Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Whew! What a day!

Yesterday was blissful, and fun, and exhausting!

We have so much STUFF now....and trust me, we had enough STUFF before! LOL

The girls were over the moon over many of their gifts, which made my husband and I very happy (its nice to get them things they will really enjoy, and won't be tossed aside quickly). I handpicked every gift they got from my those were all big hits as well! :-) I know my kids.

The biggest hits...a ball popper for the baby. Man, he loves that thing. A new X-games bike for my 8 yr old and a shopping spree for my 9 yr old.

Here are a few pictures:

This is SO Awesome! (I love this shot)

Here is my 8 yr old with her stuffed Yoda doll that my 9 yr old made for her.

Here is my 9 yr old with a new tradition we started this year, Rice Krispie Treat Christmas Tree's...they were very fun, and the kids all loved it!

As for me, and my AMAZING husband. I got a LAPTOP! It's AWESOME, and will allow me to spend more time on the computer, as my desktop is in our bedroom...and not easily accessible when the kids are all up because, well I can't sit in the back of the house locked in my room. But, now, I will be able to do things even when they are all up because I can be in the same room with them (provided they are all happily involved in other activities that don't require my assistance) and still be on here. Like right now, the girls are happily watching High School Musical 2 (a present from one to the other) as I type-the baby is happily napping.

I started a new blog as well, specifically dedicated to baby/toddler activities. Waterfront Preschool, not much going on just yet. I plan on starting more there in the coming week. Hopefully, I also need to prepare for the big consignment sale next week though, AND for the upcoming weeks for the girls. So, we'll see! I have one week already planned for the little man, but I will need to post it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My younger daughters birthday!

Here are just a few pictures from her party, which we had back on the 8th. Her actual birthday is this week, but waiting so close to Christmas usually means none of her friends are able to make it for her party. She had her party at the bowling alley where she bowls with her bowling league. It was a lot of fun!

Her Transformers cake!

Track out Week 2

Oh what a difference a week makes! While the weather last week was WARM and spring like, this week, this is what the kids have looked like outside:

Here are the pictures from Gingerbread House Day (last Wednesday):

And, this weeks Unplug your kids project, yarn!

These are yarn ornaments. We basically painted them with watered down glue, and let them sit to dry on the wax paper. My girls REALLY coated them with glue, and they still aren't dry. I'll post pics of the completed ornaments when I can peel them off the waxed paper! LOL
I've been feeling super busy lately, but I don't feel like I'm actually getting much done! With Winter Solstice approaching, I have lots I WANT to get done, but it seems like I'm barely treading water. We need to bake cookies for our Girl Scout meeting (we're doing a cookie exchange), and I need to gather things together to make a Yule wreath. We'll also be baking more cookies on Saturday (which happens to be my daughter's 8th birthday as well!!).
OH wait, before I forget! My daughter wants me to post that she did 1225 consecutive jumps on the pogo stick yesterday! She is quite proud of this accomplishment and asked if I could "put it on the page with the pictures on the internet" aka, our school blog! LOL So, there, I've put it on the page with the pictures on the internet.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Track Out Week 1!

We are "tracked out". Basically, we're done with school until the first of the year. We're following a year round schedule, and it's nice to have that all planned out by following the public school calendar. Of course, we don't follow it to the letter, but it's a nice guide.

Anyway, this week we decided to do the Unplug Your Kids challenge. The theme was "nature" and our NC weather couldn't have cooperated any better! Record high temperatures have made it feel like late spring in December! Here are a few pictures from Monday's nature time.

Who's tired???

His new favorite game....what can I see if I look THIS way?

What are THESE???

I took a bunch of pictures of the girls building a gingerbread house yesterday, being as it was Gingerbread House Day (thanks Kate!). But, I don't have time to upload those right now....never enough time! So, another day......

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Photos for Thanksgiving

I'm giving thanks this year for the birth of a beautiful, happy baby boy who has not only brought immense amounts of joy to my life, and the lives of everyone who loves him, but who gave me a new appreciation for my older girls. He has helped me to see them in a different way, and to love them even more. I am thankful for my older girls, who love their brother with such purity that it makes my heart swell. I am thankful that they love him so much they fight over who gets to hold him, or sit next to him in the car. I am thankful they are so helpful, and ready to teach him new things. I am thankful for my oldest dd's wonderful, unique sense of humor and her very own true to herself sense of style. I pray she will be able to hold on to those things as she grows. I am thankful for my younger dd's giving spirit, and her incredible empathy. I am thankful for my wonderful husband, who has shown me what true love, and devotion can do for someone's soul. And, I am thankful for the beautiful foliage we have here this year, despite the worst drought in recorded history.

I hope you all will have a wonderful thanksgiving, and look upon all the small things in life you have to be thankful for. Here are some pictures of my family, and our fall foliage!

My Future NFL star right there! LOL

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Week of November 12 (from the backside)

It was a productive week. We got school done each day, and attended a nature class through the parks and rec department. We had a great Girl Scout meeting in which all the age levels looked back on Veteran's Day, and we sent a large package to some soldiers (letters and cards). My girls learned how to fold a flag, and helped put together some packages for Operation Christmas Child.

Some of you may be waiting to hear about the art show....we ended up not attending. We had a major meltdown that day, and it prevented anything further from happening. So, we just stayed home. I was bummed, but what are ya gonna do? Some day, she'll outgrow these meltdowns...or at least that's what I'm telling myself.

Here is a photo of our Mercury Lapbook! I'm so excited about it, and I can't wait to finish up our Venus one. I'd like to do a Thanksgiving one, but we'll see if that happens this week or not! I have lots of other things we need to, baking, crafts. We'll see how it goes.

I was trying to figure out how to put up a "Thankful Tree" this year. It's a project we've done in the past, for several years now. It's just a paper tree on the wall, and each day we write down something we're thankful for on a paper leaf, and add it to the tree. Well, this year, I have a toddler who thinks it is GREAT fun to rip down any posters I have put up. Thanks to the ladies in my Homepreschool and Beyond group, we put it up on the window (why didn't I think of that?) If you look closely, you'll see we have some turkey's in our tree this year! LOL

After watching "Atlantis Squarepantis" (yes, I'm hanging my head in shame...BUT it did inspire them, that has to count for something!), my girls drew up a map and packed a bag and went on their own "expedition" to find Atlantis. Here they are:

The littlest student, has mastered standing up from a sitting position this week. He used to fall, then have to crawl to something he could pull himself up on. No MORE! Now he can stand up from sitting in the middle of the floor. He's growing WAY too fast.

Oh, another story I wanted to share. My youngest daughter (the one on the left in the above photo) has a birthday in a little over a month. She has stopped telling people she is 7. If you currently ask her "How old are you?" Her reply is always the same...."Almost 8."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Week of November 5

This week, we're beginning a unit on "the science of Autumn". I found a great book at the library titled The Nature and Science of AUTUMN by Jane Burton and Kim Taylor. I decided to start with seeds and berries, and their purpose. We've looked at a diagram of a seed, we learned the vocabulary, discussed the difference between a dicot seed and a monocot seed. Yesterday, we disected an apple seed and identified some parts. The girls REALLY liked that part. We began an experiment. And tomorrow we'll be going on a nature walk, and trying to find some more seeds and berries. We'll also be watching this great video, which goes along with this Krampf science experiment. I HIGHLY recommend the Krampf group (you don't even have to join to access the messages. They do one experiment a week, and it's a great group to "search" if you're looking for a quick experiment about whatever subject you might be covering.

Our first webquest went, ok. Aside from the writing assignment, it went great. And, overall it was a good experience as I learned that my children need a lot more help with creative writing. I hadn't previously realized how much they struggled with that, so it was an eye opener. They enjoyed the other tasks though, and we'll defineatly do another webquest soon!

We've finally finished the Mercury side of our lapbook, but the battery is dead in my camera, so I'll update later today with a picture of that. Then we plan on starting the Venus side, finally. I hadn't anticipated the review of these two planets taking so long...but oh well! They really know their facts about Mercury! :-)

Today is our "out day". We spend most of the day each Wednesday, out. We normally do the park, and library. Park first, so that my younger dd is calm and able to behave in the library. Today however, we are participating in a Homeschool Art Show. Luckily, it is right across the street from the park. So, we'll do the art show for awhile, then the park, then lunch, then head to the library. Today is also Homeschool Story Time day at one of the libraries....not the one that we normally go to, but we skip our normal library once a month for this special time. It's really a great thing! It's for kids 6 and up, and they read a book, do a craft, and sometimes there is music, etc. The librarian in charge of this program is fantastic, and my kids look forward to it.

For lunch, I think we'll be hitting Pizza Hut to use our Book-It certificates! Woo hoo. It will make for a LONG day...because the art show, and library are far enough away (but nicely enough close enough to each other) that we won't be coming home between any of our "out" activities. Hopefully, my baby will manage to get some sleep anyway (he likes his own bed at nap all day out is hard). I'm thinking I might drive around long enough after the art show that he'll fall asleep and sleep in the car while the girls play at the park.

I will edit to add more later, including art show photos!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our First Webquest!

Ok, so I was inspired by my friend Jenny, who does these great webquests with her dd. You can view her blog here. So, I googled it, and came to this site on Webquests. I looked at what they had, and modified one of the examples to get myself going. After some practice, I can see making up my own as I go along. But, for now, I'm happy to modify. :-) So, without further adieu....

Our First Webquest:

You've been selected to be the first explorers to journey to Mercury! Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to learn more about Mercury.

On your voyage, you will accomplish these great tasks! Investigate Mercury's surface, atmosphere, and core and write a short essay to compare and contrast it with planet Earth. Investigate what causes craters, and how long ago scientists believe those on Mercury were formed. Investigate how scientists have obtained the data we already have about Mercury.

After your expedition, make a list of similarities and differences between Mercury and Earth. Use your list to compose your essay. Read about Mercury here, to help you form your list.

Click here and look at pictures of Mercury's craters. Answer the following question: What is the largest crater on the surface of Mercury?

Draw a picture of Mercury's surface for your lapbook.

Read the "Description" here and, answer these questions:
1. What was the name of the craft that went to Mercury?
2. What were it's primary objectives?
3. Did it go anywhere else?

Add a picture of the spacecraft to your lapbook.

We hope you've enjoyed your journey to Mercury. Please stay seated until your computer-craft has come to a complete stop.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Week of October 29, 2007

Here are our ghosts. One is a shot of the one on the mailbox and the tree, then a close up of the one by the front door.

Today we did some of our review work, we played Mercury and Venus Jeopardy again (which is fun) and added a couple things to our lapbook. I like the way it's coming along and can tell that it will be a useful tool. It will be a good first effort anyway!

The girls wrote acrostic poems using the word AUTUMN. They were cute. DD#2 drew two scarecrows to compare and contrast. And DD#1 reviewed the parts of a newspaper and read an article about wind tunnels (which she was VERY into). She now is outside seeing if it is windy enough here for her to fly. I'll keep you updated on how that turns out. ;)

I'm waiting for the leaves to start changing colors, but at least it's finally starting to FEEL like Fall!!! Woo hooo. Fall is my favorite season.

Here is a video of my walking baby....I can't even believe it:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

And, then I got sick.

Well, my big plans last week were dashed to tiny bits strewn around my home! Because I, and the baby, got sick. I am finally feeling better, but I still have a lingering cough and the littlest has a runny nose. We managed to get only a minuscule amount of our review done. We completed some of our timeline, but only managed to play Mercury and Venus jeopardy and didn't really get into our lapbook. SO, we'll be doing another "Review Week" this week to finish up the things I really want to get to. I think this lap book is going to be awesome, and I'm at least as excited as the girls (maybe more so). I also decided on some really awesome fall crafts for the kids.

We'll be making luminaries out of jars. We made two already (we plan to make more), they are very cute! We just watered the paint down a little, and painted the entire outside of the jar with orange paint. We let that dry, then we painted on jack-o-lantern faces with black paint. Set a votive candle inside the jar, and voila! They turned out very cute...

We'll also be making ghosts! These are made out of garbage bags and smaller plastic bags. I made one as a "prototype" to see how easy they would be and if it would turn out the way I intended. I'll post a pic of these once the girls make some. But, the directions are simple. Take a garbage bag. If it's the drawstring kind, you need to cut out the drawstring. Stuff smaller plastic bags into it (originally, I thought I'd use newspaper, but then, I didn't have any on hand so I used plastic bags-like Target bags-and they worked fine!). Gather them into a HEAD, then tie the bag under the head (I used ribbon, you could use yarn, string, rope, a bread tie, whatever you have lying around...even a pipe cleaner would probably work). Then use a permanent marker to make a face (or not). Put a small hole in the top to run a string to hang it! Voila. You're done. It's super cute too. The girls were itching to make them, and then I got sick.

Lastly, well, for right now anyway, we will be making a scarecrow from paper bags. I have two of the large sized bags (grocery size) that we'll put together and stuff for the body. Then we'll make arms and legs out of smaller ones. My idea is to cut the bottom end off of one bag then join three bags together to make the legs and maybe two bags for the arms. These dimensions may be changed as I don't know how it will'll be a work in progress. Then we'll decorate a head and draw on some clothes etc. I think it will be fun, and hopefully it will be cute too. We'll see? :-)

The only project that did get completed this week was my oldest dd's centerpieces for our Girl Scout ceremony. They turned out beautifully! The flower one she made while I nursed the baby! The candle one I had to help some because we found out that school glue, and tacky glue won't glue silk leaves to floral foam AND hot glue will burn you through silk leaves. So, she directed and I did the sticking.

Hopefully, we'll have a more productive "Review Week #2"! Hopefully, we'll all stay well! The girls also made some "Discovery Bottles" for the baby, we've got two done-one is a red one (red glitter and red dyed water) and the other is a "stuff" one (it has STUFF in it! A heart shaped doily, some pom poms, some feathers, some popsicle sticks, some confetti, etc) They were very proud of themselves, and I updated the links to include the site that I am getting some more ideas from.

This afternoon we are off to a Halloween Spooktacular! Our homeschool group has put together a "Trunk or Treat" sort of thing. It should be lots of fun!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Look back, and ahead

Well, it's been a couple weeks since I blogged. We've taken almost that entire 2 weeks off for "fall break". We did school a few times (or activities that I deemed worthy of being called 'school'...a lot of our regular activities involve learning, so I count those as school days). But, mostly I've been trying to reclaim my house. My home has been lost to a mass of school projects, homemade christmas gift projects, and a very mobile baby (a 9 month old walker!) who enjoys creating the messes in the areas I just straightened. Also, I've been trying to tweek our schedule into something that makes us all happier and allows more freedom. I'll post what our new schedule is another day when I'm done working out all the bugs!

We attended a theater performance of The Velveteen Rabbit last week (it was great, performed by the Drama majors at one of the local colleges), as well as the state fair. We were able to find a friends entries into the fair, which was great. Oldest DD has decided she'd like to enter some things next year (a cooking project, and probably a sewing or knitting project as well). Younger DD was impressed with her friends rocket that was entered, and several other "building" type projects, so she may decide to enter something too. We also earned a Girl Scout badge while at the fair. We had soccer and dance and bowling league as well.

Since this will be our first week of school since the first week in October, we'll be doing a Review Week. Sort of refresh our memories on the things we've covered. We've been covering the Solar System (we've covered Sun, Mercury and Venus so far), and we'll be making a lapbook-our first-of the materials we've covered so far. I also found a great site with a printable review crossword puzzle (see links). We're also painting styrofoam balls and will eventually put them in order for a model (although, not to scale). I made some planet fact cards ( for the girls to sort, and we'll probably also play a version of Planetary Jeopardy later when I have all the sets made (what I have so far is only Mercury and Venus). We've covered chapters 1-11 in Story of the World, and we'll be reviewing that and constructing a timeline-our first-of what we've covered so far. I just have to be sure to put it up high enough that the littlest can't reach it on his tippy toes, as he really loves ripping things down (the US map, and the skeletal system poster have been his mosts recent victims). We'll be reviewing everything we've learned about the states we've covered so far (this is my oldest DD's favorite thing so far this year, who knew she'd be so into US geography). We'll also be reviewing grammar, and math concepts we've covered so far this school year (just to make sure they "got it" and still have it!).

I did get some work done on my math materials. I got a set of addition and subtraction facts cards printed, and partially cut out. I'm going to work some more on them this afternoon, and then tomorrow move on to social studies materials again. I'm going to continue working on state fact sheets, and flag sheets to complete our US geography units (although, that will actually take us the whole year). If I have any extra time, I'd like to work more on the world map units I'd like to do, but since we won't be doing world studies until next year...those can wait if need be. I'm also still working on felt sets for the littlest and finger puppets. I scored a puppet theater (table top sized) on craigslist for cheap (it even came with the puppets for the story of Puss in Boots!). My kids were very excited.

I also hope we'll get in some Fall crafts this week. I'd have some silk leaves, and I'd like to paint a couple of the pumpkins we got at the corn maze and farm (they are on the mantle currently, but they'd look even nicer painted). But, I need to look for some more ideas!!

We'll be making food for our Girl Scout ceremony on Friday, and my oldest dd is on the "decorating committee" (there couldn't be a better task for her, seriously) so we'll be making two centerpieces to take with us. FUN!

Stay tuned for pics..... Happy Homeschooling!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A busy, crazy, wonderful week.

Hello all! I hope you've had a great week. We were busy and it was crazy but we had a wonderful time! :-) We had bowling league on Monday, and soccer. Wednesday we did a corn maze (a maze cut through a corn field), and dance. Thursday we went out to a farm and spent all day, it was amazing and I can't wait to go back! We also had soccer on Thursday. It made for a busy time, but we had a lot of fun, so it was worth it.

DD#1 made lunch on Tuesday, Pita Pizza's. They are simple to make, and YUMMY. You just need pita's, pizza sauce, cheese, and any other topping you might like (we used cubed ham). Smear and bake. Easy peasy. Here are pictures of her making them:

Step1: Open pitas

Step 2: Add sauce

Step 3: Add grated cheese

Step 4: Add ham, and sprinkle parmesan.

Step 5: Bake!

Step 6: Enjoy!

I got a few things accomplished. I got my art cards laminated and cut out. I got my sound bottles made up, but not my smell ones. I'll have to postpone those until next time I guess. I also made a felt set for "Five Little Pumpkins" for the littlest. Here is the set, I printed from, and then a shot of him "finding" it.

I also copied and am working on cutting out the pictures from Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? for the felt board. Then I'll laminate them and put some velcro on the back so we can use them along with the story. I also got started on finger puppets for Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. I finished Goldilocks, but still need to work on the bears. I'm really surprised I got even this much done, since we really were only home 2 days this week. The next zone is: Language. I want to get some new grammar materials made for the girls, and also maybe some Spanish things. We'll see where my brain takes me as I get the grammar things done. It looks like a calmer week, so maybe I'll get more accomplished. I also need to finish our sign language cards. I have one set done, but I made 2 sets. The second is laminated and about 1/3 cut out. I'll get that done this week as well.

Here are some pictures from our trips to share:

Kids at the farm:

DD#2 almost completley buried in corn!

The littlest, not quite sure he liked the corn (he was being so very dramatic all day):

Deciding maybe it's not so bad after all:

Heading into the corn maze at the farm (we had done one the day before too):