Monday, December 13, 2010
The discussion of D.C. turned into a discussion about our three branches of government. That led to discussing how a bill becomes a law. We made up some silly laws and talked about why they would be ridiculous. :) We talked about some real laws and why they were necessary.
One law we talked about was in regards to illegal drugs, which led to us discussing where they come from and why people want them. We talked a bit about Colombia and the impact that the illegal drug trade was having on a country that is tied to the girls' heritage.
All of that led us to a discussion on war and why they are fought. We talked about World War II and our recent war with Iraq. We talked about September 11th and what it means to have national pride.
We tied it all up by having apples for a snack and talking about how to make an apple pie. All in all it was a great day to homeschool. My kids gained lot of new knowledge that led to meaningful discussions and we got to have a yummy snack.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
This morning she spent about an hour reading about the author of her new favorite books. She got out her little calendar and wrote down the dates of upcoming releases and planned how/when she would buy each one. I found it quite charming. She is currently writing a letter to this author. I have taken this opportunity to explain the proper way to write a letter and address an envelope. It just tickles my heart when homeschooling just ties into our everyday life.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
This is Noah prior to getting his hair cut. Notice the adorable blonde curls. It was almost painful to watch them be cut off, however, he now looks like a little boy instead of a little girl.
Annie's new style. Of course, it's not really new since she gets her hair cut like this once or twice a year. She goes back and forth between wanting long hair and short hair, so this is a perfect compromise.
This is Meg's new style. She opted to go the shortest she has ever gone. She kept telling the stylist to cut a little bit more and a little bit more. She is thrilled with the fact that it is straight, however, that is not how it will be most days. Meg has curly hair and I don't have the time to blow dry it straight each day. The good news is that it looks adorable when curly too.
This is what I did to my hair! I cut off almost 9 inches! You can't tell from the photo but my hair is actually shorter in the back than it is in the front. It's kind of a funky bob. So far I love it! It's so much easier to fix. The only drawback is that it's not long enough to pull back, which may end up driving me crazy. Hey, it's only hair though and it will grow.
I don't have a photo of our visit with Santa. Well, actually I do have a photo but I just haven't scanned it in yet. I was pretty excited because I have a pic with all four kiddos sitting with Santa at the same time! I had to beg and plead with Annie to get her to do it but she eventually gave in. Noah loved Santa this year. In fact, he was upset when it was time to leave Santa! I think he could have chilled on Santa's lap all day.
So, it was a fun day. One for the memory books.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The best part is that when I finally manage to start feeling better, I will end up with four sick kids. Of course, I won't be totally back to my normal self before I am stuck wiping snotty noses, dragging kids to the doctor's office and spending a small fortune on medicine that may or may not make them feel better. Oh, the joy.
I remember the days before kids when a sick day meant snuggling up on the couch with a warm blanket, a cup of tea and a great DVD. I can still snuggle up on the couch but I end up with children crawling on me and putting their cold feet on me. I can still have a cup of tea but it usually ends up with a matchbox car tossed in it or slurped at an alarming rate so that it won't be spilled by little hands. I can still watch a DVD, however, I don't consider anything with Dora, Bob the Builder or Barbie a "great" movie. Yes, the times have changed.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I took all three girls to the dentist this morning. I made the appointment for 8am? Who does that? What sane mother does something so foolish? In order to get all four kids and myself ready and out the door, we were up at 6am. That's early for this homeschooling family! We usually start tumbling out of bed closer to 8am. I was a bit stressed getting everyone out the door and into the van but I managed. I had been concerened about Lily's teeth. She has several cavities on her bottom molars that have perplexed me. She has the same eating habits as her sisters as well as the same brushing habits....they have never had cavities. The good news is that the dentist said they were very shallow and had basically stopped decaying, so we don't even need to fill them! Yeah! For now, we will keep an eye on them. Once again, Annie and Meg are cavity free! Noah will get his first dental check up this spring when the girls go back for their next cleaning.
Carlos is taking a four day weekend starting tomorrow! I am so excited! We have several little projects to do around the house, so I am hoping we can check a few of those off. I also suggested he go ahead and hang the Christmas lights. I figure it's better to do it now than wait two weeks and do it when it's 32 degrees outside. Makes sense, right? He didn't seem to see it that way. I imagine I will have to do a bit of nagging to get it accomplished. Poor man.
I have my first OB appointments set up! I am seeing the nurse for my health history and lab work right after Thanksgiving and I will see my OB a few days after Christmas! I should be able to hear the baby's heartbeat at that appointment...I can't wait! I had to drag out the maternity clothes yesterday. I suppose that's what happens when you get to pregnancy number five. I am only about six weeks along and I am already wearing maternity jeans! Good grief!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
We (meaning me) used to set a dollar amount for each child and then buy until I ran out of money. That worked fine when we had only one child. Fast forward to the Christmas of 2007 and I saw the error of my ways. There were so many gifts (for three kids) that we could hardly move around our Christmas tree! It was excessive and turned our children into greedy little brats. They would unwrap a gift, look at it, toss it behind them and move on. I was ashamed by their actions! So, I vowed that wouldn't happen again. We now buy only three gifts for each child and spend no more than $100 for each child. Of course, if one of them is into Polly Pockets, it doesn't mean they only get three little Polly Pockets. I would group a bunch of them together and that would count as one gift. If one wants earrings, she wouldn't get just one pair, she would receive a few pairs boxed together. It has been working for the last two years and I hope it continues to work. We certainly had a lot less toys tossed aside after a few moments of playtime. The kids have seemed a bit more appreciative of what they receive and they are starting to learn the value of a dollar and whether a particular toy is worthy of making their final list.
Here is what I am thinking:
She really wants her own video camera. Sounds simple enough until I realized that just that one gift was likely to blow the $100 limit I set for each kid! I figured that a little pocket camcorder was going to run me around $50 and that I would have enough left over to buy her a couple other items. Wrong! Right now, the cheapest contender is $65. I will be letting Carlos make the final decision since he is the electronics guru in our house. We are trying to decide between a Flip, the Kodak Zx1 and the RCA Small Wonder.
I am out of any other ideas for her. She mentioned wanting a guitar but I don't know how much actual use it would get. Carlos has offered to teach her how to play (he plays a little) to get her started. She is also into clothes, so maybe a gift card to Justice or Target so she could have a little shopping trip? Books are always a winner with her so that is on the table as well.
She is virtually impossible to buy for! She likes EVERYTHING! Meg has no specific interests. If it's pink and sparkles she will probably like it. Last year she was all about American Girl dolls and clothes, however, this year that hasn't even been mentioned. I know she is big into Barbie, but how many naked blonde Barbies do we really need? Maybe some Barbie clothing sets would work. I know in the past she has mentioned a Barbie pool, so that's one way to go.
Lily is my easiest child to shop for. She has a very few specific things that she is into and would be happy with anything that has to do with any of them. She is into My Little Pony, Polly Pocket, Puppy in my Pocket and Disney Princesses. I have already gotten her a Tiana doll and a Naveen doll from The Disney Store. I will throw in a DVD of The Princess and the Frog to round it out. She is also getting the My Little Pony Mermaid Castle Playset along with several little sets to go with it.
I am so excited to shop for my little man this year! I will have to make sure I don't go overboard. I have already gotten him one Sing-A-Ma-Jig and I plan to get him at least one more. Have you seen these things? They are so cute! They sing alone or you can have several of them harmonize!
So, that's what I am thinkg for my gang. Any neat ideas you have that you care to share? Leave a comment and let me know!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
We are making a chicken into a mummy for our Egyptian studies. It's been an interesting and long process. I am guessing you won't find kids doing this in public schools. Of course, it's also pretty gross so that is probably a good thing!
Annie has been busy building her own robots! She is even programming them! She seems to be taking after her Daddy, the mechanical engineer.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Add a few family issues and many bouts of illness and I am just over it! We are currently battling yet another round of sickness in our house. It's an odd combo of various things that point to no particular cause. Lily, Noah and myself had some sort of stomach virus that left us unwilling to eat and curled up on the couch. Megan is now suffering from some sort of cold/virus. She has spent the last two days with a high fever, sore throat and runny nose. Annie and Carlos are the only family members who have remained healthy, although I imagine they will be knocked flat this holiday weekend.
So, I know that it's not technically Fall and won't be for most of the month. However, I can now see a light at the end of the miserable Summer tunnel and that brings a slight smile to my face. I am looking forward to cool, crisp days where we can play at the park. I am looking forward to Lily going to preschool! It will be good for all of us. I am looking forward to my Mom's visit at the end of the month. We have plans to go apple picking and try our hand at making homemade apple sauce! All in all I will be happy to turn around and wave "buh-bye" to the Summer of 2010.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Last Thursday, Noah had his 18mo. check up. I am proud to say that he has plumped up a bit! Up until now, he has been hovering between the 3rd and 7th percentile in weight. This time, however, he is at the 23rd percentile! He is a solid 24lbs.! It doesn't surprise me, the boy eats like a fiend. His meal portions are as big as his sisters' and he is still begging for more when his plate is clean! He is still around the 50th percentile for height. I know that Carlos was hoping he would be taller, but I kind of like my tiny peanut. I think it's because I know he is my last baby and I am treasuring all the "baby" stuff so much. So, if he stays smaller longer...that's fine by me.
Saturday the kids all got promoted to their new rooms at church! It was so strange. Annie is now in the 3rd grade room, which she loves because it has video game systems! Meg is in the pink 1st grade room. I don't think she is too thrilled about it. I believe most of her friends were put into the orange first grade room. When I picked her up after service she was crying and hanging onto the teacher's leg. She has been a bit wonky about going to church as of late. I am hoping it's just a phase. Lily is now in a preschool room! She got to leave the room to go to childrens' chapel, which she loved! She's such a big girl! Noah moved up to the 2yr. old room. He hated it, but that's not unusual. He hated the 1yr. old room too. Whatever the reason, he just does not enjoy being separated from Mommy and Daddy. You would think after going to church for months he would get the idea by now. I guess he is trying to hold onto his babyhood too.
Lily and I went shopping on Sunday. It's become sort of a tradition lately. She and I buzz out on Sunday morning and do the weekly shopping. It's been nice to spend that one on one time with her. I don't often get a chance to do that. We had an interesting trip to Target. Lily was sitting in the cart and got a bit overzealous and ended up head butting me in the face, which caused me to get a bloody nose! Sounds fun, huh? She was crying because she was scared and I was crying because it REALLY hurt! I bet we were a sight! A cookie and a balloon at Kroger calmed her down and I had to settle for some Oreos. I think we both made out well.
We went to the library on Monday. We managed to come home with a ton of books, which kept the kids busy most of yesterday. They are all turning into little bookworms. Especially Annie! She is totally in love with books. Her latest obsession is audio books. She listened to the first book in the Little House series last week and this week she is continuing on with the rest of the series. We went to the park one day last week and she and Meg collected acorns so they could bring them home to use as cups for their dolls! So sweet.
We have been plugging away at school. I am still on the hunt for a reading curriculum for Megan that will actually excite her. We tried Abeka last year and she was bored to tears. We have been using Teach Your Child to Read in a 100 Easy Lessons this year and she isn't fond of it. I am thinking of trying Hooked on Phonics but haven't settled on it for sure. Anyone have any suggestions?
Well, I guess my computer time is over. The kids are finished with breakfast and begging for umpteen zillion things....must go attend to them. Until later....
Saturday, August 14, 2010
I am really excited about this school year! I am loving our History and Science curriculums! We opted to use The History of the World this year and it has been a lot of fun. The way this particular curriculum works is that you spend one school year studying one particular time period in history. We are just beginning so we are starting off with Volume I, which covers Ancient History, which is something I actually know very little about. I am not sure if it was just something that was never covered well when I attended school or if it was taught and I just forgot/didn't pay attention. Whatever the reason, I am psyched about filling my head, along with my girls', with all this new information. We began by learning about the first people and have progressed on to learn about Ancient Egypt. This week we will be learning about hieroglyphics and we will make our own clay tablets with our names written in hieroglyphics! Neat, huh? We will also be doing various other projects that tie into our lessons as the year progresses. Later this month or next, we will be making our own mummy out of a chicken!
We are using Apologia, Exploring Creation through Astronomy for our science curriculum this year. This is also an area where I don't have much knowledge. Sure, I know the basics but no real information beyond that. We will be building our own model of the solar system this week! I can't wait.
I am just really excited about our homeschool year! I am also excited because Lily will be heading off to preschool in the Fall. It will be her first year and she will attend two mornings per week. She is very excited. I am looking forward to the time with the other kids and I am thrilled that Lily is finally getting to do something that is just for her. Of course, I will probably sniffle quite a bit on the first day or two as I drop her off.
So, in a nutshell I am so thrilled that we were actually able to accomplish a bit of school this week and that I and the kids are pumped about some of our new curriculum choices. I will try to post more regularly with updates about our fun homeschool activities!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
We are off to a rocky start. Noah started working on a cold over the weekend and it has grown progressively worse. Last night, Carlos and I were both awake a good portion of the night with one sick little boy. I almost wish he were pulling at his ears so I had an excuse to take him to the doctor's office. I am pretty sure it would be a wasted visit to go at this point. He just seems to have a really yucky summer cold. Annie woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat and has been lazing around all morning with a runny nose and red eyes. I am also dealing with a rather sore throat.
So, no school was accomplished yesterday and things aren't looking good for today either. I am determined to get some learning in though. Maybe we will all snuggle and read books later this afternoon when Noah is napping. At least that way I at least put in some effort.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Oh wait! I just remembered that I did accomplish something in July. I made up binders containing the girls' schoolwork for the the 2009/2010 school year. That's something, right? At least now, if the homeschooling police decide to show up on my doorstep, I am covered!
I have been homeschooling off and on all summer. I decided it worked better for our family just to homeschool year round. Now we can take time off when it suits us through the course of the year. I often find that I want to do nothing between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we may try that this year. We are also taking our Fall break in September because my Mom will be visiting us then. It just works better for us. That's the beauty of homeschooling...you can do whatever works best for your family! I love it!
I took more of an ecclectic approach to our curriculum this year. Last year, since it was my first year of homeschooling, I went with a more traditional approach. I simply bought all of our curriculum from the same place and followed the lesson plans. This year I investigated different curriculum that interested me and did a bit of picking and choosing. For anyone who is interested, this is what we are using:
Annie (3rd grade):
Math - Abeka
History - The Story of the World
Science - Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy
Bible - Beginnings II
Writing - Handwriting without tears
Grammar - Easy Grammar
Spellilng - All About Spelling
Megan (1st grade):
Math - Singapore
History - The Story of the World
Science - Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy
Bible - Beginnings II
Writing - Handwriting without tears
Reading - Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Phonics - Explode the Code
Spelling - All About Spelling
I am still trying to decide what to do in regards to Reading for Annie. Anyone have any brilliant suggestions?
So, we will be diving back into school on a daily basis with a bit more structure than we had all summer. I am looking forward to getting back into the routine of things around here. I find if I follow a set schedule I accomplish more than if I just float through each day with no agenda.
I am hoping to blog more as well.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Recently, we did a little something fun in our kitchen. We have been needing a place to keep track of the weekly schedule so we transformed this:
It's perfect and exactly what we needed! Now I can jot down our weekly schedule and we always know, with a quick glance, what we have going on. It's particularly useful when you have six people to keep track of.
While we had the chalkboard paint out, we went ahead and painted a chalkboard in the school room. The girls love it!
I have also been meaning to come up with something to keep the girls' many bows and clips better organized. So, I made these:
Super easy and super cheap! Perfect! Now, I no longer have to dig through little baskets searching for the perfect hair clip. I actually need to make another one because there are still many bows and clips that just wouldn't fit on these two. Yikes!
So, I managed to knock out a few projects this month. Of course, that only leaves about five hundred yet to complete!
Friday, March 5, 2010
I have always been an avid reader. I devour books. However, since having children I have not spent nearly as much time reading as I would like to. Each child I have has meant less time reading. I have taken to ordering books online from Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Not only does that mean a lot of money but it also means a lot of guilt if I find (50 or so pages in) that I don't like the book. I have gone to the library as an adult but once having children my visits became few and far between. Mainly because it's so hard to go to the library with a bunch of whining kids in tow. However, my children are getting older and I am getting more nerve. Either that or I have just decided that my brood can run about like lunatics and I will ignore the dirty looks from the librarians and other patrons. :)
I have recently been visiting the library again! Even better, I have discovered the online catalog and the joy of ordering the books and they will be waiting for me to pick up when I can. So, now I breeze into the library and simply head up to the counter to pick up my books! The kids wander in the childrens' section and I don't have to force them to hush while I try to find books for myself. It's wonderful! Today I picked up my "on hold" books. The librarian was laughing because I picked up 24 books! Yep, you read that right! Of course, not all of those books are for me. A few are for my kiddos and some have to do with our homeschool American history lessons. I love it though! I have been reading a book a day this week and I feel great! No TV! It's been awesome!
So, that is my little ode to the library. I am off to read!
Monday, March 1, 2010
Our biggest change is that we are going TV free! Yep, we are not going to watch TV at all! We are getting rid of cable! No more DVR. No more commercials. No more nights chained to the TV. I am both scared and excited about it. I will miss my DVR, however, I can just watch all the shows I want to online when it's convienent for me. I won't miss the commercials and all the "gimmes" they bring. I won't miss listening to my kids fight over which show they are going to watch. I am looking forward to having more time to read, more time to read to my children and more time to explore other hobbies. We will still have our DVD players and our subscription to Netflix, so movies will still be abundant in our house. The nice thing is that we will be in control of what we watch and when we watch it! So, cross your fingers and say a prayer for us. I will keep you updated on how it goes.
We are also changing our eating habits. We recently watched the documentary, Food Inc. and it really made us think about how and what we eat. We are getting rid of processed snacks in our home. No more chips. No more Goldfish. No more sugary fruit snacks. No more soda. We are encouraging our children to eat fruits, veggies, yogurt or string cheese when they want to snack. I like to think that we were pretty good before but we can do even better. The kids are getting a veggie with every lunch and dinner. It was hard the first couple of days but last night my kids actually fought over a bag of carrots at dinner! We are trying to eat meat that has been raised in a way that we feel is best...grass fed beef, no hormones, no antibiotics, etc.... We are switching to organic milk. We are going to buy fruits and veggies locally. We are trying to eat more naturally. I am going with the rule that if I can't recognize and/or pronounce the ingredients of a food item then I am not going to buy it. We will make more things from scratch. It will be a lot of changes for us but I feel they are in the best interest of our family.
I am hoping all of this will work out for the best. I am hoping we will end up spending more quality time with our children. I am hoping we will all be healthier. I am hoping that we are instilling good eating habits in our children. I supppose, only time will tell.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
I love the colors! Aqua and green look fantastic together! Especially when you throw in a bit of white and yellow! The Tractor stuff for little boys is just too adorable for words! I think it's the perfect blend of cute and boy...not too babyish.