Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday's Fave Five 10/28/11

#1 Awesome coupons I had some really awesome coupons this week. I also had a little room in the budget to play with, so I was able to get use some coupons that were expiring and still get everything else we needed. All together, I saved $50 on my total! I was so excited!

#2 Great deals at Goodwill Sunday afternoon, the kids and I made a stop at Goodwill to look for things Dakota needed for her Halloween costume. While we were there, I found some other great deals, too. We got a pair of pants, shirt, and shoes for her costume and three pairs of jeans for her, too. My best find of the day was a tae kwon do top for $2.50! It is practically brand new. I was watching her during class on Sunday thinking that we needed to get her a bigger top and trying to figure out how long we could wait with Christmas coming up and possibly having three little girls having belt tests next month. I love the way that God worked that out for me!

#3Dakota's Halloween costume The youth group at church had their Halloween party on Wednesday night. Dakota went as "Revenge of the Nerd". There's actually a story behind this costume which will come in another post-I'll just say our inspiration had nothing to do with the movie. I thought it turned out really cute, though, and fit her personality so well!

#4 Having "big kids" While we were at the library on Wednesday, I needed to make some copies and also print some things from the computer. I took the kids over to the childrens' section and got them set up with books and computers there, then went over to the adult section where the internet computers are. I realized how much the kids have grown up in the last year or so. I'm enjoying this stage where my kids are more independent. Wednesday evening, I spent some time hanging out in the nursery with some other ladies. There was a 2 year-old and a 10 month old in there and I remembered how much work little ones are. It's nice not to have to have my eyes on the kids at all times.

#5 Kids' prayers The kids have been talking a lot about prayer in their Wednesday night class at church. Landon was telling me a couple of weeks ago that he fell down and hurt his knee when their class went outside but he and Miss B. prayed for it and it felt better. Last night, Sierra wasn't feeling well so she stayed home from Tae Kwon Do. When I told Landon she wasn't going, he just stopped and said "Dear God, please help Sierra get better." It was so sweet! And, you know what? It worked. She was feeling a lot better by the time we got home. I was going to take her in to the doctor this morning, but she's looking like she may not need to go after all.

What were your favorite things this week?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday's Fave Five 10/21/11

Head over to Living to Tell the Story and link up your Five Faves from this week.

#1. New Sheets! We had the same sheets on our bed since I was pregnant with Landon. The fitted sheet got a teeny tiny hole in it a few weeks ago that just kept getting bigger. We finally gave in last week and bought a new one. It's nothing fancy, just a cheapie from Wal-Mart, but it makes me smile.

#2. Laughing with my kids! I know I used it last week too, but we just have a lot of fun at our house and I love it. Just this morning, Cheyenne said, "True or False: Boys are more likely to be struck by lightning than girls." I said, "True." Daniel said, "That's because lightning is attracted to awesomeness." Dakota said, "If that were true, I'd be stuck everytime there was a thunderstorm!" Ha!

#3. Listening to Sierra read. Sierra finally finished up with the last story of her MFW !st grade book. The last few were pretty tough and she and I were both a little discouraged. This week, I picked up a book for her from the library that was a leveled reader. I wasn't sure how she would do with it because it seemed like it had lots of words per page but I decided to give it a try and then adjust the level of her next book if we needed to. She has done beautifully with it! I am so proud of her! It's a "chapter book" (actually it's just a collection of short stories, but if she wants to call it a chapter book I'm okay with that) which makes it all the more appealing to her. The best part for me is that she wants to cuddle up with me on the couch while she reads it to me.

#4. My son sitting on my lap. I went through a time recently where I didn't let him sit on my lap as much because I was afraid people would think he was too old for that. But I've decided that I really don't care what people think. If he still wants to sit on my lap, then why not? I've learned how quick the time passes and it won't be long until he decides he doesn't want to sit on my lap anymore. I'm going to enjoy it while I can. Last night after his Tae Kwon Do class, he said he had a headache and climbed up on my lap. It was wonderful!

#5. Daddy time. Daniel came in a little while ago and got the kids to take them to lunch (he was going to take us all, but I haven't gotten dressed yet. Yes, I'm lazy on Friday mornings). It works out for everyone. The kids get to have some daddy time and I get to have some quiet time in the house. Plus, I don't have to worry about feeding them lunch! They're bringing me back a burger, so I still get to enjoy the yummy food too!

To the Rescue #2

If you're new to my blog, you probably haven't seen this post about our rescue of some baby possums. Let me tell you, that was one of the grossest things I've ever done to save an animal. I had to actually reach into the pouch and retrieve a couple of them who were still trying to nurse from their mother. Yuck! I won't ever do that again! (at least until I come across another dead mother possum with babies that are going to die without her).

Somehow little critters that need to be rescued seem to show up around here when Daniel's at work (I guess they know they won't get much help from him. Ha!) Well, we've been at it again with this little guy.
I was sitting at the computer the other day waiting for the kids to get up when the dog started barking. Nothing unusual because Grandpa usually drives down our driveway about that time of day. But he didn't stop. He just kept barking and barking and barking. Well, I was waiting for the kids to wake up, but I wasn't quite ready for them to get up, if you know what I mean. I wasn't about to let a barking dog interrupt the last few minutes of peace and quiet I had for the morning, so I looked out to see why he was barking.

From the window, I could see a little furry creature trying to escape from Butter. I thought it was a mole (I've saved one of those from another dog before). I grabbed some shoes and a towel and went out to save the poor thing from Butter.

When I got out there, I discovered that it wasn't a mole, but a gopher. Butter wasn't trying to hurt it, he was just trying to play with his new friend the terrified little thing. It was so cute! Butter would stand over it and bark and the little thing would open it's mouth really big to show it's teeth and raise up it claws. Very David and Goliath-ish. I reached down with the towel and picked it up. Butter got really excited that I was going to play with his new "toy" too.

I took the gopher out into the woods behind the house and let it go. I held Butter back to give it time to make it's escape and gave him some food to distract him. I made it back inside and found that my luck had held out-still no kids up.

Back to the computer for a few more minutes. Dakota was the first one up. I said, "See what happens when you sleep in? You miss cool stuff, " and told her the story. She was pretty disappointed until we heard the dog barking again. Apparently the gopher wasn't fast enough.

This time, she and Landon helped me. We scooped him up in a shoebox and brought him inside to observe him a little. Then, we tried again to let him go. The kids distracted the dog with more food (and the leash) while I took the gopher to a different place and let him go. Unfortunately, Butter is stronger than Dakota and he pulled her over around the side of the house where he could see where I went. Then, he got off the leash. Didn't take long before we were back to square one. Only this time, Butter didn't want to give up his toy so easily.

I finally got the leash back on him and took him back to the pen. Once he was locked up, I scooped up the gopher and took him back to the woods for a third time. He wasn't really moving much, but I thought maybe he just needed to rest a bit from his crazy meeting with Butter.

Sadly, he didn't make it. I guess playing with Butter got the best of him. But, we did the best we could. Like Dakota said, he probably would have been snake food anyway (way to look on the bright side Dakota!).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I am so excited! I was chosen this week as the featured blogger (the very first one) over at the Clumsy Coquette for the Friendly Friday hop. Link up with us at the bottom of the page and then head over there and show her some love too! Then have fun hopping around and making some new bloggy friends!

Welcome to the Friendly Friday Blog Hop! I am so excited to be hosting and I hope that you will link up with me!

The Rules:

1. You MUST follow me on Google Friend Connect, Facebook or Twitter and you MUST follow the Featured Blogger.

2. Link up your blog name and URL on my linky. Please don't link to a specifict post.

3. Grab the Friendly Friday button and put it on your blog or in a post.

4. Go to as many blogs as you want and follow them. If someone follows you from the hop, please follow them back.

Want to be a featured Blogger?

I am going to start hosting a weekly featured blogger! I am so excited. If you'd like to be featured, please let me know in a comment below. I will randomly select someone each week. If you are picked, you will be given the code to host this hop on your page that week.

Featured Blogger

The very first featured blogger is Tiffany from Dancing With Cinderella.
I am a public school teacher turned stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. I have four kiddos aged 13-6, three girls and one boy and have been married to my high school sweetheart and best friend for 15 years. I write about family life, homeschooling, and making memories with my children.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal 10/16/11

In my life this week…this was a pretty good week. I feel like we are finally getting into a routine and getting a lot accomplished during the day. My goal is to start moving our start time up by 5-10 minutes each week. I'd love to have everything finished before lunch so we can have more time for fun in the afternoon.

In our homeschool this week…We started working on our architecture theme this week by learning that God is the architect of the earth. We'll be learning about landforms for the next couple of weeks. This week and next week we'll be learning about volcanoes and making our very first lapbooks. I'm really excited to see how they turn out.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…Don't feel stuck to your curriculum. You know your children best. If you feel like you need to spend more or less time than the lesson plan calls for, do it. As long as your child is learning and progressing, there is no such thing as being "behind." Listen to your "mom instincts."

I am inspired by…the moms on the homeschool forum who's kids have graduated and are doing well.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…I don't have anywhere special planned to go this week. Something may come up later, but right now I'm looking forward to just a normal routine this week.

My favorite thing this week was…going skating with the local homeschool group. Can't wait to go again. Some of the other activities that they have coming up sound like lots of fun too!

What’s working/not working for us…things are going really well right now. The only thing I would really like to change right now is I wish I had a computer that would support our printer. 10 cents a copy is going to get expensive in a hurry. Plus, it's a pain to try to find time to go sit at the library and search online for all the things I need. It would be so much easier if I could just print things off as I find them. Oh, well. We'll make it work until we get a new computer.

Questions/thoughts I have…Wondering how everyone else works out lunch? Do you all sit down and eat the same thing at the same time together or do you all just grab something and eat when you get time? Last year, we stopped and ate together. Usually, I cooked something or we had sandwiches. This year, we've all been eating at the same time, but it's usually a hodge podge of left-overs, hot pockets, sandwiches...basically, whatever we can find. It's a lot faster this way, but I'm not sure I like it.

Things I’m working on…getting things planned and prepared more ahead of time. What I've been doing is working okay, but it could be better.

I’m reading...I just started reading Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado. I like it okay so far, but not sure if I'll finish it or not.

I’m cooking…nothing tonight. The kids and I went by McDonald's this afternoon for a snack and Daniel's been snacking since he got home so no one's really hungry. We'll probably just have some sandwiches later on if we get hungry.

I’m grateful for…the awesome youth pastors and volunteers at our church. Cheyenne went to play Lazer Tag with the 5th and 6th graders Friday night and Dakota is gone tonight to the David Crowder Band concert. Our church always has fun activities for the kids and my kids love going to church!

I’m praying for…a situation that's been going on lately that is probably going to require me to have an uncomfortable conversation with someone soon.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…gotta love Pinterest, right?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Happy Halloween Boo Hop

I'm linking up with Indiana Coupons and Debz Deals for their Happy Halloween Boo Hop during the month of October. Come hop with us!

My blog is about my family, our home school, and learning to enjoy our time with our kids while we have them. If you're stopping by for the first time, read this post and this post to get to know me and my blog a little better.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday's Fave Five

I'm joining a new link-up this week hosted by Living to Tell the Story. It's called Friday's Fave Five. Just pick five things that have blessed you this week and link up a post about them. Super easy! Here are my fave five from this week.

#1-Laughing with my kids. My kids have the same sense of humor as I do and we have so much fun laughing together. I love that my kids still think I'm funny, although I do get a few eye rolls now and then.

#2-Taking my kids skating with the homeschool group. They had so much fun and Landon has asked every day since then if we can go again. It was so nice to spend time with moms who were actually enjoying their kids (and mine) instead of being stressed out by them. It was fun to have other moms cheering my kids on as they were trying to learn to stay on their feet. And, most of all, it was fun to watch my kids learn to do something new and succeed at it. Can't wait until next month so we can do it again.

#3-Going to church together as a family Wednesday night. Daniel's days off are Thursday and Friday so he very rarely gets to go to church with us. This week, he was able to get off early enough on Wednesday that he could go. I was so happy to have him there with us!

#4-Gettting to spend some one-on-one time with my kids. Thursday evening, Daniel picked up Landon, Dakota, and Cheyenne after Landon's tae kwon do class and took them home while I stayed and watched Sierra's class. Then on Friday night, Cheyenne was gone to play Lazer Tag with the kids from church, so it was just Dakota and I for her class. It wasn't a lot of time, but it was nice to be able to be alone with them for a little while.

#5-This quote I found on Pinterest today.

Source: via Monica on Pinterest

What have been your five favorites this week?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Homeschool Highlights from this week

We are FINALLY getting in a groove with our routine. Hooray! It makes me happy to feel like I'm in control of the day instead of being a slave to the curriculum.
Last year, it seemed like we never got into a good rhythm with our days. We would spend from about 8:30-4:30 doing school work last year with an hour or so for lunch. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted and I still didn't feel like we were accomplishing as much as we should. I tried to do every single thing that was in the curriculum but there just wasn't enough time. I always felt stressed that we were "behind".

This year, I feel much more comfortable to go out on my own and not follow the curriculum so much. I'm still using their general framework, but I'm doing mostly my own activities on my own schedule. It's so nice to feel free to do what I know is best without feeling like I'm somehow failing my kids. I know them best, so why did I think that a curriculum manual could tell me what they needed better than my own instincts?
This year, we can have everyone's individual work done in about 2-2 1/2 hours (Bible, math drill, math lesson, journal, spelling, reading, penmanship, vocabulary, science/social studies worksheets, and sometimes art and tae kwon do practice) which leaves us plenty of time to do science and social studies lessons together. It also leaves time for laundry, chores, and some free time each day. I'm loving our routine so far!

Here are some highlights from our week-

On Monday, we began our unit on architecture. We introduced the unit by reviewing the days of creation and discussing that God is the architect of our earth. Our memory verse for this week was Job 38:4-"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations? Tell me if you understand."
You can read more about Monday here.

On Tuesday, we did just the basics in the morning. In math, Landon and Sierra are working with me on understanding subtraction. For their independent work, they're working on memorizing the addition facts. To help with this, I had them sort dominoes by the sum of the two sides. They really enjoyed it. I had them do it again on Wednesday as well and added in flash cards to sort.
Tuesday afternoon was a surprise trip to the roller skating rink with the local home school group. This was the first time we were able to join the group for an outing and we really enjoyed it. Cheyenne, Sierra, and Landon knew a couple of the girls from church and Sierra had a tae kwon do friend there. Dakota was a little disappointed to be the oldest one there, but I think there are some kids her age in the group who just didn't come skating. Of course, I left my camera at home so I don't have any pictures, but it was really too dark in there to get any good ones anyway. I'm happy to say that all the kids came out of the skating rink in one piece!

Wednesday was back to a regular day. We did some memory verse work
some penmanship (Cheyenne is in LOVE with cursive writing.)
and the older girls made some flip books for the Volcano lap books they're going to be making. I love Dakota's title-"She's gonna blow. A guide to volcanoes."
I also had them make pictures for the front of their lap books while I read a book on volcanoes.

On Thursday morning, I had a doctor's appointment at 8:30, so they got a little break. I also went to the library and printed off the rest of the materials for our lap books. Can't wait to see the finished products. I'll post more about it when we get to the end of the unit.
We didn't get started until after lunch, but we still had time to get all the basics in and do a couple of things for our unit.
Here's Cheyenne working on spelling words
I taught Landon and Sierra how to play war with addition flash cards. They had a blast. For now, I just had them use +1 and +2 cards. Next week, we'll add the +3's.
And, in case you're wondering why Dakota never shows up in my school pictures, this is why.
She prefers to work in her room with the radio on. Apparently the rest of us are too noisy. Ha! I like music when I'm trying to concentrate too.

Tomorrow is Friday which means no school for us. Daniel's days off are Thursday and Friday so we save Fridays to spend with Dad. We'll also use them as a "catch up day" sometime if there are things we aren't able to fit it during the rest of the week or for field trips that take more than an hour or two. Daniel's taking Cheyenne hunting in the morning while the rest of us hang out at home. Tomorrow afternoon Cheyenne's going to go play Lazer Tag with the 5th and 6th graders from church. She's pretty excited to go because they aren't planning on getting home until around midnight and because she gets to take the "kids' phone" with her. I'm so glad Grandma Debbie volunteered to pick her up! I hope to be in bed by midnight!


I'm linking up this week with the Friday blog hop hosted by Mama to 4 Blessings and Home Grown Families and with Friendly Friday hosted by The Clumsy Coquette. Welcome new blogging friends! Can't wait to hop around and make some new friends! Leave me a comment and let me know you were here so I can hop over and visit your blog.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Magic pictures

After using MFW curriculm last year (three levels-K, 1, and ECC), I decided that I need to simplify things a little this year. Trying to keep up with three different topics/themes was too much for me. So I started a quest to find a more integrated curriculum where we would all be studying the same basic topic but each child would be working at a different level. I was so excited when I found The Weaver curriculum. It sounded like just what we needed. I was also excited that I was able to get all of the various components of the curriculum used and pay much less than buying them new.

But, when things started arriving, I began to notice that it wasn't quite as I had expected. The basic curriculum is arranged by chapters. Each chapter has it's own "theme". For example, chapter 2 is architecture. Chapter 2 is divided up with assignments at each grade level. However, the grade level assignments aren't necessarily aligned with one another. For example, on Day 7 of this chapter, Grade 1 is discussing how people change from babies through adults, Grade 2 is discussing different types of shelter around the world, Grade 5 is talking about the industrial revolution, and grade 8 is talking about mining. Not exactly what I was looking for.

So, I am working on tweaking it to make it fit our needs better. I'm taking the basic theme from each chapter and using it to make my own unit study keeping us all on the same topic at the same time, just a different levels. I'm also going to go a little deeper into the theme than what the curriculum does.

Here's a general outline of what we're going to be learning about over the next few weeks. I'm sticking with the architecture theme.
I. God is the designer of our earth-land forms
A. Volcanoes
B. Mountains
C. Valleys
D. Canyons
II. Animal architects-animal homes
A. Birds
B. Beavers
C. Bees
D. Ants
E. Spiders
III. Historic Architecture
A. Egyptian-pyramids
B. Babylonian-ziggurats
C. Greek
1. Columns
2. The Parthenon
D. Roman
1. Arches
2. The Coliseum
E. Gothic-castles
F. Possibly some more modern architecture like the Eifel Tower, etc
IV. Homes around the world

I expect it will take us a little longer than the 10 days suggested in the curriculum, but we'll be covering a lot more information. The next chapter is about launguage/sound so I think we'll expand it and do a unit on the 5 senses.

I'll be posting the details as we go through our study. I'm excited to get into the in-depth planning and find some fun hands on activities for us to do. I've got a whole board of things on pinterest that look great!

Today was our intro day. We talked about what an architect does and what architecture is. Then we read the creation story from Genesis 1 and talked about God being the architect of our world. We also reviewed the days of creation.

Our project for today was to make "magic pictures" of the days of creation. I gave them each a white piece of paper that was folded to make six sections. Their job was to draw what God created on each of the six days. The trick, though, was that they could only use a white crayon. Once they finished, I had them paint over it with some diluted black paint so that their pictures "magically" appeared. It was fun!

I love that the activity was open-ended so that they were doing the same thing, but could interpret it in their own way. You can definitely tell a difference in their levels of understanding and their abilities when you look at the finished products.

I'm having so much fun planning this unit. Maybe when I grow up, I'll be a curriculum writer.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tim Hawkins, the State Fair, and Disney on Ice (lots of pictures)

Last weekend was so much fun! Daniel and I were able to get away for an actual date night on Thursday night. We haven't been able to do that in forever. It was awesome! We dropped the kids off about 2:00 and headed into town to run some errands and grab some lunch. Then, we were off to Tulsa for the night.

We checked into our awesome room at the Hilton (thank you priceline!) and then made our way over to the Green Country Events center to see Tim Hawkins. I was so glad we decided to get there early. It was general admission seating and when we got there (55 minutes early), the line was already to the parking lot!

Tim Hawkins lived up to my expectations and more. He was SO FUNNY! I've spent a lot of time watching him on Youtube and I really expected to have seen most of his act already, so I was really surprised that most everything was new to me. I was so sad that I left my camera in the van when they said that pictures and videos were allowed. Oh well. I've looked on youtube for some videos from that night, but haven't found any yet. But I did find a video from a different night of my favorite part of the show.

Friday morning, Grandma P., and Aunt D., our kids, and the cousins met us for breakfast at IHOP before we all went to the fair together. Cheyenne's jelly won first place at the county fair and went on to the state fair so we were excited to go see how she did. Unfortunately, she didn't place this year. This was our first year to enter so we did learn some things and get ideas so we can do even more next year!

Can you tell these kids were excited for the fair? They had never been to the State Fair before.

One of the first things we saw when we went through the gates were the seals. The show wasn't until later in the day but that didn't stop our kids from checking it out anyway. They thought it was cool watching the trainer work and watching this guy follow her around.

Next, we went into one of the exhibitors' areas. The kids got excited when they saw this booth because Grandma P. had just received her set the night before when they stayed the night and they had gotten to try it out. Poor guy missed that we were all together so he went through his whole demonstration for us before he realized we weren't going to buy anything. I think the one other lady standing there with us did, though.

Cheyenne and Sierra (mostly Cheyenne) have been asking and asking to get feathers in their hair. They jumped at the chance when Grandma offered to get it done for them.

I wasn't too impressed at first, but now that they've washed them a few times and the color has faded some, you can really see them well. I'll admit, they're kind of cute. But, we probably won't be replacing them when they fall out.

Next, we made our way to the Birthing Barn. There were tons of animals in there that were about to give birth or had recently had babies. Pretty cool! These sweet little babies were only 30 minutes old.
There was also a pig that had been delivering just before we got there and they were thinking a few more babies would be coming shortly. It didn't happen while we were there, though.

Next to the birthing barn was the petting zoo. The kids LOVED this part. I was expecting lots of farm animals but there were some exotic creatures in there too. The kids thought it was so cool to see a real Zebu (you know, from the veggie tales song).

The camel was pretty cool too.

And, of course, there were sheep and goats.

The biggest surprise was a kangaroo! I never expected to find that at the Tulsa State Fair. There was a wallaby in the cage next to it as well.

After the petting zoo, we went across to another building where they had some really cool hands-on science exhibits for the kids. There was ocean life to touch.

A giant area for building with blocks.

And a place where you could make really giant bubbles (somehow I missed getting pictures of it though.)

Next, it was time for Disney on Ice. The kids were pretty excited because it was Toy Story 3. One of our favorite movies (actually, we love all 3). We had a snack while we waited for showtime.

The show was pretty cool, but we were all a bit disappointed that they didn't follow the story line of the movie more closely.

I think the army men were my favorites!

The kids really got into it. Another first for Landon and Sierra.
It was Cheyenne's first time too (that she remembers anyway).

I don't know that I've ever posted about how much I love Mr. Potato Head (I'll have to do that later). They were adorable!

Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!
After the show, we checked out some more of the exhibitors, played a couple of games, had some funnel cake, and said goodbye to the fair. It was a fun day, but we were pretty tired and still had a 2 hour drive to get home.

In honor of Tim Hawkins, we stopped at Chic-Fil-A for dinner. It was so good! I always think of my days at OSU when I eat there. It was one of the things available in the student union, so I ate there quite a bit. We had ice cream for dessert and it was delicious.

Such a great weekend! It was just what we needed.