Katie taught me how to make chalk art.

Find a photo or drawing. Use a ruler to make a grid over the image. Mark the same grid, scaled up, on the sidewalk, with white or yellow chalk and a yard stick. Or even better, a chalk line snapper.

Use pastels, not chalk, if you want brighter colors. Her favorite are from Koss. Bring gardening kneeling pads. You do a lot of rubbing with fingers, so wear disposable gloves and change them when they are shredded.

If you do it right, it should take all day.

Sandy didn’t get any advance notice, but she shared a couple things off the top of her head.

It turns out that she is a professor at BYU-Idaho! That university has a huge online program, and Sandy had a couple sections of classes. Super cool. It made me a little jealous.

Sandy shared a website of preschool activity ideas.

Another new thing for me was about chores. Kids aren’t born perfect, so they need to learn. Choose what you want to be picky about, just a few things, and then after they try, give some feedback about how to do it “Mommy-Style.” “Did you do it Mommy-Style? Time to retrain!” in a fun voice.

She said she does a fun, messy activity every day.

For scripture study, she gives each of her children a copy of the Book of Mormon. Once child just colors, and the beginning reader circles sight words.

Melanie talked about yard maintenance

She make a presentation for your viewing pleasure.

Tips on making mowing easier: line the fence and house and trees with mulch so you don’t have to mow close to obstacles.

Tips on weeding less: keep your grass longer so it shades itself and doesn’t need as much water. (She lives in Utah, where it doesn’t rain as much as here in Ohio. She has sprinklers! That sounds like no fun.)

Lawn care: you can buy straw from a farm feed store. For future reference, my friend Heidi got hers from Tractor Supply in Beavercreek. If you have more than half an inch of thatch you should rake out the dead grass once a year.

Melanie built a fence around her air conditioner to make it look better, which is brilliant.

She recommended this website for landscape tips in low-water areas.

Natalie shared how to organize family time

She keeps papers with these written plans on the insides of cupboards. She sees them all the time, but guests do not.

Block 1: Personal Preparation 5:00-7:00

  • Exercise
  • Get dressed
  • Scriptures
  • Prayer
  • Make bed
  • 30 minute work check-in

Block 2: Get Kids Ready 7:00-9:00

  • Make beds
  • Get dressed
  • Read scriptures individually with each child
  • Eat Breakfast
  • Brush Teeth
  • Clean Rooms
  • Clean Front Room
  • Do hair

Block 3: Learning 9:00-10:00

  • Youngest child has quiet time in her room
  • Piano
  • Skip Counting
  • Read Aloud
  • Practice Letters
  • Monday Math
  • Tuesday Art
  • Wednesday Writer’s Notebook
  • Thursday Music learning app Prodigies
  • Friday Science Notebook

Block 4: Cleaning/Play 10:00-12:30

  • Cleaning Chores
  • Free Play

Block 5: Lunch/ Outdoor Play 12:30-3:00

  • Lunch
  • Clean-up Lunch
  • Outside work and Play

Block 6: Work 3:00-4:30

  • Older kids inside play
  • Younger kids quiet time
  • Natalie is a BYU-Idaho professor too!
  • Calling
  • Minister

Block 7: Dinner 4:30-7

  • Prep dinner - each person helps on a different day
  • Eat dinner
  • Pajamas
  • Clean Living Room
  • Read Books

Block 8: Bedtime 7:00-8:00

  • Scriptures
  • Come Follow Me
  • Brush Teeth
  • Songs
  • Popcorn and Prophets and Family Compliments on Thursday

If you come to the end of the time alotted for the block, skip what’s undone and go to the next block.