Sunday, December 13, 2009


So basically I'm a dork, because I thought it would be funny to do Thriller at our Ward's Christmas Party Talent Show. Somehow I convinced my husband who NEVER dances in public to join in the fun. So fun?! What can I say, I enjoyed it...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Parenting Seminar in January

I can't believe I haven't blogged since November!! Between kiddos being sick, trying to recover from two days of Thanksgiving parting, and everyday life I haven't gotten around to blogging like I should. It also doesn't help that my nice 50m lens is in the shop...SHOOT!!! (Brea pulled it off the kitchen counter top a month ago.) So my pictures aren't quite as fun to post right now.

Okay good news...Nicholeen Peck is coming on January 16th to do an AMAZING parenting seminar. Its really going to be fantastic. So if you're in Arizona you ARE NOT going to want to miss it. I first heard Nicholeen speak in March and after listening to her 7 hour CD set like three times I am still learning loads of life changing parenting skills, which translates into a happy mom and a happy family!!

Find out more about the January 16th seminar on the event's blog:

I sure hope you can all join me for an incredible day of inspiration and learning!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009


I don't know about you, but I feel like I have so much to learn about parenting. Just when I think I've got it figured out I find myself slipping into bad habits, useless power struggles, or trying to enforce lame consequences. Over the past 10 years I've read my share of 'parenting' books, and to tell you the truth some of them weren't half bad, and a few were even pretty good. However, none of them can hold a candle to Nicholeen Peck. Last spring I heard Nicholeen Peck present a one hour lecture entitled, 'Teaching Self Government,' and I was BLOWN AWAY!!! She is stinking amazing. What she said seemed to go straight to my heart, and I knew that I needed to learn everything this inspiring lady had to offer. She is AMAZING!!! I purchased her 7 or 8 hour program and I've listened to it three times from start to finish and need to listen to it a few more times. What she teaches is simple stuff...common sense really, but its so different, unique, and powerful. Its principle based, and I can't help but think its the way a good healthy parent would want to approach their relationship with their children. Its all about relationships with Nicholeen and NEVER about quick tips or tricks. What she teaches she actually uses or has used in her life, and it just makes sense.

So I guess you could say that I can't say enough good things about this wonderful lady. I am SO EXCITED about the book she's just written that is coming out soon, and I just loved watching, last night, the BBC parenting program she was featured on. I'm trying to arrange to have her come to Arizona this spring to give her parenting lecture to us here. I hope we can make it work, and if I do you WILL NOT want to miss it!!!

Below I've posted links to the BBC show she was featured on...LOVE IT!!!

Here are the links:
Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

Part Five:

Part Six:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Martineau Quarterly Planning Meeting

Every quarter Scott has a business meeting in LA that I get to accompany him. His meeting is an all day event, which gives me time to think and reflect alone, on our first day there, which is such a blessing. Recently, we've started to try and stay over the day after his meeting. On day two Scott is able to use the morning to digest all he has learned, and we are able to use the afternoon to do a little family planning. Taking time each quarter to do some reflective thinking and family planning has been a HUGE blessing. We evaluate our progress over the last quarter, set goals for the upcoming quarter, make plans, and get creative with how we're going to make our family the best family ever. :)

We just got back from our Quarterly Planning meeting last week, and I just had to jot down a few thoughts about it. This quarter we created our Family's TOPs (top operating priorities). These are the TOP 5 things we want to accomplish as a family in the next quarter.

This Quarter's TOPs
1. Create a Balance Workload
2. More Peace on Prince Ave.
3. Get More Innovative
4. Be MORE Social
5. Create a House of Learning

Scott and I the created about 20 SMARTs (specific measurable achievable realistic time bound) or to say it simply goals for the quarter. SMARTs are basically the little to do's or daily items that have to be done to accomplish the bigger goal. Tonight we presented the plan to the kiddos in our Sunday family meeting, and it was FABULOUS!! Each SMARTs was assigned to different members of the family, and when we told the kids what they were responsible for doing they got so was BRILLIANT!!

I am really starting to love dividing the year into quarter sections. I have a year long plan, but sometimes its hard to plot the actual course I need to take to reach my year plan. For me, dividing it into quarter sections has really started to help me break it down, and start making real progress. Its exciting.

Right now I feel like I have a renewed energy and excitement about my role as a mother and a wife!! I love the power I feel right now...or maybe its rather a belief that I CAN get creative and innovative in my journey of creating my 'ideal' home and family!!! I'm going to keep holding onto that belief. Here's to another Martineau Family Quarter!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Annual Cousin Photo Shoot!!

My sister Darby is an AMAZING photographer...which is super handy when it comes time to take our family photos. Today my sister Allison was in town (which is a rare occurrence since she thinks she should live in Utah with her hubby...go figure. I keep hoping one of these days she'll get him to realized Arizona is where its at!!). Sorry for the rambling, the point of that was that all the grand kids were together at last, and so of course it was time to take yet another family photo shoot.

With 13 grand kids in all, things can get a bit CRAZY when we try to get them all to sit and smile at the exact same moment. I have to say, my super photographing sister did an awesome job. She even edited them, and handed them out to us before we left my mom's house...she is AMAZING!!

So, thanks to Darby's mad editing skills, I get to share my cute kiddos photos the same day they were taken. I don't think I'm being to prejudice, when I say my six little kiddos are pretty much the cutest kids on Earth!!! Here they are youngest to oldest...

[Rebecca::1 year old] Becca is just about the cutest little thing ever. She's walking everywhere, climbing on everything, and starting to say words like 'hi' and 'night night.' It was kind of rough having two little ones a year and 5 days apart from each other, but now that I'm out of the little baby stage I'm so glad that Brea and Becca are so close to each other. Its going to be loads of fun having two little Irish twins to finish up our family.

[Brea:: 2 years old] Brea is such a fun, spunky little 'girly' girl. I often find Brea in her room changing her clothes or in the shoe closet trying on everyone's shoes. She loves to look cute, and enjoys having her hair done. Brea always likes to have an accessory to give her look more of a flair, like a fun hand bag, necklace, or bracelet. She is a mother to all the 'little kids' and today we found her trying to change Jack's diaper (who is only a few months younger than her and probably a inch or so taller than she is). She is a total HOOT!!

[Hyrum:: 4 years old]
Hyrum is my little Ohio baby, with the cutest almond eyes you've ever seen. He has a super funny personality, a quick wit, and loves playing any type of sport. I'm impressed with his imagination, and his ability entertain himself for long periods of time. Hyrum is super happy, and great at listening to me when I ask him to do something. I just had to post two pictures of Hyrum one with big eyes and one with little eyes.

[Cooper:: 5 years old] Cooper is so kind and has such a gentle heart. He is always looking out for the younger kids and wants to make sure everyone feels loved and happy. As Cooper has a sensitive yet hilarious personality. He is always making our family crack up. I've been so impressed with how well Cooper remembers what is expected of him. WOW!!! He's been doing things like go to be the first time he's asked and clear his plate after a meal like clockwork lately. What a champ. Cooper is my cuddle bug and my Bob books series partner. Having Cooper officially join our 'homeschool' this year has been a treat!!

[Megan:: 7 years old] I don't know when it happened, but as I was looking at Megan's pictures tonight I felt like I was looking at this grown up little girl. Where did my baby Megan go?! Seriously...I'm not ready to have such a beautiful young women in my home, that I just know I'm going to have to keep the boys away from. What a knock out. Megan, is worm! She is always willing to learn anything and everything. She's also recently become Nancy Drew's #1 fan!! We use car time as 'reading aloud time' and Nancy Drew is our first choice right now for car reading. Megan is also a natural born cleaner, and has even been able to get her brothers to get involved more with the daily cleaning. She's also a fabulous baby helper!! I am so lucky to have such a pretty and wonderful girl in my home.

[Jarom:: 10 years old] Jarom is TEN!!! I can't believe I'm old enough to have a 10 year old. Jarom often gets the brunt of things since he's the oldest and quite a bit older than the rest of the crew. However, he bares the burden well and usually doesn't even complain that he seems to have twice as many responsibilities as the rest of the littler ones. Jarom is an amazing all around helper...with his household chores, animal chores, school work, and is always willing to do what ever I need him to help me with. Its hard to believe that in only two years he's going to be a priesthood holder. Okay...I'm kind of hyperventilating. What a blessing it is to have Jarom in our family.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Our family is seriously in love with IMAX and educational films. A month or so ago on a very hot Saturday afternoon our kids did a fantastic job doing their as a reward we surprised the kiddos and took them to see the Underwater Sea IMAX film. What a FABULOUS day we had as a family just enjoying eachother and hanging out. The best things in life are the simple things...don't you think?

Here is our glamorous family picture sporting our awesome 3D glasses. What a styling family!!
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Love to Learn...

This is our second year in Let's Play Music!! My three oldest have been having the most wonderful time being exposed to music...ITS FANTASTIC!!! My kids are constantly playing music on the computer. My five year old Cooper is especially in LOVE with the piano. He's taught himself quite a few songs, and has even figured out how to transpose them a bit. Here's a cute little video Scott took of him last night. I think this shows the power of focusing on LOVING the learning process versus focusing on forcing learning.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What a great day!!

So this morning I woke up late, and was a little upset with myself!! However, I reassured myself that 'I'd MAKE it a good day." I had decided on Sunday (when I was planning out the week) that Thursday was going to be a DEAR day (drop everything and read). I just LOVE those kind of days, and the cool weather was the perfect setting for a cozy sit on the couch and read kind of day.

Breakfast went great, and everyone helped clean up the kitchen...which was fantastic. Talk about make mom's day!! We then slowly made our way into the 'school room.' The kids were already all in there reading and drawing so I whipped out the Book of Mormon and had all 6 kiddos present, quiet, and happy during our morning devotional. FANTASTIC!! Who said a positive attitude couldn't turn it all around...even if I did wake up late things were looking up.

THEN I pulled out our book all about the Great Wall of China. I was excited to learn more about it, and I think the kids could feel that excitement. However, things started getting loud, and it was difficult for everyone to hear my voice. I could feel myself getting frustrated when I had a thought from our Charlotte Mason seminar about Nature Journals, which was basically a notebook of good art paper where kids could sketch, paint, and write about what they were doing each day. That was it!!

I put down my China book and told the kids we were going to the store to get colored pencils and notebooks of art paper. So off we went just like that (which is totally out of character for me to do...especially during our sacred morning school hour time). Within 40 minutes we were back home equipped to have a GREAT reading time. And I have to admit it was pretty great. The kids listened and drew while I read the rest of the book. I am sure we could have kept going for hours, but everyone got hungry for lunch so we stopped to eat. Then we had art class at 1pm and a doctors appointment for Meg at 3 so we were running around for the rest of the afternoon.

The kids have been drawing in their notebooks all day, and I had to tell them to stop so they could go to bed. I am so grateful for Notebooking!!! I even plan on starting one myself, and I want to take some watercolor classes so I can make mine pretty!!! LEARNING IS SO STINKING FUN!!!!

A New Day!!

So this morning I didn't wake up until 7, and my kids woke up at 7:10...AHHH. Not the way I'd planned my morning to go. Oh well...right?! Now they are all taking a shower, because they were freezing, and I''m trying to deliberate with myself as to how to turn this late start morning into an AMAZING day. It will be, I just know it.

Last night I was reading The Read Aloud Handbook which is AMAZING!! And I kept having little bits of inspiration hit me so I'm excited to implement some of those ideas today. Oh I can't wait.

So far our week's looked like this:

Monday: Music all day long!!! Piano and Recorders.
Tuesday: Again music all day long...loved it, but couldn't believe the kiddos could focus on one thing for so long.
Wednesday: History, history, history!! We've been learning about Egypt for a few weeks now, but yesterday we dove in a little deeper to the Pyramids and some of the Pharaohs. So interesting I learned a TON!! LOVED IT!!!
Thursday: The plan for today is to do a DEAR day...drop everything and read, read, read!! I'm going to read all my little kids (including my itty bitty ones). The plan for the little ones is to read 10 books to my little one throughout the day, and spend at least an hour or two reading aloud to my two biggies. We are reading The Bronze Bow for our day/mom book. Its getting really good, and its set in ancient times which is the history time period we're focusing on right now. Treats, toys, and reading...sounds like it could be a perfect day!!

Oh I can tell its going to be a wonderful day!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm finally ready...

The last couple of months, have been totally crazy. To say it simply, its been one of the most difficult learning and growing experiences of my life. WOW!!! I've learned that being a leader is hard, that being a mom is even harder, and that trying to do it all...well its pretty darn tough!!! I have to admit, though, now that I'm a few weeks out from the really really tough stuff, I am so grateful for the learning, stretching, and growing that's its forced me to do. I feel like I'm more patient, understanding, and I'd like to think a more loving person as a result.

So, as the dust has started to settle, and I've gotten back into more of a normal routine, I've kept feeling like its time to really push myself. I'm surprised at the growth I've had personally over these past few weeks, and although its been very painful at times, its exciting. I've found myself asking...what now? How can I continue to grow and progress at the pace I've recently experienced. I think I've known the answer all along, but I've been scared to commit to the notion that I need a mentor. Someone who will push me educationally, emotionally, mentally, etc. Why? Because I want to be a better mom, a better wife, a better person, a better educator, a better disciple of Christ, and I think getting the help of someone who sees more than I can see and knows more than I know can help me with this goal.

What will this mean? Possibly getting up earlier, studying more, thinking more, reading more, writing more, cooking more, learning more, laughing more, exercising more, enjoying life more, nurturing more, being more intentional, serving more, listening more...? I'm not exactly sure what it will mean for me, but I'm ready for it. I want to learn more so I can love more; so I can feel more; so I can nurture more; so I can serve more; so I can live a more intentional life knowing I have a purpose that I am trying to fulfill. Is it going to be hard? Probably, but I'm ready!!

I believe with all my heart that its never to late to become the person you were meant to be. I don't know exactly what that person will look like, but I'm bound and determined to find out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


So I am finally ready to finish this post about our new "Inspire Plan." I don't know why its taken me so long to wrap this up.

Okay I have to admit I'm kind of a control, pragmatic freak who likes to see results. Embracing this principle of INSPIRE NOT REQUIRE has been a tricky one for me to get. I mean really couldn't it be inspire while requiring?! I could probably wrap my brain around that one, but in my heart I know from personal experience that forcing someone to do something, even if they end up doing it just damages the relationship, doesn't make a lasting impact, and causes the enforcer and the enforcee a lot of stress and grief. So for the past three years I've been trying to figure out how to be inspiring enough to motivate my children to want to learn. Here's what I've learned so far...

[First Inspiring begins with ME!]
If I am setting the right kind of example and living the life I want them to live then things start heading in the right direction. If I am reading books, cleaning up happily, interested in learning, etc... then they will follow the same path and totally start doing what I'm doing. Its kind of like a little game of 'Do As I'm Doing.' This is totally easy to type up, but doing it has been a HUGE challenge for me. I enjoy watching TV and love computer time both of which totally distract from me from setting an INSPIRING example. I also could clean all day and never read, because I am obsessed with having a clean house. So I've had to take some extreme measures to help me over come my bad habits.

We removed the TV from our living area, are getting rid of the TV in our bedroom, and will only have one TV in the loft that will be used for FAMILY activities such as family movies or gaming. My computer time each day has been limited to either when the kids are asleep or during our recess time (its recess right now). And as for cleaning...well I've gotten the kids way more involved which has helped. I've also implemented morning cleaning time (before school starts for us at 8:30), a pre-lunch pick up, and a pre-dinner pick up. I really try to not clean (other than do the dishes after the meals) during the day which has helped me be 100% present for the kids during the day!! This has made a HUGE difference with my relationship with them, and what we're able to read and study during the day. LOVE IT!!

[Structure Time NOT Content PLUS my Inspiration System=Progress]
After three years of struggling with either pushing to hard to do academics or not pushing at all I think I'm starting to get on the right path of how to inspire my kids to WANT to do their school stuff. Its a work in progress, and fairly simple, but its amazing how well its already working.

I already knew what I'd like my kids to do each day, and I had all the materials/books/supplies purchased and on their shelves. Scott and I worked on creating a little check sheet with the different chores they were responsible for doing each day, and the different subjects I wanted to them to try and do each day. We also had a place for bonus items, perfect days, and extra chores on the bottom. Each item on our list was given a certain point value.

I then got a clip board for each child, put some cute ribbon around the top of it, and drilled a hook into my 'family hall way' (which is another concept I'm still developing). This is where the clip boards belong at the end of the day or when the kids aren't working on their chores or school stuff.

At the end of each week we total up the kids points and put them on a white board which is also in the 'family hallway.' The kids like seeing how many points they've earned, and talking about what reward they'll be able to purchase with their points.

The reward center is where the kids can see how many points they will need to purchase the various items. I just printed out little cards with pictures on them (for the little kids to enjoy) and a brief description of the activity or treat they can get and the value of the item. Its SUPER simple and didn't cost me a thing, since I had this metal thingy I purchased from IKEA a few years back. I love it when something I've been storing actually comes in handy!!

[Allowing freedom]
The kids still don't always do school work 100% during our 'school time.' However, they are doing it TONS more than they did before. The hours they are spending reading and learning of their own free will and choice is getting closer to the hours they are choosing to play with each other (NOT ELECTRONICS) I mean old fashion play. Like building forts, playing pretend, riding bikes, swinging, you know just hanging out and playing with each other!!

They don't always get through all the subjects each day, but that's really not the point. I think the point for me is to get them started on something, and then if they get distracted on Rocks (like we've been this week) and want to study all about geology for three hours then we go for that!! This way, though, if they don't feel interested in any one thing they have a system they can choose to follow that will expose them to lots of different topics, subjects, and ideas. A system that will help them learn, earn fun treats, hang out with mom and read, and lots of other things that makes me feel like our structured time is inspiring and full of lots of learning!!

Having a plan for what I think we should be learning, and a structure to inspire and motivate them to engage with me in the process, has made inspiring my kids to learn a reality instead of just a dream!!

Charlotte Mason Seminar

If you are homeschooling or just want to be a better mom or dad you might be interested in the Charlotte Mason seminar this Saturday. Check out the event's blog at Its going to be AMAZING!! Charlotte Mason talked a lot about living the educational life and incorporating learning into your every day life!! LOVE IT!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


This summer I realized that I wanted to focus my personal studies on anything and everything I thought would help me be Inspiration Mom (do you like my super hero title)! So I read lots of books, looked at tons of materials, researched varied philosophies (I am a total TJed'er, but I believe there are so many true principles in other homeschooling methods, that can enhance my understanding, skills, and tools needed to provide a TJed style education for myself and my kids), prayed a ton, pondered a lot, took lots of notes, googled resources, and eventually started to put together The Martineau Master Inspire plan for 2009-2010. Man it was draining, exciting, and stinking hard!!

[the Master Inspire Plan]
Like I said, eventually I started to feel prepared to put together my plan. As the plan sits now its still lacking a TON, but after two years of trying to create the perfect plan and not getting anything together really, (because I wanted it to be perfect), I figured what the heck an imperfect, incomplete plan is better than no plan at all. And so, it began.

I've loved the principle of Inspire NOT Require from the first time I heard it 4 or 5 years ago, but what does that really mean? I know that it is a true principle, but had no idea how to make it work in my family. I wanted rules I could follow to ensure I was inspiring, oh yes and where was the inspiring curriculum that would promise to inspire my kids to want to learn of their own free will. I mean I wanted results, and I'd prefer if those results equaled 3-5 voluntarily hours of studying a day from each of my children. I knew in my heart, that such a thing did not, and could not exist, but that didn't take away my hidden wish that it did. I knew I hadn't up to that point really been inspiring my kids very well to make their beds, so how was I going to get my kids to choose to read instead of watch TV.

When I started homeschooling my kids, using TJed principles, I was given some great advice, which helped me relax, take time to digest the information I was learning, and create a plan to implement it. I think this period of relaxation, digestion, contemplation, and formulating was crucial in allowing me to create my current Master Inspire Plan and Inspire System. Some of the great advice I was given that first year I was homeschooling is advice I still live by. The advice came from many sources and people, and ended up being the way I transitioned from being a 'happy public school/I'm done pushing myself educationally' mom into a 'super excited HIP TJed homechooling mama that wanted to have learning a part of my everyday life, and someone who believed that I really could change the world.' Wow it was stinking exciting, but boy oh boy, was I overwhelmed, and unsure of exactly what I should be doing. I felt insecure in my ability to figure this awesome thing called Leadership Education out, because there was no 'right' way to do TJed.. I am extremely thankful for the few guidelines I made for myself in response to the advice I got. Here's what I came up with: 1.) read aloud like crazy to the kids, 2) start reading like crazy myself and share my excitement for what I was learning with my kids, 3) turn the TV and electronic gaming devices off, 4) make time to think, ponder, and digest what I was learning and experiences, 5) put God first, 6) make family devotional a number one priority, 7) heal/strengthen/grow family relationships, 8) write down thoughts/ideas/plans/etc..., 9) take time to create a personalized plan for your family.

I obviously am only now figuring out how to do number nine, but all the other items are getting easier. WOO-HOO to that!!

So that kind of brings me back to what's been happening more recently. I believe that creating what I'm finally starting to create for my family is a result of what I've been learning and going through for the past three years. Its a process, and I love that!! What's really exciting, is that I can already see how in a few months from now, my Inspire System will evolve, better fit the needs of our family, and continue to shape our family culture. I love that naturally process of growth and progression are part of the plan because life is all about growth and progression. Isn't that FABULOUS!!

So now for the specifics in what exactly my Inspire System and Master Inspire plan look like...I guess that will have to wait because it's 11pm and I'm SO TIRED!! Pictures, details, and explanations to follow...stay posted.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Inspire NOT Require Part One

[Finally getting it]
I've been a mom for almost 10 years now, and a HIP homeschooling mama for three years now. So, I'm a bit embarrassed to say that it hasn't been until this year that I finally feel like I've got my mom groove on. I'm not saying things are perfect, but for some reason I think I'm finally starting to understand and be capable of harnessing the power of INSPIRE NOT REQUIRE. Inspire NOT Require ts one of the foundational keys of I've started to live by for the past few years. Even though I believe it to be a universal truth, its been a hard one to live. It just seems that forcing yourself, or your child to do something whether its an educational thing or a work/chore thing is the easier way to go.

Once you start looking to scripture, and how God does things, its easy enough to realize that this isn't how God parents us. So why would we parent differently than God. Inspire yourself or your child is hard work, but not impossible. Its requires a system, rewards, consequences, lots of LOVE, tons of work, consistency, enthusiasm, a tremendous amount of trust, and passion.

[The Inspiration System]
This year, Scott and I created a simple system to help Inspire our children. The system has two main missions. First of all, it was to help them understand the importance of their daily required chores. I really need to have a clean home (or at least as clean of a home as is possible with so many little kids), and in order for our home to be a house of order it requires every one's help. After struggling last year to keep up, I realized this year I had to get my little ones to start helping out more. So that was mission number one. Mission number two was to motivate my children to want to study and learn. I understand that forcing my children to learn won't work, or would be far less effective than if my children chose to learn on their own accord. I wanted the latter to happen, so after a summer of reading, thinking, and praying I created a system that has worked in helping my children begin the life long journey of self-education.
[to be continued...]
I don't have time to describe my Inspire System right now. So I'll wait, and go into more detail and post some pictures of my system soon...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Share the LOVE....

Over the last few weeks, my kids have really been getting a kick out of a program on my iMac called Photo Booth. The computer has a built in camera, and allows the kids to distort their faces and make silly little movies. Seriously, its provided hours of hilarious fun for the whole family. Tonight we were having FHE at my mom's, and my family was in charge. Our Schnepf family theme for the year is 'Don't wait to be GREAT...' Each month we choose a different area to focus on. Like I said, it was my family's job to be in charge, and we were struggling to know what we should focus on this month, until yesterday. In between conference sessions we were letting the kids play around, and make some videos. Then much to my dismay, a fight broke out during the creation of a video. We decided for the month of October our theme would be 'Don't wait to be GREAT at being more patient and loving, and less easily provoked to anger.' We had a great conversation about it with the family, and Scott shared some thought from President Monson's Priesthood session talk regarding anger. What a great evening.

My sister Stacy requested that the 'anger' video we described at FHE be posted on my blog. She really wanted to see it so she could laugh at my family. I was happy to oblige as my family has some laughable thing happen most every day. What can you expect with six kiddos 9 and under. I am LOVING life even when the kids record themselves fighting...I hope you all enjoy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

An outdoor classroom!!

With the weather starting to turn cool...finally, I've been heading outside to do our 'school' time. What a treat!! I think by the end of this weekend its only suppose to be 80 degrees. BRING IT ON!! Anyway, last week we were on the back porch enjoying the weather when suddenly three of my little ones (5, 4, and 2 years olds) were begging to do 'school' like the oldest two were. So I ended up pushing together some foot rests, and side tables that came with our patio furniture set, and created a nice little space for them to do 'school' on. I LOVED to see the little ones excitement, and their desire to be like the big kids. POSITIVE PEER PRESSURE!!

I am trying, to figure out how to create a fabulous outdoor classroom. Planting winter grass is right at the top of the list, and I'll probably try to get my hands on a picnic table to setup outside. My mind is racing with the unlimited possibilities of setting up an outdoor classroom. I'll never forget a passage from Laddie where little sister is talking about how the perfect classroom would be one without walls. AMEN to that! If you have any ideas on how to create an awesome classroom please send them my way.

Peaches, peaches, and more peaches!

Last Monday, we had a home economics day! We canned 5 boxes of peaches, (4 of which were mine) and boy did we have a whole bunch of sticky fun! My Mom, sister Stacy, and sister-in-law Brittaney all came over to join in the fun. I had never canned fruit before, so I had no idea what I was doing. I know this probably sounds lame, but I must say I felt almost like I was re-living a scene right out of Little House on the Prairie. I think I'm in love with canning and feeling a bit more prepared today than I did yesterday.

Brea enjoyed some 'play' time with the cousins. Its so fun to watch them play together.

Megan manned the lid station for three hours! She was such a trooper.

Cooper and Hyrum were awesome at blanching the peaches, and were able to also help with the cutting for a tiny bit.

Jarom rotated between blanching and cutting most of the day. I was so impressed with how long he stuck with it. He is turning out to be such an amazing boy!

We ended up getting over 90 jars of peaches done! WOO-HOO! I just put them on my shelf yesterday and was so thrilled to think about how yummy the are going to taste for the next year.

Dissection 10pm?!

So, I came home from a book club at around 10pm a few weeks back, and much to my surprise all my kiddos (except the one year old) were up dissecting a frog. It had been a week of dissection, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by the excitement and enthusiasm the kids displayed, as they cut open the poor little green thing. Last year, I purchased a dissection kit complete with all the tools you'd need, and quite a few specimens preserved and ready for dissection. However, I'd wimped out when it came time to actually do it. So there its been, sitting on the shelf for year now. Thank goodness Scott came to the rescue and pulled it down to check it out with Jarom.

Early that same week, Jarom had dissected an earth worm, starfish, and owl pellet. So, even though I couldn't believe the whole gang was still up at such a late hour, I couldn't help but smile, as I watched my older kids' eyes light up with intrigue and excitement. Science at 10pm at night...sounds pretty awesome to me! Okay, and it sound a bit crazy too!

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Day of School Pictures...

I decided that just because my kids don't have to leave the house to go to school they still need a 'first day of school' picture. So today I rounded them up and we took a 5 minutes to document what all the kids looked like on our first academic day of the 2009-2010 Martineau family school year.

It was to hot to go outside so I did the best I could inside...I guess they turned out okay. The important thing is that we took them...right?!

Hyrum 4 years old...enrolled in the Martineau Family Preschool! Currently using the Slow and Steady Get Me Ready book as his guide for the year!

Rebecca is 1 year old, and currently enrolled in the Martineau nursery class. She is focusing on learning how to walk right now!

Cooper my big 5 1/2 year old is a proud Kindergartner (although we don't really call it that) . He's my little core phaser who's focus is learning how to work, read, write, do a little math, and learn about science and ancient history with his older siblings.

Brea's my big 2 year old is also a core phaser. Brea really just needs to learn to stop screaming! If she can learn to just talk and not scream this year I'll be happy!! :)

Megan is my big girl in the house. She's 7 and is officially in 2nd grade, but to me she's transitioning from the core phase into the Love of Learning phase. SO EXCITING! She wants to focus on reading, writing, science (she can't wait to learn about bugs this year), history, and oh yes she wants to learn Latin!!! Gotta love a girl who is as excited as Megan is to learn everything.

Jarom is getting old way too fast. He's officially in 4th grade and is 9 years old. However, I prefer to think of him as being in the Love of Learning phase. He's becoming an amazing reader and is always excited to learn anything about plants and animals. He's also a great helper around the house and is super excited to get started with this new school year. He's also started to make big plans for what he wants to learn this year. WOO-HOO!!

This is our first academic school day. It's been great so far.

Our binders for the year!! This was such a great project to do with the kids. It took a few hours for them to do, but now they understand what the different noteb0oks are for and I think they'll be more likely to use them. We created three binders for Jarom and Megan. A Literature Binder, A Science Binder, and A History Binder. I got the idea to do the binders from a couple of different sources...A Thomas Jefferson Education book, Charlotte Mason, and The Well Trained Mind. They each had a little different approach to how they implemented the binder system so I took bits and pieces from each of source to create a customized binder system especially created for the Martineau Family! I think its going to be great!!

Here's the plan for today (and so far we've actually stuck to it...its a miracle).
Today's Schedule:
8:00-8:30 breakfast
8:30-9:00 devotional
9:00-9:15 pictures
9:15-12:00 create school notebooks and plans with Jarom and Megan
9:15-12:00 little kids free play (no electronics)
12:00-12:30 lunch then little girls down for naps
12:30-2:30 quiet time (kids up in rooms reading books or playing with toys in playroom)
2:30-4:30 family time (play games with kids...100% focusing on kids doing what they want to)
4:30-5:00 dinner prep
5:00-5:30 clean up/pick up house
5:30-6:00 final dinner prep/free time
6:00-6:30 dinner with the whole family
6:30-7:00 FHE
7:00-7:30 family activity
7:30 Brea and Becca in bed
7:30-8:00 bedtime routine for the 4 oldest kids
8:00 Lights out for Cooper and Hyrum
8:00-9:00 Quiet in room reading time for Jarom and Megan
9:00 Lights out for Jarom and Megan
10:00 Lights out for Mom and Dad

Well quiet time is over in just a few minutes time for me to get off the computer!

Homeschool Nesting continued

Until this last week I'd only felt that crazy unstoppable urge we fondly call nesting (you know the urge to clean every nook of you house and organize every single item you own) when I was pregnant and a month or so away from delivering. So it was CRAZY WEIRD to feel like I was nesting because I'm not pregnant!! I couldn't shake the urge so finally I just went with it.

Of course having a room that looks like this can sure help bring on that nesting feeling!! Here's my 'school' room's before picture. We had to much furniture in here and lots of stuff that had been piling up all summer long.


I thought it would take a day or two, but I ended up getting so detailed and particular it took a whole week...LITERALLY!! I started Monday and spent a good chunk of everyday all the way through Saturday. Scott actually took Tuesday off work to help me out because I was so neurotic and needed help with all the organizing projects I'd put on my list! By Saturday the list seemed to be growing...but thanks goodness with a TON of help from my amazing family we actually got everything done. It was a miracle.

Here is what we organized and cleaned last week...
  • The Pantry
  • The Fridge
  • The Kitchen
  • The Laundry Room
  • The School Room
  • The Craft Room
  • Everyone's closets
  • Everyone's rooms
  • The Bookcases
  • The Toy Room and Closet
Scott cleaned, fixed, or put up:
  • Our family picture
  • A broken door nob
  • A broken kitchen cabinet
  • Replaced a missing cabinet nob
  • Put up our huge new world map (with wallpaper paste)
  • Fixed the broken Garage Door opener (I can now use my clicker)
  • Fixed a broken light in my Laundry Room (so now I can see the clothes I'm folding)
  • Fixed the central vac
  • Cleaned out the Garage and organized the bikes
Some of our projects...

The MAP was quite the project. When I purchased it from National Geographic I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In the end it's pretty sweet and I'm glad we got it, but hanging wallpaper is not my thing!!

The NEW and IMPROVED Craft Room. I didn't take a before picture...too bad because it was pretty awful. We had one little table from Costco piled with random stuff. So to create the Craft Room I moved about half the furniture from the School room into the Craft room. So this is a new room with NO cost!! LOVE IT!!

The Closet
The Craft room had this great closet that was just another junk area. So I cleaned it out...took like 4 hours with Scott's help and turned it into the perfect homeschool storage closet. Just what the doctor ordered!!

The Kids...were actually really great during our crazy work re-organize the entire house week. They all helped out as much as they could, and when they couldn't help or were taking a break they found things to keep themselves busy with. We were trying to keep the electronics off so they really had to entertain themselves, and they did a great job!

Among other things they of course built a fort or two...

Brea discovered ways to keep Rebecca happy for pushing her in the wagon. They had a really great time for about an hour...shocking. :)

In the book Leadership Education they talk about the need to do:
  • a purge of all your stuff every 6 months
  • a inventory of where you are spending your time every 6 months
Of course the 6 month purge is basically an organizing de-junking session. I do mine every July/August and December/January. A 6 month inventory is a precursor to my 6 month NO and 6 month YES! I give myself permission to say NO to things that are getting in the way of my personal and family BIG goals. The 6 month YES is helping me identify the things I need to be doing to help me achieve my personal and family goals.

Its an amazing process! So now I'm done with my 6 month purge and can feel myself naturally now being ready to do my 6 month inventory!! Leadership Education articulated this process so well. The idea of every 6 months doing a physical and mental inventory, purge, and plan is a great way to keep life in order and in harmony.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Homeschool nesting...

I feel kind of like the way I do right before I have a new baby. I want to clean, scrub, and I must be nesting. Except this time there's no new baby coming...instead its a new school year. Do you get like that? I'll be updating the blog with details, pictures, and drama about the adventures of Homeschool Nesting. WOO-HOO!!! :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I can't believe its been almost a month since my last post. Lots has happened this last month, but I'm not going to talk about that right now because I want to just talk about today.

  1. The four oldest kids got themselves dressed.
  2. All the animals got fed including the stray kitten we found two days ago.
  3. The chickens got let out. We've started letting them roam free in the yard during the day. SO FUN!!
  4. Jarom made us pancakes (with Morning Moo because we're out of Milk). They were yummy.
  5. We had devotional. We read the story of the widow who has 10 pieces of silver and looses one and then finds the lost piece of silver and celebrates. I had the kids do narration with the story. Its been fun to start using narration more!
  6. I read to the kids from the History of the World all about slavery. We pulled out the globe and talked about where Africa, England, Spain, North and South America are which was related to the history we were talking about. Of course then we also looked for Puerto Rico where Grandma and Grandpa are, Hawaii, Canada, Chile, Peru, and Portugal so other hot spots for our family right now.
  7. Megan read a science book to herself about outer space and stars while the boy played a game of some kind which involved Tinker Toys and running around the house.
  8. I read a little from The Well Trained Mind (very interesting book) while #7 was taking place.
  9. Now we're in the school room. Some kids are playing with the toys that are messily spread out over the floor, and the older kids are working on puzzles of Greek Myths.
Its been a good day. Even though the kitchen is still a bit messy from is good and we've gotten a lot done. WOO-HOO!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Plugging away...

{the path to organizational BLISS}
I started working on organizing our school room today, but didn't make as much progress as I'd have liked to. I hope if I can get more kid participation tomorrow I can get it done and functional for me!! That would be awesome. Its so strange...I am discovering that I don't work well when my life isn't orderly and organized. However, the attribute of organization doesn't come naturally to me. I am trying to retrain myself to BE an organized person. If I could just start thinking like an organized person I know I could BE organized and live an organized life. Its a struggle. I think its especially hard because you can't follow someone
else's plan for organization...its such an individual thing. I feel like the book Organizing From The Inside Out did a great job of teaching organizational principles that I am trying to apply in my life and create my own recipe for being organized. In a month or so hopefully I'll be well on my way!! So far the few spaces I've organized have resulted in a huge boost in my effectiveness.

{Structure time...KEY to my success}
I feel like I've been getting better and better at structuring my kid's 'school' time. We do school time for 3 or 4 hours in the morning and its been going great. However, I still have my occasional freak out sessions when I start to worry that my kids are behind or I start to feel like I don't know what the heck I should be exposing them to. For instance last week I started having a melt down worrying that my kids weren't learning enough. Finally after a lot of prayer and soul searching a thought kept coming to my mind. The thought was...

You can try to cram lots of knowledge into them and force them to learn things they aren't interested in or not really ready to understand. They might even remember some of it in a few years. BUT for what purpose? Its not about the amount of knowledge they acquire by a certain age...its about who they BECOME as a result of that knowledge!!
Its all about who they are BECOMING while they are DOING their education.

{Inspire NOT Require}
Right now for me its all about exposing my kids to lots of great things so they can get inspired and have a desire to learn these things because they want to NOT because they are forced to. With my oldest only 9 we do a lot of educational games and TONS of reading during our three hour structured school time. We start with devotional, which usually lasts for about 15-20 minutes and then go right into kid's school.
I choose a subject that interests me and that I want my kids to learn about (this month its all about outer space). We spend on average about 30-45 minutes depending on how interested the kids are before moving onto open 'school' time. This week the kids have just been reading their brains out during open time. We went to the library on Monday so they have lots of books they are excited to read. Megan is totally into Junie B Jones books and Jarom is into Pillage and The 13th Reality...he goes between the two depending on his mood. If my kids seem like they can't figure out what they want to do and start roaming the house looking lost I try to help them find something they are interested in and I volunteer to engage with them on that activity if possible.

From 1-3 is quiet time...and its my time to study what I am into. Sometimes I use the time for other things like preparing dinner or doing the laundry or whatever else needs to get done. The kids can either play with toys or color or something, but can't watch a DVD, play computer, Wii, or DS until after 4. Between 4-5 I let the kids do electronic forms of entertainment, however, I'd prefer they only did TV and electronic stuff on Saturday. I may change this rule in the future. Its such a balancing act.

{Tomorrow's Goals}
Organize: Finish organizing the school room!!!
Spiritual: Personal Scripture Study before the kids get up!! Finish Devotional with a prayer.
Kids: BE present with the kids during the entire 3 hours of education. FOCUS all my energy and attention on them and their needs
Personal: Find 2 hours of personal study time.
Spouse: Do something thoughtful for my hubby.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Life on Venus...

During the month of April for our 'kid school' time during the morning we are focusing on Space. I've always been fascinated with our solar system, galaxy, and universe. Its so amazing to me how complicated and well orchestrated it all is. Anyway...we started Space last week and one day the kids picked out the book on Venus. So we sat down and began to read all about this strange sister planet of ours. It was fascinating. Sometimes I swear I learn more than my kids learn. For one things its almost the same size as earth and has many similar components found on Earth...oh yes except oxygen. The strangest thing we found out about Venus is that its day is longer than its year. Yes you heard me right.

{All the things I could get done in a single Venus Day}
If we lived on Venus, a day would be very strange. Venus rotates the opposite direction of the Earth. So sunrises would be in the west and sunsets in the east. But the most interesting thing to me was that a day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days and a year on Venus is only 225 Earth days. From sunrise to 'noon' it takes three months. According to the Venusian calendar, WWII only ended 56 days ago!

That got me thinking of all the things I could cram into a day if I lived on Venus. I could really use all those extra hours...I swear right now the days are going by way to fast. I never find the time to fit everything I want or need to do. I guess since I'm not relocating to Venus I better start prioritizing and cutting the 'good' things out so I can make time for the 'best' or most important things in life.

The mess during the 'organizing' process is a killer. I just hate to see the space get worse and worse before it FINALLY gets better. AHHHH!!!

[The Kitchen]

On Friday I really cracked the whip and got my kitchen mostly done. I was amazed when I realized was my biggest problem in keeping an organized kitchen was a big bag of garbage that I collected from all my 'neat' drawers and cupboards, and TWO boxes of random non-kitchen items that had somehow found their way into my kitchen.

After about 4 or 5 hours of steady cleaning, de-junking, thinking, and organizing I finally figured out where I wanted everything so my kitchen 'flowed' and what I DIDN'T want in the kitchen. It was such a huge relief when I was done. Now my kitchen works, and its clean (at least it stayed clean for the picture). WOO-HOO!! Now I've got to tackle the 'school' room where I dumped all the non-kitchen items. That is my organizational project for Tuesday.


I LOVED conference this year, and thanks to our 'sugar them up' reward system our two oldest kids listened to 2 1/2 sessions quietly and without complaining. It was awesome. We had 8 bowls filled with different candy, and each bowl was labeled with a different 'key' word. When they heard the word they could cash in for a piece of candy from the bowl. What we didn't plan on was them eventually getting so much candy that they'd lose the motivation to listen for the key words. Oh well it still worked really really well!!! Maybe next year we can figure out how to get the kids excited about cashing in for veggies and fruit instead of candy. Wouldn't that be cool?