Ella’s first volleyball game!
We made a BIG decision to take a giant leap of faith & begin homeschooling our children this upcoming year! I am feeling very excited for this new journey, as well at very nervous.
Each day as I am learning more, gathering my resources, and seeing my vision coming together, my confidence is building & the nervousness is quickly fading away.
Although I do not owe a single person an explaination; my biggest factoring decision was the way the world is going. Honestly, I don’t feel safe sending my children out into society anymore. I should not have to worry if they will make it home when they leave for school each morning. I should not have to worry what my children are being influenced of by others at their most vulnerable and moldable stages. I believe homeschooling with allow my children to maintain their innocence, something I was robbed of from a very early age, each year only getting worse.
It may sound counter-productive to some, but I hope to eliminate stress from our lives. Getting five kids of five different ages up early in the morning to get a few of them ready for school is a miserable process that starts our day with negativity, lots of tears; both mine & theirs, the daily struggle to get kids who aren’t ready to wake up yet out of bed, fighting & yelling at each other, fighting the time to make sure my kids bellies are full; the slower eaters crying because they weren’t finished yet, rushing out the door in chaos every morning…. not a healthy way to start our day.
When you begin your day in a state of chaos, every single day, you really begin to lack joy & forget how incredibly blessed you are. You live in a constant state of fight or flight, just trying to make it through an hour at a time. Weekday mornings have been a MAJOR stressor since we first began school.
Then repeat the process halfway through the day for school pick up, only to go backwards in time until bedtime. Rush in the door, fight about homework, fight about clean up, fight about routines, and why my kids can’t have phones like the other kids, rush the clock to get them in bed, only to start over in the morning. I can’t live that way anymore, & we shouldn’t have to. We weren’t meant to.
I also am excited to teach my children other subjects. I will teach Ukrainian language to my children. I will teach them home economics & handicrafts. I will teach them gardening & sustainability. I will teach them important life skills that the schools today do not offer our children. They will take piano lessons from their older brother, Kaden. We will learn character building.
We will practice slow living. We will learn at our own pace, together. We will enjoy the process. We will enjoy life & all it has to offer. I’ll share our journey in the process.
1. Charlotte Mason
This method, known as “the feast of homeschooling, focuses on shorter lessons and lots of outside time. It is nature/art based, but includes an endless amount of education & resources.
Charlotte lived & taught by 20 principles:
Children are born with personalities
Children have a will to be good or bad
Teach children to respect authority
Use daily tools to teach children
Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life
Provide a feast of knowledge for growth & stimulation
Narration is a key tool for learning
One narration reading is sufficient
Use the right way to guide moral and mind growth
Occupy a child’s time with positive conditions
Use reasoning skills only for mathematical truth
Moral principles will lead children to make the right decision
A child’s spiritual & mental life are intertwined.
To me, it is a better option than Unschooling. I enjoy the concept of Unschooling, but I cannot live in such a state. I thrive on structure, planners, visual charts, routines, complete organization….. I can’t live my day spontaneously. I would wander around aimlessly, accomplishing nothing. We still get the freedom & best parts of Unschooling, but in a more structured/guided way. It feels safer to me, especially as a new homeschooling mother.
I highly recommend these books if you are interested in learning more about the Charlotte Mason Method:
This method looks at the child as a whole person through child-led learning with real life tools in a safe setting.
I have already been using this method for all of my children for their entire lives. We do not allow many plastic toys in our home, we strive for wooden, educational, & gender neutral. We are learning to adjust that though as the kids grow and find their own interests. We also focus on having interactive toys for them: a child-size grocery store, kitchen, flower shoppe, doctor office, etc so they are able to role-play & learn life skills on their own through play.
In the homeschool world, I would be considered an “Eclectic,” because I am using 2 or more different teaching methods to focus on the individual needs of each of my children.
Since I have all different ages, it just makes sense to all work together but dive deeper in independent work at their appropriate ages. Charlotte Mason & Montessori make that work for ALL of my childrens ages.
At the end of the year, we meet with a certified teacher for our end of year review to present our curriculum for the year & all that we have learned in order to “pass” the year in place of standardized testing. I am SUPER proud of my curriculum!!
They are still allowed to participate in sports & extra curricular through the school which is a great way to socialize & stay in contact with their school friends. Mia is currently a cheerleader & Ella begins volleyball next week!
I am incredibly excited for this new journey for us & documenting it all here along the way.
I’m going to get really vulnerable here for a change. It’s scary & embarrassing, but it’s real life, and it’s why I made this blog in the first place.
Every once in awhile I notice the lessons that the universe gives me in order to make me a stronger person. It’s honestly really cool and eye-opening. Sometimes we all need to be broken down in some way in order to build us back up, but since beginning my spiritual journey I’ve seen time & time again that you will not be left broken if you have faith.
My husband works a full time career. I am a stay at home mom/homemaker. Our family of 7 receives snap benefits and I’m not going to lie; we rely pretty heavily on that for a big chunk of our monthly groceries. Especially since March 2020, we have been receiving a second payment (called an “emergency allotment”) which has really been extremely appreciated by our family.
It’s an impossible cycle they set in place to ensure reliance on the government. The ultimate goal is to be self-reliant and not need snap benefits, but as soon as you make enough to be comfortable for a split second, they cut you off from benefits and you’re immediately back to struggling. I’ve known people to quit their jobs just to not lose their food or medical benefits for their child.
Anyway, the day it has been scheduled (from 3/20-present) to hit our account arrives and I could not be more thrilled to place our Drive Up order at Kroger. Before I place the order, I habitually check the balance, only to see $7.74. I call to hear our next scheduled payment date: nearly a month away. I panicked.
I did some research online. I saw that only some states renewed the EA payments through the end of April, and Ohio wasn’t on the list. I panicked even more. I have 5 little mouths to feed, plus my husband & I, but their little bellies are our first priority. $7 wasn’t going to work. My first instinct was to find a food bank to stock up on as many groceries as I could to supplement that payment until at least payday, then figure out an entire new budget. I was embarrassed to share my current situation with anyone. I was scared if anyone knew I was struggling with food, I would lose my kids.
I headed to The Healing Place. It was very nice, everyone was super friendly. They offer free onsite childcare with background-checked volunteers while you are there so you can focus on the task(s) at hand, a free clothing/home needs store, a free grocery store with food items donated by local grocery stores such as Kroger & Costco, as well as free bicycles and/or bus tokens, free medical attention (well checks, addiction specialists, mental health services, eye health, etc.) by UC students, and so much more. It really is such a beautiful mission.
I came home feeling a mix of grateful, like a total failure, and very humbled. I hadn’t been in a place like that for myself in a long time. It’s a very humbling experience and definitely knocked my ass down a few notches, but my pride & snobbish attitude obviously needed to be put in check and I needed to be reminded that EVERYONE needs help sometimes. Getting help does not mean that you are a failure or a bad mom, it means you are human.
The next day I went to Kroger to buy a head of lettuce. Before going in I checked the balance, out of habit, knowing that it was still going to say $7.74. But it didn’t. The payment had been deposited a few hours earlier.
It was a miracle. I was seriously shocked. A total wave of relief washed over me. As well as a sobering realization that at any moment our food supply can be cut off- the government has us right where they want us- relient on them.
I now see the importance of having a bulk food & water supply in case of emergencies that our family can survive on, instead of just a fully stocked pantry that I’ve been focusing on in my homemaking.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please do not be ashamed to ask for help. With the intense inflation, many people are struggling more than they care to admit. You aren’t alone. There is plenty of help out there available to families (and single people as well), and that is exactly what it is intended for- to help in your time of need. You are worthy of help.
I may never be the type of mom that knows how to get stains out of clothes, but I am the kind of mom that throws our stained items in a bin + throws a random “tie dye party” with the kids in the back yard every now & then.
Knowing what to use to get stains out doesn’t make you a better mother. You don’t have to be Pinterest perfect to be a good mom. Life is not one size fits all. Live outside the box & find the solution that works best for you. You are already enough ♡ & so am I.
Sasha & I made Syrniki this morning for breakfast! Syrniki are Ukrainian pancakes made from Farmers Cheese. I didn’t have time to pick up real Farmers Cheese, so I used cottage cheese as a substitute. Next time I make these, I’m going to stop in at Marina’s European Food Market and pick up some real Slavic Farmers Cheese.
In case you don’t know us personally, I am Ukrainian & my husband is from Russia. I was lucky enough to grow up learning some of the Ukrainian/Eastern European culture from my dad & his family (his sister, Mary, & her polish husband, Vince, both who are sadly no longer with us.) I loved going to their family parties! Learning the traditions, hearing the language… I loved their accents. I’d ask them to speak to me in Ukrainian, and in Ukrainian they would say, “why should I speak it if you can’t understand it?” I just thought that was the coolest thing ever. I learned a few words growing up, but never the language.
Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to marry an Eastern European man. I gave all of my children a Ukrainian (or Russian) middle name to honor our heritage: Kaden Yuri (after my dad) 💙, Ella Aleksandriya 💗, Mia Nataliya (after Niko’s birth mother) 💗, Sasha Katiya 💗, Athena Mariyah (after my dad’s sister & my mom, both Mary… *side note: it isn’t supposed to have an “h” at the end. I’m still mad at myself for agreeing to putting that) 💗, & Moses Kolya (after Niko) 💙.
Since the invasion, I have decided to go “full Ukrainian.” I’ve taught myself how to read & write their alphabet confidently. I can now speak Ukrainian at an elementary level. I am teaching my children as I learn so we can be fluent at home. My husband has tried teaching me Russian over the years (which is very similar to Ukrainian), and I’ve tried Rosetta Stone in the past so it wasn’t totally unfamiliar to me, but this time it just clicked- almost like it was unlocked from my DNA bank. I finally would be able to not only understand what they were saying to me, but respond too. I’m so proud of myself.
In addition to all of that, I am learning how to cook Ukrainian foods so that I will be able to pass recipes down to my children to continue embracing our culture for generations to come.
Today we made Syrniki & it turned out REALLY yummy so I decided to share it here.
Gather your ingredients.
2 16oz containers cottage cheese (farmers cheese if possible)
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
I have a large family & wanted to make sure that I had extra to send to my parents to try. If you have a small family; cut this in half, or make & use for breakfast prep/freezer breakfast meal for later.
Sasha hard at work mixing everything together in a big bowl.
Meanwhile, pour some oil of your choice on a skillet on the stove and let it heat up.
Wash your hands again. Leave them a little wet, but not dripping. Grab a smallish size amount of cheese mixture and form into a patty & place on stove. Wet hands again & repeat one by one. You’ll want to fry them until they are golden brown. DO NOT move them until you see the crust forming on the bottom & the top looks flat like pancake batter, no longer like cottage cheese (the cottage cheese will slop all over the pan if you flip too soon). Flipping is more difficult than with American pancakes.
Once both sides are golden brown, transfer to a place &…
I served these with peaches. I had planned on making cream to go with them as well, but got too overwhelmed with the flipping that I decided peaches were enough. Next time I will definitely make the cream ahead of time because it would be a very nice treat to go with them.
Now that I made them and know what to expect, I will feel more confident making them from here on out. I am excited to try them with various toppings, especially other fruits & jams. They are more savory than sweet, so the fruits bring a natural sweetness to them. They are really, really good though- the kids even said they were delicious!
It is SUCH a cute place! Its like a miniature version of a grown up salon and everyone who knows me, knows how I feel about miniature things 😍.
Seriously though, I couldn’t get over how cute this place is! As soon as you walk in they offer you a drink; water, cold brew, or local craft beer. I can almost never turn down a cold brew 😉.
There is a cute little gift shop with adorable hair accessories and little toys. There’s a hair product section of kid-safe products for sale as well. There’s also a play section with wooden toys in the waiting area to play with.
There is also a room for nails & glitter tattoos which is where the birthday parties are held. The receptionist was telling us about more future plans happening that will make this kids salon EVEN better! I can’t wait to see how that is even possible!
Mia got one braid in the front + purple glitter. Ella got two braids tied behind like a ninja which could not be a more perfect hair style for her + blue glitter.
Mia kept her long hair just trimming off the dead ends, but Ella brought hers closer to her shoulders so that it would be a lot easier for her to maintain without taking too much length. She has very thick hair that locks up really bad. Brushing her hair has always been a traumatic event for both of us, so I am really hopeful that this new style helps. It definitely looks adorable!
This really was such a fun experience and is going to be our haircut home from now on. We have officially become that family that will only go to one place for the rest of our kids lives. Seriously though, it’s that great of a place! We will definitely be back for Mia’s birthday in August for a pamper sesh!
We went with Grandma Colleen to lunch today at Panera (I had a pick 2: Mediterranian Veggie Sandwich + Strawberry Poppyseed Salad without chicken… SO yum! The girls both had mac & cheese + strawberry yogurt) then took Sasha + Athena to get their hairs cut for summer!
We wanted to break the girls up by the big & little so it wouldn’t be as overwhelming for anyone which was a really good idea.
They look so cute & behaved so well today. I was so proud of them!!
Happy Monday!! It started out a sort of overcast morning over here on this day so I’m catching up on housework. I have a sort of “unwritten rule” that dreary/overcast days are for housework and sunny days are for yardwork because I don’t want to miss any time with the sun.
We had a really great Sunday Family Day yesterday. The sun was shining, the kids were playing. We skipped church since the kids have some yucky cold symptoms going on and just hung out at home together.
My gardens have come along so much this week! There’s still tons to be done though! I’d like to get mulch down this week before the crazy amount of weeds return!
I filled my basket planter with these adorable trailing white flowers that will hang down under my Ukrainian flag. I’m really excited to see how far they grow!
I weeded & mulched this small garden bed this week. I used 2 bags and will still need to add at least one more bag here. This space was very low down compared to the grass around it and since it had probably never been mulched before I really want to get a good few layers on so the weeds don’t come back as heavy next year.
We brought our grill back out and bought a few needed grill tools for it.
Niko made hot dogs, vegetarian hot dogs, and the most delicious corn on the cob. I heated up the vegetarian baked beans & brought out watermelon, chips, and potato salad.
I planted this clematis in this planter. I’m so excited for the vines to take on a life of its own on this along the tower’s shapes. It’s going to be so beautiful especially when it has more purple flowers growing up it.
My ranunculus flowers are blooming and they are SO beautiful! One day I will have a much larger container filled with these beauties, but I’m SO happy with my start.
It has been so hot out lately & summer break is coming up so I decided it would be fun to get this inflatable pool for the kids to use this summer. It’s a lot of fun and the kids had a blast playing in it all day long.
Anyone have any tips on how to keep an inflatable pool clean all season? They always seem to get so gross after the first use.
I spoke with my neighbor last night and she gave me the compliment that my back yard is very pleasant to look at. That made me really happy. My hard work is making a difference for not only my own family but for my neighbors as well!!
It is my goal that while we are living in this home in Deer Park, someone nominates us for a Beautification Award. Her compliment made me really hopeful that could actually come true one day! I’ll just have to keep beautifying it for now.
As Teacher Appreciation Week comes to an end I just wanted to share with you our small DIY gifts the girls made for their teachers.
Ella made a clipboard for her teacher, Mr. Vample. Mia made a clipboard for her teacher Mrs. Mcgahan.
They also made a clipboard for our “bus mom,” Mrs. Mace, because she is just the sweetest and has helped our girls (and many other kiddos) get safely to & from the bus stop each day which we certainly appreciate.
We bought each clipboard at the Dollar Tree for $1.25 each, and the rest of the materials we had at home already.
Getting teacher gifts doesn’t have to be pricey. It doesn’t have to out-do any of the other parents. You don’t have to break your budget. It isn’t a competition to be the “favorite” student, or parent. Your kid can color on a rock, or put nature together to form a portrait of their teacher. They can color a card. Kids are so creative- the possibilities are endless if you let them take the lead.
Your child just showing their teacher they care and appreciate them enough to take the time out of their busy play to make them a small gift is ENOUGH. Gifts are meant to be from the heart & that’s exactly where a homemade gift comes from ❤.
In our family, we celebrate the Earth every day, but for national Earth Day (& month) we are going to make sure to celebrate a little extra!
We wore our flower headbands to be extra festive on Earth Day on April 22.
Not Our Trash, but it IS Our Earth
One of our very favorite outdoor family activities is plogging: picking up litter while jogging. Since my kids are pretty little, we mostly just walk briskly rather than jog, but it’s still exercise for our bodies and it’s still cleaning up our Earth.
We tied a trash bag to our stroller. The park is on the other side of the train, so all of the trash collected at this point was from our walk from our home to the park alone.
I want my children to know that it’s up to them to change the world. They cannot wait for someone else to do it for them. It is our duty to leave the Earth a better place than we found it.
By the end of our walk, we had filled our entire bag.
We ended up going back out the next morning with Niko + the older girls as well. We walked back to the park, a different way, and picked up more litter. When we got there, there was actually a Community Park Clean Up going on which was really cool! They were handing out free gloves and trash bags for people to volunteer to clean up the park. I was unaware that our park offered that, but I love it!
We made “Dirt cake” which we decided to rename “Dirt Dessert” instead since it wasn’t exactly a cake.
It was really yummy and everyone gobbled it up! This is definitely a dessert that I will be remaking with different themes throughout the year!
We talked about the Earth & why worms are good for it. In case you didn’t know, worms are decomposers!
Drive Less, Walk More
This month our weather has really started warming up, so we have began walking to the bus stop to pick up Ella & Mia and then walking home. We bring a trash bag with us each time we walk.
Mia drew a face on a piece of cardboard we cut from a box. Then we poked lots of holes where we wanted her hair to be.
We walked around the beautiful flower garden at Ault Park looking for flowers to use as our hair. We tried to use only flowers that had already fallen, or weeds that we thought they wouldn’t mind us picking for them.
Even though the playground distracted the kids & we didn’t end up filling all of our holes, I still think that it turned out really cute.
5 Easy Ways You Can Be More Eco Friendly!
1. Stop using plastic bags. Instead, opt for reusable insulated tote bags & mesh produce bags. It makes carrying groceries in from the car WAY easier too!
2. Use a refillable cleaning solution (like Thieves Household Cleaner). Thieves is non-toxic, plant-based, & can replace literally EVERY single cleaning product you currently own. (You can order Thieves HERE).
3. Shop at a second-hand store first before buying new. Chances are, a second-hand store will have what you are looking for at only a fraction of the price.
4. Utilize your local library. Libraries go WAY beyond just books. There are so many activities and classes that they offer, as well as information on local resources. It is a great place to bring children as well (just kindly remind them to use their inside voices.)
5. Use what you have before buying more. This goes for food, hygiene or household products, decor items, anything & everything. It helps cut down on waste & clutter as well.
🌍 I hope you had a good Earth Month. What did you do to celebrate the Earth this month?
I can’t believe tomorrow it will be May! Mothers Day is coming up as well as Moses FIRST BIRTHDAY!! How the heck has it already been a year?? Then after that it will be SUMMER BREAK ☀️! So many exciting things coming up! Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any of it!