New (School) Year Resolutions 2014

It’s that time of year again, Back to School! A time to reflect on the previous year and renew focus on the upcoming year. We had a great deal of success with our resolutions from last year. I am happy to report that eating breakfast as a family has become routine, our clutter has remained low, screen-time is lower and outdoor time is higher! By focusing on a few manageable goals for the school year we were able to see results without a ton of effort. I have decided to make this an annual exercise for our family and am excited to share our resolutions for this school year.

New School Year Resolutions 2014-2015:

  1. Keep up our Schedule System: Our summer schedule system has been enormously successful with the kids. They absolutely love it! This year the kids will be picked up by the babysitter three days a week and by a parent two days a week. This type of tag-team pick up routine could become disastrous if we can’t keep it consistent between the three of us! The schedule will be that consistent thread that transcends day and adult. I made two additional cards to add to our line-up one for school and one for homework.
  2. Reducing MY Screen Time: My husband and I do not watch TV when the kids are awake, unless it is football season :). When we reduced the kids’ screen time I became aware of my phone use around them. I am committing to staying off my phone evenings before they go to bed and during most awake times on the weekend.
  3. Focusing on the Wonder and Joy of Learning: My oldest will be in the 1st grade this school year. I am very excited for her to join a new community and challenge herself academically. I am not so excited about her venturing into a more “serious” academic world and ever closer to state standardized tests. It is not that I don’t agree with serious academics or testing. (I have much more of a complicated relationship with them, more on that in a later post). It is more that I know too much. Working in education and diving into student data regularly switches my brain into analysis and intervention mode too quickly. I go from looking at a score sheet to asking, “how can we improve this score?” I DO NOT want to do that to my own children. I have to make a conscious effort to not analyze score sheets and report cards. I plan to just look at the materials to make sure that there is not cause for concern or alarm and then quickly shred them. Yep, shred them. That’s how little I trust myself. One of the main reasons we chose Montessori is that joy and curiosity is encouraged in the classroom. I do not want to kill that vibe at home. I want to be aware of the questions I might ask my oldest about school. Instead of, “Which work(s) did you do today?” I will try, “Teach me something fun/exciting/interesting that you learned or discovered today.” I know this will actually be a challenge for me. I look forward to learning better ways to encourage wonder and joy of learning.

I am excited to put these resolutions into action. Have a great school year everybody!  Leave a Comment: What are your New School Year Resolutions? 



Top 5 Posts of 2013!

As we wrap up the year (in shiny ribbon), I wanted to share my top 5 posts from the year 2013! This was my first full calendar year to blog and I am very proud of what this little space has become. If you like what I do here please share, comment, follow, and like! It keeps me motivated and accountable.

Top 5 of 2013:

1. Parenting: Becoming an Anti-Helicopter Parent. I can see why so many people liked this post, it was one that I was most passionate about as well. I am still trying to suppress my tendency to control and make sure my children are self assured and successful without mommy intervention!

2. Organization: Library Bookshelf. My husband gets almost total credit for this one, but I am happy to say that after several months and a move to a new house both shelves have held up spectacularly!

3. Montessori Ideas: Why My Kids Don’t Do Chores. I got you with the tricky title right?

4. Montessori Ideas: Glimpses of a Montessori Adolescent Environment. I love this one too! The beautiful classroom space and awesome students have really made this semester a joy. I am looking forward to next semester and how our little program will grow.

5. Magic Montessori Words and Ideas. If your child is in a Montessori school use these terms. They really are magic!

What was your favorite post from 2013? 

Joy and Peace to you from Whining Is Closed!

Joy and Peace to you from Whining Is Closed!

Posts that are coming up in the new year will included: Parenting: Adding Non-Verbals, Montessori Ideas: Preparing a New Environment in a New House, and the Case against “achievement”. What are you interested in me exploring in the new year? 


Organization: The Art Book

Remember our great art station? Well the kids are still madly in love with it and like many children they produce masterpieces hand over fist. I stated in the original post that we would periodically sort the art work and scan them.  Much to (even) my surprise I actually did this! I didn’t scan them though due to our current lack of scanner but I did take picture of them with our nice camera. I then went over to Blurb to create an easy but lovely book.

The finished product entitled, "The Art Book: Spring/Summer 2013"

The finished product entitled, “The Art Book: Spring/Summer 2013”

The kids named each chosen piece and we tried to make it very official sounding by adding the medium. Example: “Snail Goes to School” by Sadie, Crayon on Construction Paper (tee hee). My husband suggested that we add the dimensions next time like they do at museums. We plan on doing this yearly as it is quite the undertaking. It was lots of fun and when I was done taking pictures I was able to recycle all of the hard copies! Hooray for less clutter!

Sample of the interior pages.

Sample of the interior pages.

Organization: Library Book Shelf

I love books. My children love books. I love that my children love books. I don’t love that my children have a hard time keeping books neat on a traditional book shelf. So I went on a mission to find a better way to store our books. This has been on my mind for months and I have looked at many options. Ikea spice racks and bins have been very popular on sites like Pinterest, but I was inspired by the look of a library shelf.


ikea spice rack shelf

How do the children reach the books at the top?

These are cute, but didn't feel functional for our home.

These are cute, but didn’t feel functional for our home.













All of the library shelves I found were at least $150 and some as high as $275! That’s crazy talk, especially because I wanted one for each kid!

One of my inspirations. Find it here.

One of my inspirations. Find it here.


Thankfully I tapped Handy Husband, to build my dream. We found these instructions from Ana White and went for it! We tweaked her plans by not using such a steep angle and kept it stable by anchoring it to the wall with two drywall screws.

My daughter's completed shelf. We were able to use leftover paint we had in the garage which kept our cost down.

My daughter’s completed shelf. We were able to use leftover paint we had in the garage which kept our cost down.

Although it took almost two months worth of weekends to actually complete due to my husband’s shoulder injury and work schedule, it was worth it! We spent approximately $60 for the materials for 2 bookshelves including paint and primer! They look amazing and it gives the books the premier spot in the room.

My son's completed shelf. My husband brought the chair to the store to match the paint.

My son’s completed shelf. My husband brought the chair to the store to match the paint.


The books work almost like art. The kids can now easily put their books away and they always look nice. I am very happy and excited that this project worked out just as I had imagined.