Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Missing Tooth, He likes it & Bogeys

Since Anna lost her 1st tooth days after her 6th birth, she's been checking to see if she feels any more that are "loose". Funny enough that we felt another one a few weeks ago and last week....

She LOVES loosing her teeth... LOL!!! And it's been soo easy, they just fall out:) And she's got another one that's loose right now... it's her top left!! We'll see if that's the next one to go:)
Nate is staying awake longer and needed more opportunities to sit up. He just seems to be happier when he's not always on his back. So we purchased a walker for him this weekend....

Think he likes it??

But I think it was cute that he still found his siblings more entertaining:)

Brian was watching pieces of a PGA tournament this weekend. He missed some of the final putts and came in and asked, "Did he get a bogey?"

Chris answered,"Nate had a boogie!" LOL!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

History at the Right Time

I've shared that last year we didn't finish our history... but after this summer, have just 2 chapters left:) Whoo -hooo:)

One of the reasons we didn't finish was that Anna "hated" it! She doesn't like narration exercises and the way I had our day scheduled, we did history during naptimes when she was grumpy (... and sometimes me too!!). So instead of "fighting through it" we both got naps:)

In order to include Lydia and Chris this year, I've tried moving history to mid-morning. We read through a section, look through the encyclopedia article(s) that match the topic, all the kids work together to answer the review questions and then Anna "narrates" the section. Usually Lydia and Chris are coloring or drawing pictures about the story/section we've read.

Once we're done the "book work" we do a project together from the Activity Guide. We've colored pictures, made the living room couch into a catacomb, made secret symbols and taped them around the house, made Constantine's shield,

(how cute are Lydia's 1st people drawings!!)

and the biggie this week has been working on a Salt Dough map of Italy:)

(just waiting to dry and Anna is eager to paint it!!)

I know changing the time of history has made all the difference!!

We can do it together! We can talk about it or the kids like to act it out:)We have time and energy for projects/crafts:)

I can honestly say that while there my be some "groaning" as I call everyone onto the living room to read our history... the groaning doesn't last:) The kids have enjoyed listening to me read and us talk about the Romans. We've read through library books that correspond.... Magic Tree House books make really fun read-alouds!! Then the kids wonder what activity I have for them:)

We are actually enjoying history this year:) And they've started looking through the next chapters to see what they're learning next.... Chris is excited because he sees a LOT of bow and arrows.... Middle ages:)

I"m not sure if I have shared this link... probably already have. But at The Chronicles of the Earth... they have amazing resources for each chapter of Story of the World volume 1. They are starting volume 2 soon.... I just hope they stay a couple of chapters ahead of us. It's truly a blessing for me;)

** I should share that I have already tweaked my routine for this year ! I thought it would be good for all of us to get chores done first thing. But I've been schooling Chris before he does his chores while the girls work on theirs:) And then he (who takes his time cleaning!) gets some solid school time in and I"m not waiting around for him.

Definitely one of the perks of homeschooling is the flexibility of the schedule and making our routine work for us so that we enjoy our time learning together;)

I've really enjoyed having the kids gather around on the floor during our history time. When we come together for history, we also use the first minutes for working on our memory verses and praying together. Such a sweet time!

Have any of you tweaked your original homeschooling routine yet????

Sunday, August 29, 2010

When Daddy does the Shopping!!

yes, I HAVE and DO take all 4 children grocery shopping at one time!!!

I've been working on the technique for a couple of months now... BUT... after 2 or more recent trips that totally STRESSED me out... you know... older kids playing tag in the aisles, baby screaming in the carrier (hungry, tired or BOTH!), bickering over who gets to hold the pasta... We decided to come up with a "new" plan.

For a couple of weeks, I'd go out at night after dinner with just Nate. If I took care of him inbetween stores, he was a great little shopper. I"d get home soooo late, but at least I wasn't stressed and I actually felt like I got a "break"... night out at the grocery store.... whoo hooo.....LOL!!

The last few weeks Brian has been in town daily, so he was given the task of grocery shopping. He's pretty good about following a list although I did find Oatmeal Creme Pies, Cookies & Honey Buns in his bags after ONE trip:)

And I appreciate the fact that Brian very happily will use the coupons I give him and use the Food Lion flyer at Walmart, both save us money each week:) But Brian has turned out to be a very savvy, food-allergy shopper and brings us home all sorts of goodies.

This is some of what he brought home this week......

Yes...... 7 lbs of ketchup (he also found a pump for the lid) and 9 doz cookies...

and this pic doesn't include the 5 lbs bag he bought of frozen french fries!!!

We've joked that we've moved from the Family Sizes to the INDUSTRIAL SIZES:) He was soo excited to show me and tell me how much less per ounce (or other units) they were compared to the "normal" sizes!!!

*** And for those interested, the cookies only require ONE egg, water and oil and are milk-free:) The allergist has suggested using tiny amounts of egg in baked goods to see if Lydia and Chris react and sooo far they've been fine;) Ok, to do at home with the Epi close;)

And for your entertainment I"ll share this store.....

Last week I ran into the grocery store for a few items with all 4 kiddies!! We found some great deals on meats and fruit, so we ended up getting a full cart. Minus Nate being a little fussy and naptime (for all) approaching, the kids did well and were excited because they got a treat that I got on sale!

I paid and we left the store:) Oh, I was SOOO glad the "quick" trip had turned out soo well... happy mommy, happy kiddies!! I got to the van and piled all the kids in.

I soo have it together... I am the Savvy-Shopping Mommy of the Year!!

Remember the verse " Pride comes before the fall" ?

I look around and realize that I have left ALL of my groceries in the store..... not just a bag!

But ALL of the GROCERIES!!

Maybe Daddy should just keep doing the shopping for a while!!!

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Afterschool Crew & Outreach

And if you think I already had my hands full....

I want you to meet the "afterschool crew"!!!! We have 2 friends stay with us afterschool for a few hours!!

If all kids were as easy as these two... I'd take more in:) Love these kids;)

I saw this Outreach linkup from The HomeSchool Village on a friend's blog. To be honest, I get soo overwhelmed and consumed with all the "book learning" the kids and I do that I often neglect reaching beyond our home. Sure, occassionally we'll have friends over for dinner and always stop to talk to neighbors on walks, etc!! But there could be soo much more!!

We are involved with outreach activities through our church. Being pastor kids, they get volunteered a lot;) But I really think my kids LOVE picking up neighborhood friends for Awana or helping on Operation In As Much projects,etc! And we pack our Christmas Shoe Boxes for Samaritans Purse (actually recieved a letter from Botswana this year!!).

Funny thing is that I've already been brainstorming how to pray weekly for some of our "shut-in"/older church members. And then having the kids make something for them and us visit them. Our members LOVE seeing the kids (not sure if they would LOVE seeingthe kids in THEIR house... just kidding... LOL!!!). But I do think many would appreciate more visits;)

So this has really challenged me to start placing some simply ministry and outreach items on our schedule weekly! Looking forward to getting more ideas from this linkup:)

What 31 Looks Like

As some of you know I celebrated a birthday this week... I"m the low-key Birthday type, but I did get to eat lunch with a friend and our many kids, pick the dinner (like every night ... LOL!!), pick a dessert and eat dinner on the birthday plate:)

One of the kids took a picture of me- close up- and I couldn't believe all the wrinkles I'm getting.....

I"m getting OLD!!! LOL!!!

But as I learned from my mother's experience that you rejoice with each day and year you've been given.... wrinkles and all, I guess:)

And what keeps me from running to the salon and spa at every chance????

(although I'm really, really in need of a haircut!!! Oh, it's bad!!!)

Tending to my boys...
Nate carried high to get the bird's eye view of all the sibling fun...

and the tree salesman.
(aka Chris hauling around the corn plant we pulled from our front garden...

probably from popcorn kernels... LOL!!)

Keeping up with the girls....

And taking their babies for a ride.

The theme this week at you capture is Get Outside.... and we HAVE been totally enjoying the semi-cooler weather:)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WW: What Spoiled Looks Like

Don't worry I was right there!! Definitely kept him CLOSE!

** Anna took the last three pictures:)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

WFMW: EASY Peasy Egg-Free Cake

When we discovered Chris' egg allergy baking treats got harder....

Cake mixes were out until we found an egg replacer at a health food store. Even then the cakes/cupcakes looked fine but then like crumbled into a million pieces soo easily! Very, very messy!

It was also hard for those wanting to include my kids in their own parties... many times I ended up making the cakes for others or for my kids' classes (which I was GLAD to do so that my kids could enjoy cake with their friends)!

A friend called last week with an egg-free cake recipe using a cake mix!! I was very DOUBTFUL it would work considering it was only 2 ingredients.... the cake mix and a 12oz can of soda!

She assured me that the recipe called only for cake mix and any non-diet can of soda.

We tried it! First choosing a cake that was milk-free and then some soda:)

The reaction between the soda and mix was awesome.... the kids really got a kick out of watching the two react and fizz!

After baking according to the cake instructions, we had some pretty little cupcakes! They smelled delicious and made us crave lunch a little earlier so we could enjoy them:)

Since we ate them before they were fully cooled, some did have bottom pieces that came off. But they didn't fall into a million pieces while the kids at them.... which was great since our house was full of kids that afternoon;)

I did notice that the cupcakes held together a lot more after they were completely cooled. WE even stored leftovers in a ziplock bag and didn't have fall apart!

We found some milk-free store bought icing! And we were sooo excited to have such a SIMPLE recipe to make cakes/cupcakes for us!

Best of all was that they were enjoyed by the kids!!!!

And yes, I haven't taken the time to count the extra calories or sugar content of the cake. I'm sure it's very high:) But when you're limited in food choices by food allergies, you enjoy what you can when you can:)

Check out more Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family!

works for me wednesday at we are that family

UPDATED: I used a Carrot Cake mix this evening.... totally crumbly! Grrr.... so maybe it needs to be a little "under-cooked" and totally cooled before cutting. And the under-cooking is fine since there are no raw ingredients:)

Now if I could just WAIT to let it cool:)

It's these....

sweet moments you always want to remember....

If you can't play it above, here's the link:)Too cute NOT to watch... of course this IS his mother speaking:)
It was equally cute and entertaining to watch Chris and then Lydia & Anna order an extra hamburger and extra french fries at lunch this weekend. They are wanting to be soo grown, yet still get timid around strangers....

Chris was standing next to a cop eyeing his gun... it was at his eye level... LOL!

Chris did the "pumping his arms" in celebration about getting change back and then said "yes!" when they handed him his hamburger in a bag:)

And Lydia grabbed Anna's hand for support when it was her turn to ask. But in the end, Anna had to ask:)

Meanwhile, Brian and I are peeking around flower arrangements watching them. Brian actually made the comment that we were having a "cute" afternoon:)

And I whole-heartedly agreed!
Sweet moments with sweet kids growing up soo quickly!

After loving on a friend's cat, we were talking about the cat's claws and I (always being the teacher!) asked the kids why the cat would have such sharp claws (it was a outside cat)!

And Anna responded," So she can protect herself from the creditors!" LOL!!!

I think she was meaning "predators" but it was really cute!

Visit Mary for some more TTT:)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The School Day Routine

Not Back to School Blog Hop

We haven't started school yet.... I was planning to start today but we have a couple items still en route to the house, so we'll be starting this week... same as our local elementary school. I'm really ok with that because we never really totally ended schooling around here! And having everything totally ready to go 2 days delayed is MUCH better than trying to start unorganized!!!

Last year I learned that I was task-oriented versus time-oriented. I still have some times that guide my day like mealtimes but I use the tasks that need to be done of organize my day:) And a routine also allows the flexibility needed with caring for an infant during the day:)

All that being said, here's our "hopefully this works" routine: Italics are meals. BOLD are activities done together!

Get up and Eat Breakfast
Morning Chores
Math Lessons
Morning Meeting
Bible time and Verses
History/Science – readings, narrations, projects, labs

Anna- Independent work / Mommy Reading Time with Chris
Anna & Chris – Independent Work / Mommy Time with Lydia
Playtime/Outside/ Lunch help
One Year Bible reading
Chris, Lydia & Nate- nap /Mommy & Anna - Reading Time & Grammer
Anna – nap, finish projects,etc
Homework time with School Friends / Playtime
Clean up rooms/Dinner Chores

I've made little chore "pockets" for the kids based on Managers of Their Homes book. I'll post more on them later.

During independent work times, the kids will have their assignments laid out for them. Chris (4 yrs) and Lydia (3 yrs) will get their tasks from file folders stuffed with work and activities that I have pre-chosen and then some for them to choose. Anna (2nd grade) will have a sheet tucked into a plastic sleeve and I'll write the details of the assignments on the sleeve.

I moved history to before lunch and with the whole group so we can do it together. But it also means that Anna has some MOmmy-time work while the others are napping. I like this because the after lunch tasks are ones that she likes and they don't seem to be as "demanding".

"homework time" isn't probably that "normal" for homeschoolers;) We will be watching 2 kids afterschool for a couple of weeks. They are a sweet brother and sister that my kids have grown up with:) Anyway, last year it worked well to have Anna working at the table with them as they completed their homework. She liked "fitting in" with them and I think they liked having someone else to chat [or commiserate] with as they worked!

The parts of the day that I am looking forward to the most are the group times and the individual times.... LOL... sounds like the whole day!! WE've really enjoyed doing history together this summer so it will be fun to continue. And I really have wanted one-on-one time with Chris to help his progress with his reading... so I'm exicted that we could see him and reading start to "take off". And Lydia is getting to the stage where she wants to do more but I'm always tied up with something else when she asks... so it will be nice to have some time with just her. Anna and I will enjoy naptime, working on reading & grammer things;)

Check out more Day-in-the-life at the Not Going Back to School Blog Hop from Heart of the Matter this week;)

49 Seconds....

of a normal day....
Anna & Nate
then Chris & Lydia...

here's the link !!
As you can see Chris has heard the "do onto others as you want others to do to you" conversation... plenty of times!! In the video you can hear him apologising as Lydia is walking into the room....

but obviously Lydia is quickly healed! And is ready to play with her rascally brother once again!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Homeschooling Through History: Biblical Times Fun

This week I had a few goals:

prepare and practice a chore system.... check
practice having a school time.... check
continue through history lessons.... check
have fun.... oh, yeah!

But what I didn't plan was how much fun we'd have with history this week!!! The plan for this year is to do history together during our morning, so this week we did history in the morning with everyone:) What was nice was that the two chapters we completed were relatively short and very familiar... Jesus's life and the Jewish nation under Roman rule!

We read the chapters and did the narration exercises over 3 days, but then for Anna's reading we worked through an Abeka reader called Growing Up Where Jesus Lived. I had picked it up at a consignment sale for $1!! But it was such a fun reader and just above Anna's level so it could challenge, but not frustrate, her!

Between the activity suggestions in the Story of the World Activity Book and then little things we added in after reading the Abeka reader.... we had so much fun:)

We made Crosses out of tissue paper, looked almost like stained glass:) They turned out sooo well... and all the glue washed off us, our clothes and the table!

Then we made dreidels! And really had fun playing dreidel with Smarties and then chocolate chips with Daddy after lunch!!

Then today we tried to do some of the activities that the people of Jesus' time would have had to do. The kids especially liked trying to carry "pitchers" of water on their heads:)

We definitely had some "spills"....
we wouldn't have gotten much water home to cook and clean with!
But we had a blast!! Lydia was a little reluctant to try... but she did:)

Finally we tried our shoulders... and that worked a lot better.
Chris is a natural:)
Even manages two containers!!!
This was supposed to be all three kids with "pitchers" on their heads... but you see Lydia's in mid-air!!!! I"m sure the neighbors are wondering WHAt In The World we are doing and teaching the kids... LOL!!!

Another "experience" was to have lunch in the living room... "sitting" on towels using a low table (or the homeschool table bench... hehee). Anna and I made bread from scratch, then served fresh fruits, and cooked carrots. We tried to make it authentic by taking the focus of the meal off the MEAT by using lunch meat. I didn't take pictures... too much going on!

Best history classes I've ever been apart of:)

Just another reason I am soo thankful that we are continuing to homeschool this year.... not only do they get to learn cool stuff, but I get to do it with them!!