Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mornings at the Harmon house

Mornings are kind of quiet around our house. As quiet as it can be with 4 kids in the house, anyway. On the weekdays, I usually let the kids sleep until they wake up on their own. Wednesday is the only day of the week we have a schedule to keep. Landon has speech at 10:00, so we have to leave the house by 9:30. Other than that, we're pretty laid back in the mornings.

Our number one rule for school mornings is "No TV or computer until schoolwork is finished." When the kids get up, they (are supposed to) make their beds, get dressed, and eat breakfast. My plan is that I will have everything I need to prepare for the school day ready by the time they all finish breakfast and get the kitchen cleaned up. Some days it takes me a little longer than I plan to prepare and they have some free time. This is where our second rule comes in-"If you can't find something to do on your own, mom will find you something to clean."

They have gotten pretty good at finding things to do. Sometimes they play their DS's, but it doesn't take long before they're bored with that. Other days it's legos, play dough, Mr. Potato Heads, drawing, reading, magic tricks, or board games. Rarely, if the grass isn't wet with dew, they go outside and play on the trampoline or ride bikes.

Today things took a little longer than I would have liked. I decided to make a couple of games that I saw on pinterest and it took more time than I expected. When I finally had everything ready, this is how I found them.

Cheyenne was coloring her box from Build-A-Bear (actually, it was Build-A-Dino inside T-Rex at Downtown Disney),
Sierra was reading a library book we're returning tomorrow,
and Dakota was giving Landon a chess lesson.
While they were busy with all of that, here's what I was doing.

First, I made a couple of games using Easter eggs (better late than never, right?).
The first one was for sight word practice.

After they play a few times, I'm going to make it a little harder by just giving them the list of words without the boxes. Later on, I'll take the list away and have them unscramble to words from memory.

The second egg game is for practicing word families.
Today, I just had them practice turning the top of the egg and reading the words. Next time, I will have them write the words they make on the paper. I put it in a sheet protector so they can use a dry erase marker and reuse the paper many times. This will be a really easy activity for me to change up so we can use it over and over again.

I also made another sight word activity for them today.
I found this pattern block page at PreKinders . There are a lot of different designs to choose from. Next week, I'm going to take the labels off the blocks and have the kids draw word cards instead. Then, they'll have to figure out which piece they need for the word they draw.

Finally, I made a lego tower with the memory verse on it so they could build the verse.
I usually do this with the bigger Duplo blocks, but I think I like the small ones better. I like this activity because they have to build it backwards and really think about which word they're looking for. It's been really great for helping Landon work on fine motor skills as well.

Tomorrow is Wednesday. We have to be up and out the door early (for us), so I should probably get busy setting up everything we'll need for tomorrow. I'll be glad I did when school time comes around.

I am NOT as crazy as some might think!

So, when we had given up on finding the rest of the clues, Dakota blew out her candles (again) and we had some more cake and ice cream.

Once I got the kids all sugared up, I sent them to bed. Ha!

I spent another 1/2 hour or so looking for the missing clues. I looked everywhere she had already found one, just in case. Then, I looked in all the places I had thought about hiding clues, but didn't. I still came up with nothing.

Finally, I decided that they would turn up sometime when we weren't looking for them. I sat down at the computer to do some blogging and facebooking. When I was trying to type a status update and it came out as dddddddddddddddddddd because I fell asleep with my finger on the d key, I decided it was time to go to bed. I went into the kitchen to turn off the lights and double check that the back door was locked-it was.

I was turning to go back into the kitchen when something caught my attention.
Ta-da! The three missing clues!

I can assure you that I did not put those three clues on the dryer. There were two different clues hidden in the laundry room, so Dakota must have set them down when she went to get one from in there. I was so excited, I actually considered waking her up to show her!

Instead, though, I left them until morning so she could finish the puzzle and get the full effect.
Makes much more sense now, right?

So, I get to take my name off the ballot for "Dork of the Year," for now.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Good thing I wasn't in charge of hiding the Easter eggs!

Wow! It's been a looooong time since I've posted anything here. I keep saying that I'm going to get back into a regular posting routine but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe someday soon...But tonight, I did something that just has to be told, something that only I would do and that will definitely qualify me for the Dork of the Year Award. If you know me in real life, you won't be a bit surprised...

This was a very important weekend in our family. This little baby girl

turned 14 on Sunday! Hard to believe!

On Saturday evening, we celebrated her birthday with family at our house. Per her request, I made rainbow chip cupcakes, put them side by side, and frosted over the top. She was quite pleased with how it turned out.
We lit the 14 candles for her to blow out

and she opened her presents cards.

It was a lot of fun!

In our family, the kids usually get two birthdays a year-the one we celebrate with family/friends and their actual birthday day with just us as a family. We usually save most of the gifts from Daniel and I for their actual birthday.

Dakota is tough to shop for. It took a while, but I finally came up with an idea I thought she would like-tickets for her and Daniel to go see The Hunger Games together. So last night after dinner, I ran into town to pick up a gift certificate for the theater.

When I got to the theater, I was told that they don't sell gift certificates. So, I had to come up with plan B. After a few minutes, I had it! I would do a scavenger hunt for clues to tell her what her gift was.

I went to the Dollar store and picked up a cute little 24 piece puzzle, then went to Wal-Mart for a few more small gifts to go with it. I took it all home and put the puzzle together. I then turned it over and wrote a message on the back. "Dear Dakota, you have a date with dad this weekend. You are going to see The Hunger Games movie. Have fun! Happy Birthday!"

I took the puzzle apart and put each piece into an envelope and sealed it. Then, I wrote a clue on the outside of each envelope and hit them around the house. Every 4th or 5th clue would send her back to the table to open another gift. When she found the last clue and opened gift #6, she could open all the envelopes, put the pieces together, and find out what her last gift was.

She LOVED it!
She found a clue under her kitchen chair
One behind a picture on the side of the fridge
and one behind our memory verse.
The other kids were having fun too. A couple of times, she had to get some input from them to figure out the clue.
It was so much fun! And it went really well, until she opened gift #3. The clue said, "Do you see a pattern here?" Dakota ran to the bookshelf and lifted up the container of patten blocks, but NOTHING was there. She gave me a puzzled look and then turned the container around to look inside it. Still nothing...

That's when I realized that I didn't remember actually putting anything with the pattern blocks. I remembered writing the clue but I didn't remember actually going over and hiding it. After a few minutes of thinking and looking, I told her to just go ahead and open the 4th gift.

Things went smoothly again after that and she found the rest of the clues just fine. Once she had them all, she opened all the envelopes and started putting the pieces together. As I counted them, I discovered that we didn't just miss a clue, we missed 3! And I had NO CLUE where they were.

When she finished putting it together, this is what it looked like

You saw that right-the three missing pieces were the most important words of the message!

I just died laughing! Leave it to me to lose the three most important clues of the whole thing! And I still have no idea where they are. I have looked everywhere I can think of. I can remember all kinds of places that I had thought about putting a clue and then changed my mind, but I cannot remember at all where those last three are.

Luckily, she figured out the message without them and we all had a good laugh. I decided it's just a way to make her special day last longer because I know we'll come across one later on when we're least expecting it.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who does things like that!