Monday, September 30, 2013

Preschool and Pre-K Report

Here is our week in pictures!

Isn't that face adorable?  This is actually from a week ago Sunday.  The boys and I went to church then met my husband for lunch when he finished working.  He had a concert that evening so we were just all hanging out.  After lunch we went to the mall playland and the boys played until I noticed they kept laying down on the ground they were so tired HA!  When we got home, I carried Nate inside, he woke up so I put him down to take off his shoes; he wandered to the couch where Josh sang him to sleep with a "littleby" and Nate slept for 2 hours, took a bath and went to bed and slept all night!

Now, on to school! 

 I love this picture HA!  Nate has a mustache from sucking on a marker cap :-)  One of the great things in the Letter of the Week curriculum is the use of things around the house to practice.  Today we used blocks to make the letter "I".  Some weeks we use stickers or legos or whatever else I can find around the house.
 Josh really struggles still with wanting to do the preschool lessons so he did the letter "I" in blocks too.  It is still great review for him so how can I say no?
Later in the day the boys got out some games to play.  We are still learning how to play games; and that one person doesn't always have to win!!

No School :-)  I took the day and went to a scrapbooking crop so I did not make Nana do school BUT my boys said that next time, they want Nana to do school with them so I'll have to leave some fun lessons for her to do!
 In just the first few weeks  of school, Nate's coloring has improved by leaps and bounds.  He know stays in the lines (unless he is adding legs to his elephant picture hanging on his wall; I am very thankful for washable markers HA).  This was our Bible Activity for the day - "Be Fair".  We talked about how Bees don't take all of the nectar but leave some for the other bees; comparing that to sharing with others.
 Scissors and glue sticks - it is what makes a boy happy!
 I love those feet (and they are "almost" clean!)
 Again, making the letter "I" with tangrams.  I need to get more of these though - the boys tend to fight disagree over the pieces. 
 This week, we only did an afternoon craft on Wednesday.  Monday the boys were outside playing so I just let them play and on Thursday, well, I don't even remember HA! 
 I found this great idea over at Toddler Approved for a "Snippin' Tree".  Basically, I gave the boys 4 different colors and let them snip the "leaves" and glue them.  I thought this would be a huge hit.

Well, these were their finished products.  Notice?  One color per tree?  They got bored REALLY fast with this idea!  Oh well, they can't all be winner ideas, can they?

I don't even remember Thursday .  For real.  I don't think we did school . .. I think we ran errands that morning which I won't do again with 4 kids under 5!!

Normally we go to Friday school on Friday.  Well we did, for like 30 minutes, and then I had a kid puke.  At least he made it to the bathroom! 
 This poor little guy had the flu - running a fever and crashed on the couch; something we never see.  He kept asking when his fever would leave :-( 
 On the other hand, this little guy was LOVING that his big brother was sick because he got to ride the two-wheel bike the whole day.  He cannot WAIT to get his own bike.  It will be kind of anti-climatic since he can already ride one so I had to take a few photos of his "first" bike ride!
And then there is this guy - the big kid has a blown disc and is pretty much "chair-ridden" at this point. 

So, that was our week.  I'm a little more prepared for this coming week - only 3 days of school this week due to a doctor's appointment on Thursday with the big "D" for his back. 

It's hard to believe that it is the night before October.  I want to incorporate some more fall activities and pumpkin/fun Halloween stuff plus we have a birthday this month for a special boy who is turning 5. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Inspiring Posts

I am not creative on my own.  For real.  I get all of my ideas from other people which sometimes gets me in trouble because I find TOO many good ideas and get overwhelmed with them because I try to do them all!  Today I want to share links to different posts from this past week from two of my favorite blogs to read. 

My husband and I are slowly making a plan to take our kids to Disney.  By slowly I mean s.l.o.w.l.y.  I am just now starting to ask die hard Disney fans what I need to plan, how to plan and, well, frankly, how much it costs.  Our goal it to take the kids in 3 years.  We feel they will be the perfect age to enjoy "everything" and actually remember the trip.  I'd love to then take them back when they are mid-teens to enjoy the older kid stuff but that is another story. Anyway, a blogger friend of mine just posted her fabulous movie list she used with her kids to prep them for their Disney trip.  I loved her list and am waiting for the day my kids like movies HA  I like this list also because well, we don't have many DVD's so I'm using her list as a jumping off point to get some that are available.  You can check out the Disney Move Countdown over at Superchikk

Another thing that I am looking forward to doing with my kids is reading chapter books.  We tried starting one last winter and my kids just were not ready.  I'm being inspired to try this again after reading a great post over at Homeschool Creations.  She shares the list of books they are planning to read this year (school year) and shares some great tips for reading out-loud with your kids.  One idea is give your kids something to do with their hands - legos, crayons and paper, etc.  The funny thing is that I would have made them put that stuff down but, after reading her post, I understand now that they need something to help them focus.  I also love the timer idea too.  My kids still aren't quite ready to focus on chapter books but one of the ideas in the back of my mind was to put together a book basket for each week.  That way, they could each pick out a book after lunch and we could read it together (or I can set the timer for 10 minutes and read until the timer goes off - they love the timer).  This basket could be library books or at home books (well, if we ever get back to the library HA)  The other thing the hubs and I want to start doing is reading Bible Stories/Devotionals at bedtime.  I will admit that this is "hard" because we are often tired but the boys love to sing at bedtime so we figure that to start with a short devotional would be a plus, then some songs, then hugs and "quisses" before we say goodnight.  I know what I want to get for this but just haven't gotten it yet :-)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Food Friday - Pigs in a Blanket

Pigs in a Blanket
adapted from . . .I think Pillsbury 100 years ago

This is one of my favorite go to appetizer recipes because it is easy, fast, and so good!  It just takes two little ingredients and you have this plate full of goodness.  

What you need:
1 package Litt'l smokies (without cheese)
1-2 packages of crescent rolls - you really do want the old-fashioned triangle rolls; not the sheet.

What you do:
Open one package of crescent rolls and separate into individual triangles; then cut each triangle into 3 pieces.  Wrap each piece around a little hot dog and place on a sheet try.  If you use one package of crescent rolls you will have left over hot dogs; if you use 2 packages of rolls you will have extra dough.  So, take your pick!

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes and enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Weekly Menu

So, last week I mentioned I was trying to figure out Sunday dinners.  Well, last Sunday I had a light bulb moment :-)  Sunday evenings will become what ever you want dinners.  If you want ice cream, you can have it.  If you want crackers and ketchup, you can have it.  I'll have some simple things always on hand like PB and J, corn dogs, frozen pizza etc but I'm not going to sweat it.  We tend to eat a late lunch due to church so sometimes, no one is hungry.  Growing up, it was a free for all after church and often one of my brothers would make a fried balogna or fried egg sandwich (Yuck and double yuck!) .  I usually picked out left overs or talked my mom into making me a grilled cheese :-)

This weeks menu is a little scattered due to some commitments - I have a busy week!

Friday - The boys and I are heading to a concert to see Darryl's group so we will run through McDonald's on our way out of town.

Saturday - We are hanging out at home today or at least we plan to - we may head to the park for awhile or maybe do something else fun.  I'm not sure on dinner yet.  Maybe we'll go get Chinese or do Chili Dogs at home.

Sunday -  Since we aren't having tacos on Friday I'm going to have everything ready for tacos after church.

Monday - Teriyaki Chicken Thighs, a veggie, baked potatoes and rolls

Tuesday - BBQ Pork Chops, rice, veggie and rolls. I have a board meeting in the afternoon and then I'm heading to a ladies conference at the church we've been attending for the evening so I needed a quick meal!

Wednesday - Pancakes and Sausage

Thursday - I'm leaving on a scrapbooking retreat and my mom is coming over to watch the kids.  I'm guessing that they will get McDonald's or something :-)

I have a few leftover sweet recipes - An apple pie, Pumpkin Crunch, and Cookies - that I didn't end up making over the past few weeks so I'll use those items up this week too.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Discontent and how to recover

Periodically, I hit a phase where I experience extreme discontent-edness.  (Is that a word??) I think that it is a pretty normal feeling that many people get. . .especially stay-at-home moms with kids all 4 and under.  I mean, we are just now into talking in complete sentences but still have the daily melt downs and hissy fits.  (And yes, I'm talking about the kids, not me!)  When this feeling starts, I usually have a couple of days where I have a pity party before I suck it up and ask myself why.   Why am I feeling like this; what caused it; how do I fix it.  I thought I would share a few of my strategies and my current solutions.  It might help someone else , who knows!

Strategy number one - I make a list of the things that are making me feel discontent.  Yes, I'm a list maker so this helps soothe my soul. This is the list I came up with recently.
1. Homeschool - not doing it but being prepared for everything I want to do each day
2. A small house - feeling overwhelmed with spaces that need to work in multiple ways, trying to figure out how to organize and tired of broken things or things that don't work for us
3. Finances - feeling slightly out of control at times
4. The heat - when the forecast is in the 90's or even humid days (you would be amazed how that impacts my outlook on life)
5. Projects, crafts, planning and paperwork - how to fit it all in and not ignore the kids
6. The kids - not spending enough quality time with them; dealing with a strong willed kid; discipline, chore charts, and daily life.

Strategy Number two - I "stew".  Once I have my list I take a few days to stew on the list and let my mind start to sort through what I need to do to overcome in each area.

Strategy Number three - I make lists, plan, and organize new ideas.  Here are a few of the ideas I have and am trying to implement.
1. I am setting aside one afternoon during the week to work on homeschool planning and prepping for the following week.  Most likely this will be on Wednesday afternoons since our school week will end on Thursday (due to Friday school starting soon).  I'm also planning on taking one hour on Saturday (or less) to double check all prep work.

2. I have a new rule - no spending until Friday ;-)  Or something to that effect.  Sometimes it feels like money slips through our fingers because of store runs, gas, or grabbing a quick meal on a hot night.  I have to get back to once a week money - putting all income away until that day; paying bills, and using envelopes to ensure we have grocery and gas money set aside. 

3. Projects/Crafts - I would like to dedicate Friday afternoons to working on my projects.  We go to Friday school in the mornings so I'm pretty much "done" by the time we get home and really need to focus on something other than normal daily life.

4. The Small House Syndrome - this is a huge process.  I'm starting with doing what I did a few years ago - Simplify.  To do this I'm deep cleaning each room, updating the decor as much as I can and attempting to fix things that bother me.  Obviously, some things take money so I'm trying to save our pennies to replace/purchase some things we need. 

5.  The kids - Every day I try to take time to do one thing in the afternoon with the kids - an art project, something to cook, a game or a walk.  I'm also trying to say yes more when I get asked to play.  It makes them happy and it makes me feel like I accomplished something

6.  The Heat - guess what, it's gone :-)  I started this post back in July when the heat was awful but now we are in some much nicer days of fall. 

I'd like to say that I am successful at this all the time but I'm not - as with many things in life it is a daily process - some days are good and go as planned and some days I'm glad of the truth that everything is new in the morning and I can start over each day!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Too Cute Not To Toot

You may recall that last week I mentioned that this post is a changin'.  It's going to evolve into something like this:

1) I still want to post/share/remember cute ideas I come across so I will still post new ideas as I see them both for your benefit and my own.  I'm just not going to spend hours . .. over a course of days . .. to search high and low for new ideas.  When I find them, I'll share.

2) I'm going back through OLD too cute posts to find ideas I forgot about it and still want to make.  When I pick a project, I'll share what it is and then once complete, I'll post about it too. 

So my first new project to work on comes from a post back in December 2011 and is for this great Christmas Countdown.  Something simple but fun to do each day.  The idea came from Gingersnap Crafts.
I also have two other crafts I'm working on and had really hoped to get done this past weekend but life seems to "get in the way" . . .or I just enjoy relaxing on the weekend too much!! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pre-School and K-4 Report

Welcome back to week 3 round 2 of our school year.  This week seemed to go the most smoothly .  .well, Thursday was a little iffy but I can fix that in the future by not planning 5 cutting, gluing and coloring activities in one morning for 3 different kids.  Wow.  I couldn't keep up.  We also did something fun every afternoon and I have found that really helps to diffuse the day by breaking up day.  Even if it is only a 10 minute thing to do it gets all three boys sat down, and doing something totally different. 

Here's are week in photos!
Monday - 
 Josh working on one of his math worksheets from our Confessions of a Homeschooler curriculum.  He's also working on using a pencil vs. a marker for some of his worksheets. 
 I ordered/downloaded this set of number poem cards from Teachers Pay Teachers that includes the full color card with the poem as shown above, a black/white card to color with the poem and one without the poem.  Such a simple resource to have when teaching numbers.
 Nate was working on making a pattern on the letter's E as that is the letter of the week for the younger boys. 
 Our craft on Monday was making Sandpaper Trees.  I always like to give credit for ideas I use but . . .I cannot find where this one came from currenlty.  For this craft, I cut out the trunk and some branches and had the boys make their tree.  Just as a side note, sand paper does not glue well to sandpaper - you need to glue it right to the paper; don't overlap it.  Lesson learned :-)
 Then we took tin foil and rolled it into balls and dipped them into paint to stamp leaves on our tree.

 The boys had fun and made three very different trees.  I love seeing creativity.

 Our Bible lesson this week was on young Timothy and how he learned from Paul to be fair.  We played a game where the boys drew out a card and I read what it said such as "Tell a boy with blonde hair - "I'll be fair""  Needless to say, since they can't read, I made lots of stuff up HA!  Not to mention that I brought this lesson into real life all week but saying, "Now, is that fair (being kind) or unfair?"

 Nate loves his curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler as well.  Cutting skills are a must . .. he likes to cut tiny pieces and this week I had them glue the pieces onto the pattern worksheets.  He enjoys that activity alot.
 The boys all love the Do-A-Dot markers - this is one of the activies that Josh got to do that was part of the preschool lessons.  Allowing him to do many of the same worksheets as the younger two on top of his own work has really made him happy.  He gets the best of both worlds - review of the younger topics plus introduction to the new topics.
 I came across a cute idea from Toddler Approved to make nature plates.  While the munchkin was napping, the boys and I walked around the yard and gathered things from nature that reminded us of fall.  We picked sunflower petals, purple flowers, leaves from the willow tree and yellow/orange leaves from the neighbors tree, black eyed Susans and some weeds.  Yes, weeds.  That was not my choice.
 One of the great things about this project was glue.  We tend to use glue sticks more often because they aren't quite as messy but for this project it was glue all the way and lots of it. 

 The finished projects were true masterpieces and included such things as glue waterfalls and glue snow drifts that took about 4 days to dry.  ;-)

Wednesday - 
 We started our morning with an unplanned game of Hungry Hungry Hippo that I turned into a counting activity.  Every time all of the marbles had been gobbled up, we had to count them.  This was also a good lesson for Josh that he can't win every time and he can't steal other people's marbles to make himself the winner.  Yes, he likes to win. 
 Josh loves clocks and time so we started our Kumon Telling Time book.
 Nate also is working out of a Kumon book on cutting and pasting.
 Awhile ago, my mom picked up all kinds of learning books/activities for the boys.  Josh had some down time on Wednesday so I pulled out one of the books and he did several pages. 

 Our afternoon activity is thanks to my mom.  The last time she had the boys they convinced her to buy a marshmallow pop kit and we made them today.  Nate liked the chocolate but Josh loved the whole thing. 

 Josh asked me to buy everything to make them again "sometime".  I wonder if I could put carrots in the chocolate??? HA!

Thursday - 
This is the first activity that really challenged Nate this week.  First, he had to put the elephant # cards in order from 1-10 and then count out the correct number of discs to put on each card.  I love to see him challenged :-)
Our "fun" activity I posted about on Saturday  . . .we put Training Wheels on Josh's bike, which he loves.  I often have to move the truck to the end of the driveway and park "horizontally" so that it blocks the end of the driveway completely so he and Nate can ride bikes up and down the driveway, into the garage and back out. 

I forgot to share this earlier - I mentioned my mom and picked up some fun stuff for the boys for school.  Well, this is another  item we just got out this past weekend.

 This is an awesome floor size tracing and activity book to use with dry erase markers.  I had put it away when my mom first got it because the boys weren't ready to use the markers yet.  But, a week or so ago, I got it out and leaned it against the wall; they finally noticed it on Saturday and have played with it every single day.  My husband said we need to find more of these because they love them :-)

That's our week!  I'm still holding off on the daily notebooks.  My thought now is to use it starting in the next 6 week rotation but do it in the afternoon when we do our art/craft/food activity.  That way they can do what they want in the book but if they go play, that is fine too.  I'm counting this year as just an introduction to it :-)


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Changed - Rascal Flatts

I love music.  I truly do.  It wasn't long ago that I dug out our little radio and put it in the kitchen (and keep batteries in the drawer so I never run out!) so that I can listen to the radio while cooking, cleaning and washing dishes.  It was while washing dishes one day that I heard this song called "Changed" by Rascal Flatts.  I'll admit that I'm a fan of Rascal Flatts music - I like their sound - so naturally this song was one that caught my attention especially since it was being played on WCSG - the Christian Station :-)  I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Two-Wheeler

We are a little late on the two-wheel bike front around here.  One reason is that it took until this spring for either of my kids to figure out how to pedal their trikes.  Then we just kept forgetting to buy training wheels. Well, we finally picked up a set this past week and put them on a fantastic bike that my Uncle and Aunt gave us.  The bike is about 20 years old but it is in near perfect shape and belonged to my cousin when he was little.  Isn't that awesome?  Thanks to my uncle, who fixed it all up and made sure it was pretty near perfect, we had a great bike for Josh. 

 Any time Darryl is working on a project, the boys have to be involved.  They all went to the basement to pick out tools; then Josh was able to help put the training wheels together. 
 He also helped putting the wheels on his bike.
Then found a place to put the hose from the air compressor . . .even if it wasn't the right spot!
 Then he tried it out.  It only took him a second before he was steady and on his way around the driveway.

We had to end the day with a walk/ride around the block. 

Nate has now moved to Josh's bigger trike but he is not happy that he doesn't have a bike like Josh's.  We do have a little toddler bike that was given to us by a neighbor that is not in great condition but Nate has claimed it and is so upset that his "bike just lays down" because it doesn't have training wheels.  I have found some that should fit it on Amazon and will be ordering those in the next few days so he can have a two wheel bike to ride.  That should hold him over until the spring when we can get him a nicer bike - and one that is more the size of Josh's.  Right now, that bike is just a tiny bit too big.