Morning in the Mud with Keri Vasek

Morning in the Mud with Keri Vasek and The Real Kathy LeeWhat a morning! Once a month, my sweet friend Keri Vasek opens her home up to mommas in the Houston area for a morning of togetherness and MUD! Yes, MUD! I wanted to see this event first hand so before I headed to the THSC conference in The Woodlands, I made a stop at Keri’s house to be a part of this epic event. It did not disappoint. I arrived as moms and kids were unloading out of their SUV’s and skipping into Keri’s house.

Once inside I smell lovely essential oils diffusing throughout her charming house and notice this inviting sign that offered clear directions to the necessities!

Coffee was the first thing on my agenda after an early flight from Atlanta. Sweet Keri had just the cup for me… A YOU’VE got this mug. The mud was ready and several children jumped right in. However, some children chose to participate in the many other activities Keri had to offer. Fly Guts, Instant Snow, Water Beads, Herbal Play Dough, and the many fun toys in the playroom. There was something for everyone and that was also true for the moms. There was coffee and PIE! There were quiet areas for nursing moms, a massage therapist available, and plenty of spaces to meet a new momma friend or catch up with an old one.

To add to the fun of this special day, I asked several of my friends to donate items for a giveaway! I have the BEST friends. Keri and I combined, had enough giveaways for every mom to go home with something! Thank you, thank you to the following:

 

Alesha at Lakeshore Learning

Jeff Preston at Discount School Supply

Holly at The Giles Frontier

Sam and Josiah at SD Smith – The Green Ember Series

Samantha at Raddish Kids

Classical Academic Press Purpose Coffee

Keri and DoTerra Oils

Michael and Jessica Somerville  with Tapestry of Grace

The Homegrown Preschooler

Kenyatta and Co.

 

So many great products given away to enhance the lives of little ones in Houston, TX!!!

Also, one of Keri’s dear friends (and mine too) brought her husband along to record an episode for their YouTube Channel. Check them out at Better Together Life on YouTube.

Keri, you are an inspiration! I pray that moms all over the world will grab on to this idea and invite others over for some Dirty, Messy, Noisy Work! Yes, there will be mud and a mess! More importantly, there will be memories and friendships that last a lifetime!

What a good day, a very good day!

Morning in the Mud with Keri Vasek and The Real Kathy Lee  

 

 

Find a way to #sayyes today.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast and leave a review on iTunes!!!

Thank you to The Homegrown Preschooler for sponsoring this Podcast! Check out the blog post Kathy mentioned, Farmhouse Schoolhouse, to read more about A Year of Playing Skillfully.

Also, to thank you for listening, you can receive a 10% discount on any purchase at

The Homegrown Preschooler by using the code, THEREALKATHYLEE.

 

Facing the Fall

Facing the Fall - Making Plans for the Next Homeschool YearSince Ashley and I were talking summer, we thought we would also talk about the thing that comes right after summer… THE FALL. It seems that as soon as July 4th passes, my brain immediately turns to the fall and making plans.

Over the years I have learned a few things that help me as I face the next school year. We talked about that today on the show.

1. Pray – Get alone and reflect on last year… what worked, what didn’t. What was challenging for the children? For you?
2. Prioritize – Set priorities for your family this year. What will you focus on? What will your kids focus on? Anything unusual happening in your year such as; building a house, having a baby, moving to New Zealand?
3. Plan and prepare – Know how you work and plan according to that. Gather materials, create spaces and work on a routine your family can follow.
4. Pass on the rest!!! Say it with me…. NO, NO, NO. So many people grab at homeschool moms because it is assumed that homeschool moms have tons of free time on their hands. You must so know to the extra noise… making meals, babysitting, leading bible studies, etc… There is a time for all of that, but it isn’t now.

Fall will be here before we know it. I hope you are looking to this new school year with your blessings, I sure am!

 

Find a way to #sayyes today.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast and leave a review on iTunes!!!

Thank you to The Homegrown Preschooler for sponsoring this Podcast! Check out the blog post Kathy mentioned, Farmhouse Schoolhouse, to read more about A Year of Playing Skillfully.

Also, to thank you for listening, you can receive a 10% discount on any purchase at

The Homegrown Preschooler by using the code, THEREALKATHYLEE.

 

 

Surviving Summer with Ashley Smoot

Well, it was the week of July 4th and summer is in full swing. Boat rides at the lake, sun in the fun at the pool, cookouts, and fireworks. What makes those events even more fun is one of your besties coming in town to celebrate with you. Ashley and I had a blast hanging out and we decided that we had some thoughts on surviving summer that we wanted to share!

1. Have a flexible routine. If you are like me, the strict schedule goes out the window the minute school is out. Well, let’s be honest, I am not a strict schedule kind of mom. However, we do have tighter routines in the school year, especially bedtime. With four teenagers and a tween at home, sleep is often overlooked in our home. I have to encourage my kids to keep on a decent routine or everyone will be walking around like zombies.

2. Don’t focus on the serious academics during the summer. Take this time to learn a new hobby together, Help your child learn about a topic they have been asking about, read fun books, draw/ paint. Enjoy the FUN in the summer!

3. Find time for YOU. Summer months are make alone time challenging. However, alone time is very needed for moms taking care of children all day. Hire a sitter, swap off with a friend, ask your hubby to help you… do whatever it takes to get a few minutes to yourself on a regular basis.

Have fun! Give your children (and yourself) permission to discover, explore and have a sense of wonder!!!

Find a way to #sayyes today.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast and leave a review on iTunes!!!

Thank you to The Homegrown Preschooler for sponsoring this Podcast! Check out the blog post Kathy mentioned, Farmhouse Schoolhouse, to read more about A Year of Playing Skillfully.

Also, to thank you for listening, you can receive a 10% discount on any purchase at

The Homegrown Preschooler by using the code, THEREALKATHYLEE.

 

Activities that Guarantee a Great Summer

Activities that Guarantee a Great SummerI can’t believe that the first official day of summer was last week. Here in Georgia, it has been HOT for a couple of months now. While I love summer, sometimes I feel it throws me off my game because I am out of my routine. If you are like me, try some of these fun summer activities to spice up your day. Your kids will thank you and your evenings will be much more relaxing because they will be tired from “working” all day.

 

1. Bubble Station – This is one of my favorite summertime activities. In fact, I just bought all of the necessary items to take to the beach next week. The grandbabies will enjoy the bubbles soooooo much. Yes, I will post pics! 🙂

 

Recipe:

3 quarts water

2/3 cups Dawn Dish Soap

2/3 cups corn starch

2 tsp. baking powder

 

Mix well and put in a plastic drink dispenser. Provide unique tools such as, strawberry baskets, glasses without lens, rings around drink bottles, etc…

2.  Mud Kitchen – You can find a kitchen set for next to nothing at any thrift store. Go through your kitchen and gather old utensils, pans, measuring cups, etc… for your mud chefs. Don’t be surprised if they try and serve you mud pie for dinner. 😉

 

3.  Buckets of Water – This is a super easy activity that keeps children engaged! Just grab some buckets, squeegees, paint brushes and let them clean windows, the house, the car, etc…

Don’t forget to try the squirt bottle idea too. Simply fill the bottle with water and add a few drops of liquid watercolor.  Clip a large piece of paper to a fence outside and let them squirt their way to a masterpiece.

4.  Scavenger Hunts – Pick any five items and have them go on a hunt. This can be nature items, items at the house or even items in the store.

Backyard Scavenger Hunt

****Used with permission from A Year of Playing Skillfully by Kathy Lee and Lesli Richards****

5.  Bath Tub Fun – Let’s be honest, some days are just tooooo hot to be outside, even with water. On those days, have your kids grab their bathing suit and get in the tub. Offer them colored water to mix, shaving cream with liquid water coloring and paintbrushes or even whipping cream. Simply “swimming” in the tub is fun, too!

The main thing is to give your children permission to be children.

All of these activities can be found the following books:

101 Easy Wacky Crazy Activities by Kathy Lee and Carole Dibble

The Homegrown Preschoolers by Kathy Lee and Lesli Richards

A Year of Playing Skillfully by Kathy Lee and Lesli Richards

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Find a way to #sayyes today.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast and leave a review on iTunes!!!

Thank you to The Homegrown Preschooler for sponsoring this Podcast! Check out the blog post Kathy mentioned, Farmhouse Schoolhouse, to read more about A Year of Playing Skillfully.

Also, to thank you for listening, you can receive a 10% discount on any purchase at

The Homegrown Preschooler by using the code, THEREALKATHYLEE.

 

Thoughts for Dads from One Daddy’s Little Girl

Thoughts for Dad from One Daddy's Little Girl - with the Real Kathy LeeI hope all of the dads listening today had a great Father’s Day! In honor of my dad I thought I would share some thoughts on Fatherhood from a “daddy’s little girl” and mom’s perspective.

I think the most important things for dads to remember is:

  1. Be present. – There is a famous saying, the days are long but the years are short. I believe this is so true!! Don’t wish away the days.
  2. Be intentional. – Being intentional doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands of dollars on a family trip to Europe. It does mean putting your phone away to have conversations, play games, attend events, and show up (emotionally and physically) for your family.
  3. Be consistent. – Kids thrive on routine. Help your family keep their routine by making family time a priority and being consistent as much as possible!
  4. Be dependable. –  Can’t say this enough. Kids need to know their parents will be there, period.
  5. Be confident. I believe most kids are born risk takers until the adults convince them that fear should be present. Try and live fearlessly in front of your kids. Confidence is contagious.

Make it Count!

I also think it is very important for dads to remember that their children don’t need you to be the world’s greatest problem solver. They mainly need you to listen to them, to know them, to love them and to honor how they feel. They need to know they are worthy of love and belonging.

In this episode I talk about the importance to facing your own childhood trauma. Research shows that we carry our trauma into our parenting. I saw a therapist to deal with my own childhood trauma and definitely believe that it has been a benefit to my children.

Dad’s, you are superheroes. Keep being strong and tender, your boys and your girls need that from you! Thank you for all you are doing for the next generation.

 

Find a way to #sayyes today.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast and leave a review on iTunes!!!

Thank you to The Homegrown Preschooler for sponsoring this Podcast! Check out the blog post Kathy mentioned, Farmhouse Schoolhouse, to read more about A Year of Playing Skillfully.

Also, to thank you for listening, you can receive a 10% discount on any purchase at

The Homegrown Preschooler by using the code, THEREALKATHYLEE.

Real Talk for Real Fathers with John Finch

Real Talk for Real FathersAbout this time last year, I was introduced to John Finch on Twitter. John asked me to write an article for his encouraging dads project. You can read that here…

http://www.encouragingdads.com/2016/05/memories-are-made-in-the-everyday-moments/

As I learned more about John and what he does for fathers, I knew I wanted to have him on the show. In this episode, I chat with John about what he has learned about Fatherhood on his journey. John shares about his own realization that Father Wounds have a large impact on Fatherhood and how he is overcoming the loss of losing his own father to suicide at age 11.

John recently released a documentary called The Father Effect and he shares some of the lessons he learned while creating this documentary. You can find out more about The Father Effect on his website, www.thefathereffect.com

The Father Effect Movie

If you need encouragement about fatherhood, check out John’s Encouraging Dad’s Project. You can read lots of great stories on his site, www.encouragingdads.com

Encouraging Dads

Happy Fathers Day!!!

Find a way to #sayyes today.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast and leave a review on iTunes!!!

Thank you to The Homegrown Preschooler for sponsoring this Podcast! Check out the blog post Kathy mentioned, Farmhouse Schoolhouse, to read more about A Year of Playing Skillfully.

Also, to thank you for listening, you can receive a 10% discount on any purchase at

The Homegrown Preschooler by using the code, THEREALKATHYLEE.

Fathers as Storytellers with SD and Josiah Smith

Fathers as Storytellers with SD and Josiah Smith on The Real Kathy Lee Podcast!On this episode I had the privilege of speaking with the SD (Sam) Smith and his brother, Josiah. I met these sharp dressed men a couple of years ago as Sam’s book, The Green Ember was being launched. Sam and Josiah are one of four boys and have a passion for fatherhood and making every moment count with their families.

I had such an amazing time listening to these dads share their heart for reading and storytelling with their children. Not only did they share many benefits for taking the time to connect with children through stories, they also shared some practical tips to help along the way. I think we will all be encouraged to know that being a published author is not a requirement for being a great storyteller.

I am so grateful that Sam and Josiah took time to chat with me on this episode. I think this is a must listen for every dad out there and would be a great present for the dad in your life. Simply grab their phone and download the episode for them. Of course, moms can be great storytellers, too.

I love this family journal, Stories We Shared. This is a great way to keep track of all of the incredible books/stories you read together. Check out https://store.rabbitroom.com/ to learn more.

Sam shared the following resources during our episode:

1.Story Warren – Supports families in fostering imagination in the children they love.

2. StoryformedThe heartbeat of Storyformed.com is simple: To get life-shaping books into the lives of children everywhere. To help you discover the best children’s books. To celebrate the soul-forming power of imagination and story. To help you and your children live a story worth telling.

3. Read Aloud Revival – Sarah provides a great booklist for parents to explore.

Don’t forget to check out The Green Ember and get to know the beautiful work of SD Smith! Also, you can follow Sam on FaceBook and Instagram.

Find a way to #sayyes today.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast and leave a review on iTunes!!!

Thank you to The Homegrown Preschooler for sponsoring this Podcast! Check out the blog post Kathy mentioned, Farmhouse Schoolhouse, to read more about A Year of Playing Skillfully.

Also, to thank you for listening, you can receive a 10% discount on any purchase at

The Homegrown Preschooler by using the code, THEREALKATHYLEE.

Interview with Elsie Iudicello from FARMHOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE

It has been two years since I first met Elsie from Farmhouse Schoolhouse. Since then, she has become an Instagram and blogging rock star! When I read her post, Why We Said Yes, I teared up reading how Elsie found us at FPEA (Florida Parent-Educators Association) and why she chose to buy our curriculum. Since then, she has written several more blog posts about learning through play and I have cried buckets of tears… so grateful that she has so beautifully implemented our program and understood our vision for childhood.

As we prepared to attend FPEA this year, I knew I wanted to sit down with her and talk about her homeschooling journey. Elsie attended with one of her older sons and I enjoyed chatting with the both of them. I asked Elsie about her homeschooling journey, her philosophy of education and the story behind the Farmhouse Schoolhouse phenomenon.

If you need encouragement for your long days as a mom/homeschooler, check out Elsie’s blog and find her on Instagram at Farmhouse_Schoolhouse.

Find a way to #sayyes today.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast and leave a review on iTunes!!!

Thank you to The Homegrown Preschooler for sponsoring this Podcast! Check out the blog post Kathy mentioned, Farmhouse Schoolhouse, to read more about A Year of Playing Skillfully.

Also, to thank you for listening, you can receive a 10% discount on any purchase at

The Homegrown Preschooler by using the code, THEREALKATHYLEE.

Why NO and MINE are good words for Toddlers

Why NO and MINE are good words for Toddlers (and a few other toddler tips)

I often get asked how to deal with NO and MINE in toddler world. I see them both as positive words for this age. Toddlers are realizing that they are indeed human and separate from their parents. Isn’t what we hope all of our children realize! 😉 Up until this point someone has made all the decisions for them and they FINALLY have a voice. NO, they don’t want peas for dinner. NO, they don’t want to take a bath. NO, they don’t want to go to bed. I bet some toddlers are sooooo excited that they can finally state their opinion. ON this episode, we will talk about this world of toddlers and the many reasons that no and mine are their favorite words. It really is a good thing.

Also in this episode, I will quickly address some other toddler topics… potty training, biting, and pitching fits. I know for many parents, this toddler stage is challenging. I often suggest that parents try and approach this time with a lighthearted spirit. I always encourage gentle, playful parenting whenever possible, especially during the young years.

Find a way to #sayyes today.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast and leave a review on iTunes!!!

Thank you to The Homegrown Preschooler for sponsoring this Podcast! Check out the blog post Kathy mentioned, Farmhouse Schoolhouse, to read more about A Year of Playing Skillfully.

Also, to thank you for listening, you can receive a 10% discount on any purchase at

The Homegrown Preschooler by using the code, THEREALKATHYLEE.

Little Ones CAN (and SHOULD) Do It!

Little Ones CAN (and Should) Do it! Jan Smith is a rock star when it comes to parenting and homeschooling! She is a mother, grandmother, homeschooling advocate, businesswoman, jazz band member and mentor to many! I first met Jan after she heard one of my talks and invited me to speak at the Louisiana State Homeschool conference a few years ago. I immediately fell in love with Jan (and Roger) and you will too after this episode.

In this episode Jan and I talk about the benefits of letting (encouraging) little ones to get involved in home life. We share how this builds confidence, work ethic, and a willingness to take risks, all great things for our children as they grow and mature. Jan shares some personal stories that will inspire you to let go and get your little ones involoved. They CAN do it!

 

 

 

 

 

Jan and Roger Smith

Watch this video on the benefits of little ones doing chores, it is powerful!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my podcast and leave a review on iTunes!!!

Thank you to The Homegrown Preschooler for sponsoring this Podcast! Check out the blog post Kathy mentioned, Farmhouse Schoolhouse, to read more about A Year of Playing Skillfully.

Also, to thank you for listening, you can receive a 10% discount on any purchase at

The Homegrown Preschooler by using the code, THEREALKATHYLEE.

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