Learning Together ~ Part 2: More Organizing {FI♥AR}

. . . or how I do what I do.

In Part 1, Learning Together With Five in a Row, I shared how I was organizing our Five in a Row lessons:
Rowing has been relatively easy to implement ~ since I did all the printing, laminating, etc. up front. 

When I pull out a file, I read the book and manual, brainstorm, do an internet search for go-along activities/crafts, start a blog post and add ideas, notes, recipes and any links I find helpful (which helps when it comes time to publish my post). I usually print my notes (blog post) and stick them in the file. Then I make a shopping list and gather any additional supplies/ingredients. {Adding a book themed Sensory Tub has made things a little more interesting}. 

Since I am getting ready to have a baby {in 8 weeks or so} I have been doing this for the rest of the books we will row with B4. 

I've been been putting materials/supplies, etc. in a basket that sits on my craft/sewing table. Usually, I just use a smaller tub per book and plan one at a time. . . but, {did I mention I was having a baby soon?}.

Here I have supplies for Corduroy and Katy-No-Pocket gathered, and am working on We're Going on a Bear Hunt, The ABC Bunny and The Snowy Day:

I try to include the kids in planning as much as possible and this builds their excitement. . .

Which means, there is no way I am getting out of rowing the next book with them! Honestly, this is what keeps me going ~ I love the joy it gives them!

I guess that is more of "why I do what I do" ~ back to "how:"

Somedays, I honestly have no clue ~ I don't know how I will get anything done. But, I begin each day with prayer and ask Father to order my day and this looks different each day.

Somehow, {by the grace of Yah} I get things done ~ and His grace is sufficient for me.

Sometimes, things fall together beautifully and other times I wonder if we will ever get anything done ~ and then it just happens.

How long do we take to row a book?

This depends. I like to row a book in 4-5 days, but those days sometimes happen over 2 weeks (2 days one week and 2 or 3 the next) and sometimes there is overlap. If planning and set up is a part of the row (such as the dog house and pet store in Angus Lost), then we will take a few extra days ~ but the actual row is still 4-5 days.  I will try to add a day-by-day in future posts for a better idea.

How much does this cost and where can you get it?

I purchased my manual and books from Rainbow Resource. The manual is $35. You can get a literature package for $97.50 ~ this includes the books used in the manual that are in print. But most of the books, even the out of print ones, you can find at your local library or through Inter-Library Loan (ILL) ~ for free or a small fee.

A note about the manual: the manual is a source of inspiration for me. It is designed to be used alone as an accompaniment to the books you read with your child. The manual gives me a starting point that in itself would be enough. The extra things I do are just that ~ extra. They fulfill my desire to be creative.

If you are resourceful, you can limit the money you spend on crafts and activities by planning ahead. I plan a special treat every Sabbath and, if possible, I tie it in with what we are rowing ~ this limits the sweets we eat and the money I spend. For example, the Dig-In-The-Dirt Milkshakes for Angus Lost, was our Sabbath treat.  By planning ahead, I bought the Breyers all-natural ice-cream on sale {and hid it in the deep freezer}. :D I also shop once a month from Azure Standard and get fun {edible} things through this co-op ~ like the Organic Vegan Gummy Bears we will use when we row Corduroy.  It is when I don't plan ahead that I spend more than I want.

This has been a "behind the scenes" post to answer a couple of your questions. Thanks for asking! It helped me to put things into perspective and remind myself of why I do what I do and remember from Whom my strength comes when I am not sure I can do anything.


  1. You're so organized :D Thanks for sharing, and for inspiring once again! Yay, eight weeks to go, whoo-hoo!

    Love you!

  2. Thank you so much Michelle for this post! I still want to do B4FIAR, but will probably hold off till I can do it with Jack and Jesse, instead of Jack and Joe. It helps so much to see how you are doing it, and you are doing it so well. You are so, so smart to get all of this organized before the baby--this will be a blessing! I remember when I had a couple months left before Jesse's EDD, I went into overtime trying to organize and plan. I bet you are feeling this now:-). It helped and I'm so glad I did it!

    Thanks for all of this info. It will be so useful to me in time to come!

  3. Chel,

    As your husband, I love organization and you are doing a spectacular job! Thanks for the fun review and before we know it the 8 weeks will be up!

    Love you,


  4. You do much more planning ahead than I do:) I love Rainbow Resource, and sometimes, I can find the books from there cheaper on the Amazon bookstore. Thanks for all of your creative ideas!

  5. You are so organized. The materials and activities look ready to go.

  6. I'm so glad you posted this! I had just recently been wondering what in the world you do to organize this for your blessed household! I have two and can't seem to get it straight! I can see it's all in the planning. I've been told that over and over - now I just have to do it.

    Also, I know you don't know me, so I feel a little strange talking to you in a public comment box as if I do, but I couldn't help but notice a post somewhere along the line that mentioned that you church at home. I wondered if you don't have a group of like-minded Messianic Jewish friends where you live, if perhaps you would be interested in watching a service online? A messianic congregation I sometimes attend here in Dallas, TX has beautiful Shabbat services available online at 10:40am. Here is the link to the home site: http://baruchhashemsynagogue.org/ just click on 'media'. I absolutely love the teaching Rabbi Waldman ministers. I don't know if you've ever heard of Jeffrey Seif, who teaches the Zola Levitt productions, but he attends this congregation, too (in case that helps you to know what direction it goes).

    Sorry if that was a little too much - I'm just so excited when I find like minded people, that I want to share!

    May the work of your hands be BLESSED! :)
    Thank you!

  7. Thank you for the suggestion ~ we watch or listen online frequently and will check out your service. I briefly visited the website and think it is cool that you have Hebrew classes! That is my hardest subject to commit to. The hardest part about not having a local fellowship is well, lack of fellowship! I miss it. But, we are able to glean and grow from all the teachings online. {So much out there!}

    Thanks again! I appreciate your comments. *Ü*

  8. I forgot to mention ~ you are welcome to email me anytime if you prefer!

  9. Thanks for sharing. This has been a very interesting post to me. I love to see what (and how) other people are doing. Keeps me inspired! Also, I love that you guys save your treats for the Sabbath - really makes that day even more special! We have been doing that more and more lately as well :)

  10. Thank you so much for sharing! Great post! :)

  11. Thanks for this "behind the scenes" post. It is interesting to see how people organize and plan. I don't plan ahead too much, since my children are so young that they are changing quickly, and I'm so new to mothering that I'm learning and changing a lot too. I admire your thoughtfulness and planning, especially being pregnant! I think you've hit the point of pregnancy when all I want to do is lie down. (Which can be good too! :) Best of luck with everything.