Friday, April 26, 2013

Flashback Friday: Over the Shoulder Glance at our week.

Monday:  Manic.  That is all.

Tuesday:  This is our normal "free" day, and I spent a decent chunk of it ALONE with my mama.  My children always act like it is treasonous for me to spend time alone with "Grandma."  They always seem to forget that she was MINE first, and they should thank their lucky stars that I share her with them.  We sat and talked for nearly 4 hours.  It was pretty heavenly.

Wednesday:  The Punk took the kids out of the house, and they were gone for 5 hours.  What did I do with that time?  I cleaned.  Since I spent Tuesday (my normal "at home" day) with my mom, I didn't get anything done here at home really.  I cleaned the bathroom, and the kitchen and cleaned out the fridge, and caught up some laundry.  I'm a wild woman when left home alone, to my own devices.

Thursday:  The Punk took Four to his art class, and I stayed home and helped the girls with school work.  I worked on the blog, and did some promotion (share, share, share my space!)  Two and I had the chance to feed our plant!  This was exciting for all of us.  We're goobers like that.

Today:  We have co-op this afternoon and the subject is Amphibians, Reptiles and Fish.  I'm leading and once again, I'm really looking forward to it.  This is an exciting subject for me! I hope the kids enjoy it, even half as much as me.

Random:  I found a triceratops horn on the coffee table this morning, there must have been an epic battle during the night.

Happy Kids, Inc

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Skinny Housewife: Roasted Parm/Mozzerella tomatoes

With garden season upon us, and the sorrow that I didn't get a garden started AGAIN this year, I'm going through recipes for things that I will be able to pick up from the farmers market over the next few months.

I had some tomatoes that I bought at Aldi (if you have one near you, and you haven't checked it out, I recommend doing so) and since One has become vegetarian we are exploring more veggie options--so the choice is working out for the whole family.

Find the original recipe here!

You know what's next, dontcha?

The changes I made:

I used roma tomatoes.  I used part skim mozzerella and just cut it off the block and put it on top of the tomatoes.  About 10 minutes in-I sprinkled on some parm.  The cheese melted all over the place, but they were SOOOOO good.  I will certainly be making these again over the summer when tomatoes are plentiful! Yum-O.

The Punk liked them a lot as well.  One and I loved them.  The rest of the crew wrinkled up their noses and I refused to waste any on them.  ;)

Also cooked last night were green bean fries.  Oh.  Mah.  Gah.  I could eat a whole bushel of them, but they aren't really a skinny addition to the diet...

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordy Wednesday: Starting Over

Homeschooling continually teaches me things.  One of the recurring lessons is that it is TRULY acceptable to scrap this plan and start over.  After reviewing all the girls grades yesterday, I realized that we needed to hatch a new plan.  They were both currently failing.  Yes, you read that right.  Homeschoolers.  Failing.  My kids-under my own roof, being guided by a computer....are doing a half-assed job of school and subsequently have very sub-par grades.

For Two this isn't THAT big of a deal.  She's working the same grade (with the exception of math) as her sister, when she shouldn't actually be in that grade.  I've asked her many times before now if the work is too hard.  She is a smart, hard working kid and it seemed so odd to me that she would be having such a hard time if the work wasn't just over her head and overwhelming her.  She insisted that it's not that.  I've explained that it is is a grade ahead, and she shouldn't feel BAD if it were too hard, but she still says that's not it.

For One, it IS a big deal as this is the grade she SHOULD be in, and she is failing it.  Six weeks from the end of the "school" year, and she A) is 2 months behind because she just doesn't finish her assignments when they are assigned, and B) failing.  Unacceptable.

This, of course, isn't the first time we've had discussions about it.  And, for awhile, it did get better.  Grades were brought up to B's and C's.  I was pleased, but they have slipped back down.  This is MY fault.  I have scheduled in time to check their work EVERY day, and nearly every day I am in the middle of something else at that time and I allow myself to think "I'm sure they did their work, and did fine."  Lying to yourself is never beneficial to anyone.  Proof is in the pudding.

After checking in on the status of school work yesterday, I was sad and frustrated.  I let it ramble around in my brain for a bit.  Then I talked it over with The Punk and we arrived at a decision.  I sat with the girls and explained that:  with 6 weeks left in the curriculum, it seemed POINTLESS to me to have them complete it, only to have to START OVER, so we were just going to declare a mulligan and wipe the slate clean.

Then, we had to discuss the rules for starting over:

1.  *I* have to be on top of this.  I will be checking EVERY SINGLE DAY to make sure that they have done all the assigned work, but ALSO that they have PASSED every thing.
2.  They are expected to pass every single subject.  Failing grades are unacceptable here just like they would be if they were in public school.
3.  They are expected to complete ALL work ON TIME.  Just like if they were in public school!
4.  Failing grades will result in needing to complete an assignment again.
5.  Failing grades/late assignments will result in GROUNDING.  No phones, no tv, no outside.
6.  Because we are starting over in late April there will be NO SUMMER BREAK.  Yes, they will still get to go to the pool (unless they get grounded) but there will be no official break, except the one week they will be spending on vacation with their bio-dad.
7.  The school term changed for them both.  One has until December 19th (Xmas break) to FINISH this year's work, and will start the next grade up on Jan 4 and be expected to finish it before August of 2014 (effectively finishing 2 grade levels before 2014-2015 school year, keeping her on track with her friends.)  Two, however, has until May of 2014 to finish THIS year's work.  This spaces the work out more for her, but still keeps her right on track with her friends.  Then in August of 2014 she will either enter public high school, OR start the next grade level at home.

They were both excited about the prospect of getting to start over.  For One, it was about the new feeling of not being "behind," at the start of every day.  I understand that!!  I HATE that feeling as well.  For Two, failing is HARD for her, so getting to start over was blissful.  They understood and agreed to the new set of rules.  We talked about the importance of looking AHEAD, because far too often they would wake up on Thursday and realize they were assigned a quiz!  This meant they had not studied at all for the quiz, and would fail miserably.  I showed them (again) how to pull up the weekly calendar so they can SEE when a quiz is coming so they can study.  This will also be helpful in seeing when projects/papers are due.  We talked about not waiting until 2 days before a paper is due to BEGIN it!  I explained that even if they only spend 15-30 minutes a day working on it, it can be easily managed in the time they are given (usually 2 weeks for papers.)  We talked about taking notes on the lessons (since they cannot access them on the computer once they are of my few complaints about the program,) and rereading ALL the notes from the section EVERY SINGLE DAY.  If they would just spend a few minutes going over the notes from the previous days, and then a concentrated hour or so the night before the quiz, they will be passing with flying colors!

I'm excited by the chance to just begin again!  It's one of the best things about homeschooling, IMO.  When something doesn't work, I can just throw my hands up and scratch that plan and start again.  I'm appalled at myself for letting it get to this point, yes, but I will not let it slip again.  As I've said many, many times here on this blog in the last year, I've been having a rough time personally for the last 2 years.  I'm getting things back on track, and this was something that slipped through my cracks.  I was putting too much energy into other areas, areas that I'm able to give less of my time and energy now.

*Cheers to starting over and seeing greater benefit*

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.
Napoleon Hill 

parents as teachers

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Two for Tuesday!  My favorite activity is the Synonym  Garden about half way down the page.  It's paint chips used to make a flower of synonyms.  Love it.

Three is currently working on money concepts.  So we will be doing the "Piggy Bank Booklets" shared on Mrs. Bremer's Kindergarten.  I love the coin rubbing idea!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Manic Monday!

It's that time again...for a crazy Monday.  I got lunch and snacks for the kids for today all packed up yesterday, though, so that should make it much easier to get out the door (I realize I possibly just jinxed myself!)  I just have to pack stuff for myself!  The Punk took out a chicken last night, he will be on dinner duty as I will only be home a couple hours this afternoon before heading back out.  It's nice to not have to think about that!  Especially on a day when I leave the house at 9AM, return around 4PM, and head out again around 6PM.

I shared a link to a small printable pack on my Facebook page yesterday, and here is another great link for you all to use to celebrate Earth Day today!  We will do Earth Day stuff for the remainder of our week, with the exception of Friday (kindergarten co-op day, and we are studying animal classification.)  We won't get any "school" done today-Manic Monday is our "extra curricular activity" day.

Off to pack solid fuel for my day--including a post workout snack!  I far too often forget to pack something for AFTER my Zumba class and then I'm ravenous, blowing through my lunch at 11 AM and still having teh entire afternoon to get through, leaving me making poor snack choices.  Today I vow to be better.  We all should have a balanced breakfast (the link is for breakfast ideas for people whom are diabetic BUT I think the ideas are great, so I share anyway.)  Start your day off on the right foot.

Have a glorious Monday, y'all!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Snapshot Sunday

This was an assignment from Read and Learn with Classic Stories.  The assignment read:  What do you think would happen if the three bears went to Goldilock's house?  Three said he thought they'd have pizza.  :)

Toss, read, and write.

Ingenuity!  He came up with this all on his own, he stuck the stick in there and made it so that he could give rides in the wagon.

A new batch of ducklings!!!

Firemen cooking us up something yummy in the kitchen at the children's museum.

I left to drop One off at art class, and came home to this:  (notice she's wearing her brother's shorts pulled up just to her knees, over pj pants)

Matching 3D shapes to cards.

Matching Lego's to cards I made.

Little boy  <3 p="">

A trip to the farmers market resulted in new flowers for the front pot (red ones picked by Three, purple and white picked out by Four,) and a venus flytrap they were so excited to get after learning about them at the museum on Wednesday!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sideways Saturday

The girls and I were up and out the door early this morning (pre-6AM) to volunteer at Triangle Walk Like MADD.

Here are the three of us:

And my beautiful chicas:

MADD--Mother's Against Drunk Driving.  The girls and I helped set up (we put on tablecloths, and added balloons,) helped in the food tent, and the girls worked the kid's tent where there was nail polish, coloring, kids kits from Lowe's Home Improvement, and temporary tattoos.  I ended up leading an impromptu Zumba song to warm up walkers before they left for the walk/run.  It was the largest crowd I've ever led in front of since classes are normally under 15 people!  It was, however, fun to see that many people following along with me!  They seemed to be having fun, and there was one little bitty girl who had some serious moves and she was right out in front with me.  After the walk started, the DJ played some tunes and I got my groove on--because seriously, I do not miss an opportunity to dance.  The girls and I also got in a round of laser tag, and helped break down the event.  It was a good time for us, and helped out an excellent cause.  

Home now, and set up a Facebook page for this blog, feel free to "like" it:  

The Punk took the boys to the park, and I need to do some housework in their absence.  You know how it goes....

Friday, April 19, 2013

BONUS Post: Crafty Goodness.

This is a simple, easy and fun craft project.  My boys both enjoyed it, and I loved the results.  


Tissue paper
Cardboard (we used a cereal box)

Cut or tear the tissue paper into rough cut squares.  Cut out what ever shape you want (we did eggs, but flowers or butterflies for spring would be great!)  Draw random lines on the shape with the marker/pencil.  Put glue on one section of your drawing, and ball up the tissue paper and stick.

You can see that Three put a lot of effort into his, only using one color on each section of his.

Four was less organized.  ;) 

I am adding this post to a link up, and cannot figure out how to add her button, BUT here is a link to the blog, and I hope you will all click on it and give her some love.

Flashback Friday!

Woohoo.   It's FRIIIIIIIIIIIIday!

Monday:  Pottery for the girls, Zumba for me, and Tball for Three.

Tuesday:  Nice and quiet, Tuesday.

Wednesday:  Preschool Co-op visited the NC Natural Sciences Museum and did a scavenger hunt.  It was FUN and even though the museum was crazy busy with tour groups, we had a great time.  After that, we headed over to the children's museum for a half hour because the boys were begging to go.  Lunch was in the car on the way to Three's art class.

Thursday:  I spent some time in the morning doing this project--Flylady I Don't Have Time.  Four and One both have art on Thursday afternoons, but The Punk took Four to his, and followed it up with a trip the warehouse store to stock up on food because these people sure can eat!

Friday:  This morning the kids have gymnastics, Four is not old enough to go yet (the gym requires you to be 5.)  And I think One will be staying home for 2 reasons:  She is astoundingly far behind in her work, and Two and Three are having some head-butting thing going on right now and I think spending the time alone at the gym will be good for their relationship.  Kindergarten co-op is this afternoon and I'm leading it.  We are going to be learning about mammals and birds.  I'm so excited, I hope it goes half as well as it goes in my head.  :)  Three has t-ball practice tonight if we don't get rained out.

I spent some time this morning planning the 2nd Annual Messy Playdate!  I'm already looking forward to it, and at this point, I'm just trying to nail down a date.  I was thinking of doing it earlier in the year this time, as it was SO muggy last year, but then, the BIG kids had such a good time last year that I want to make sure our public schooled counterparts can once again attend.  Which pushes us further into the summer, and into the heat.  Oh well, it'll all work out.

Tomorrow the girls and I are volunteering for a local charity walk, this is my pay it back for all the people who have volunteered and made the runs that I've participated in run so smoothly.  The girls are going just for the community service aspect of it.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wordy Wednesday: Workboxes

I think almost everyone in the homeschool community  knows what workboxes are.  In case you are unfamiliar, here is the link:  Sue Patrick's Workbox System

I used this system before, when the girls were younger (until Three got big enough to crawl and continually drug the boxes down.)  I recently decided to give the system another shot with Three.  So far, it's gone really well.  I set up his boxes, and we work through them together.  Most of the time, I still have to sit with him-but that is sort of the nature of his current books, AND just his personality.  I'm working on it with him, but it's a process.  As are most things.

Some of the things in our boxes:

1. BOB Book.
2. Magic Treehouse book (I read these to him, and Four.)
3. Read and Learn Level Kindergarten
4. File Folder Game:  Math, and Phonics (so, two boxes)
5. Explode the Code workbook
6. A preschool reading workbook
7. Math worksheet
8. Craft
9. Handwriting work/Scissor work

Normally a workbox system will have 12 boxes, when we start 1st grade, we will jump up to a full 12 load.  Since it's mid-year, and we are just starting with the system, I have opted to do 9.  I vary the order of the work each day, so it isn't quite so repetitive.  He likes finishing one box and going to get the next.  Steps in the right direction.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Not your regularly scheduled post!

It's Tuesday-which typically means links.  I'm going to include those, but I'm going to include some "catch up," too.  A unit for Monday (which is Earth Day!

A neat phonics/reading game for only $1!

And now, Snapshot Sunday (on Tuesday...)

As promised, a color mania color run shot:

This is my previously white outfit!  I love it.

Pouty, Pleading, Pretty Girls.  One, The Bestie's One, and Two.

NCSU Farm Animal Days:

Three and Four holding chicks.

Four enjoying the mud.

Communicating with the goat, I kid, I kid (pun intended.)  He was checking out the ear tag.

More muddy fun.

Boys and tractors.


Milking station.  No cows were injured in this activity.

Roping champ.

Tball practice.

Monday was only slightly manic, as we only had pottery.  However, it felt manic because after buckling the kids in, I had to come back in the house three times before we could actually leave.  I have to remind myself that this is the exact reason I leave a "buffer" from "let's get in the car" time, and "we really need to leave" time.  We weren't late.  Yay!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sideways Saturday

Especially fitting, since I've been feeling very sideways as of late.

The Punk came back from his vacation with the boys, and this always makes my time more limited for awhile, but then I found myself feeling very disconnected from the world.  From my husband, from the kids, from my friends, from everything.

I'm trying to pull out of it, and am hopeful that I'm on the upswing.  The past couple years have been very rough for me (personally,) and I'm ready for this ride to end.

T-ball has started, and Three had practice last night and he has it today too.

Our weather has finally decided it can be spring, YAY!!

I have one of my dear friends back close to me, which provides me motivation to run more often (she's my running partner, and shall be referred to as The Boo--you know every one gets a nickname here, and I call her Boo in real life.)


I ran a 5K last Saturday-the Color Mania color run, and it was a BLAST!  For snapshot Sunday, I will throw in a picture or two from last weeks run.

I'm off to do some housework on this gorgeous spring day, so that I can enjoy a longer time at the park with the boys after t-ball.  :)  I know, you're all so Jelly of my glamorous life.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wordy Wednesday

If you've read very much on my blog you've seen references to Four's personality.  He is MORE of everything you can think of.  While he's been gone on vacay with The Punk, I pulled out Raising Your Spirited Child and Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles both by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.  My copy of the first book is 14 years old, and worn.  Well loved.  It got me through so much when my girls were small.  They were both VERY spirited kids (and now they are spirited teens + hormones...yeah, I'm so lucky.)  Spirited in different ways, but both very spirited.  When I think about Three, he is the only one of them who doesn't seem "spirited" to me.  After reading through the book again, he is spunky in a couple areas but overall, he's the easiest one of the lot.

Parenting Four is hard. I don't want to surpress his spirit, because I love him so!  With all his intensity, and his distractability, and his sensitivity, and his persistence...he's a lot of fun.  But it is also exhausting.  It's been so interesting to see how much I've been doing while they've been on vacation, and yet I am WAY less exhausted at the end of the day.  Physical labor is far less draining than dealing with Four all day.  True story.

If you are looking for good parenting advice when your kid is "more," Kurcinka is my recommendation.  She will alter your perception of your kids personality.  That is exactly what I needed as I find myself referring to my child as "wild" and "difficult" and I don't want to.  I need to revamp my thinking.