Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Cards with Shutterfly & Giveaway

While I LOVE sending out cards to extended family, friends and church members...

I'm a bit of a slacker when it comes to actually getting our Christmas picture done and our Christmas cards picked out! I laugh when I think back on all the years we have used the self-timer to get our family picture done at the last minute!!! Or braved the freezing temps to get the picture done so the cards can be ordered and mailed before Christmas!

This year, I have had a LOT more motivation to get those cards DONE!

One... a friend willing to meet up with us (several times)!! 

And Shutterfly!!... need I say more??

In browsing their selections for the perfect cards... I found soo many that I liked:) And I looked BEFORE I took our Christmas picture so I kind of knew what I wanted the final product to look like!!

So here were some of my favorite choices... just soo many to choose from;)

The 5x7 Folded Christmas Card

The best thing about these folded cards is how personalized you can make them!! Some designs include just one photo or a college on the front! You can also add pictures and text on the inside as well as the back!! This was by far my favorite!! I just love all the room to update everyone and having the full picture on the front!

I spent hours looking through the 5x7 Flat Stationary Cards as well...

Again, I really like the full picture cards! And I love our names being included:) Again, this also gives the ability to really personalize it with extra pictures and/or text on the back;)

We've traditionally gone with a 4x8 Photo Card... and Shutterfly delivers some very cute options;)

 I like these are very affordable! They are priced the same as my local grocery/pharmacy ( $.32 to $.44) and there is free shipping with $30 purchase (SHIP30)! Not to mention all the deals you can use once you sign up for a free Shutterfly account... I've already ordered 50 free prints and just missed an opportunity to order 101 more!

And while you are browsing Shutterfly, you might as well check out their photo gifts:) And the super popular photo calendars for those parents and grandparents:)

Shutterfly is giving away 3 sets of 25 cards of your choice to my readers:) It's super exciting that you can choose the cards of your choice helping you get that perfect Christmas Card !!

So here's how to enter....first, leave a comment with a card you like from Shutterfly! Please be sure to leave your email in the comment as well, so I can contact you!

For extra entries (leave a comment for each)...
  • Share this post on Facebook, by hitting the button below or linking this blog on your profile!
  • Like Shutterfly on Facebook
  • Tweet this giveaway and leave your twitter name
  • Follow me on GFC
This giveaway ends Friday, December 9th at 11pm!!!

**Disclaimer: I have been given free cards and shipping to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own;)

Gallon Man

**Please check out my Shutterfly giveaway to win a set of 25 cards from Shutterfly:)

This week one of Anna's math lessons was to learn about capacity and the different liquid measurements. Since I STINK at remembering these (I am glad I'm a homeschooling Mom so I can learn it again), I decided to add to the lesson!!

So we made Gallon Man:) You Tube "gallon man song" to get an explanation of him.

1. I pre-cut all the pieces for the kids. I used just 1 piece of construction paper as the gallon "body" and then cut the pieces based on that size. So for the "quart" cut the construction paper into 4 pieces, the "pint" cut into 8 pieces and the "cup" into 16 pieces!

2. Then I laid the pieces on the table one color at a time and had the girls figure out how many of each color they needed to cover the "gallon body".


3. After fitting each color, I had the kids label the pieces with the name! I thought it would be helpful in remembering the pieces to write them over, and over and over:) CHris was busy with finishing other work, so I wrote his labels for him!


4. We laid the pieces out so that they each understood HOW to glue it all together! Also good to see the spacing and that these guys are big... we used the school table and the dining room table;)


5. They got to work gluing;)

6. I loved how they turned out and the kids have had fun with them!! They were having them race down the stairs later in the evening... LOL!!



7. Tomorrow I'm planning to use them to review and there will probably be some more stair racing;) I'm hoping one of these guys makes it to the new school room in the new house;)

I also have a giveaway from Shutterfly coming this week.. very good... especially if you haven't finished your Christmas cards yet:)

Linking up to Works for Me Wednesday @ We are That Family  check out lots of great ideas.

and any other linkys I find !!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Day After Thanksgiving Break

Coming off of Thanksgiving Break, having a great visit with family, traveling 5 or 6 hours one way back home...

is a hard way to start a week.

We were all soo off this morning...

the kids that don't usually fuss, fussed.
the Momma striving to be patient and enjoy each day, fussed.
the baby, fussed.
the house seemed to fuss, too... it needed some attention!

A word of encouragement from a wise woman ," It always takes a little bit of time to get back into your routine after a break!"

But amazingly enough, we completed a decent amount of work and headed out into the beautiful fall day that we were given;) Yes, every beautiful day is nice, but today it was truly a gift!... especially since the last time I saw a weather report it was supposed to be a rainy day!

And the little list of gifts goes on...

310. silly conversations with a little boy
311. laughter over chaos
312. fried dumplings (a reminder of missions trip)
313. super warm fall day
314. picnic-ing on a blanket
315. chicken nuggets in the freezer for picnic
316. joys of jumping into leaves
317. children eager for Christmas decorations
318. little helpers
319. the happy dance
320. sweet decor reminders of this special season
321. fun math activities
322. happily working together... at least for a few moments;)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Chris is 6!!

Last night we got to reflect on a special Thanksgiving night 6 years ago...

the night we traveled to the hospital to deliver our little boy...

when our little, sweet family of 3... turned into a louder, busier, rougher, sillier home with a little boy...

our Chris!!

So today with the errands and running around, we've also celebrated Chris' birthday:) A hot dog lunch, a chocolate spider cake...


 "Legos" being put together

and some sword fighting in the yard!!



Chris is 45.5 inches tall and weighs  about 45 lbs

IMG_0589His favorites:

Color : Blue
Food : Hot Dogs
Treat: Trader Joe's soy ice cream
Subject: Reading [this momma is doing the "happy dance"... LOL!!]
Animal: Crocodiles, Lizards
Do inside: Play with Legos
Outside Activity: Play soccer and football
Toys: Dart gun 
Restaurant: McDonalds
Book: Piggie & Elephant books by Mo Willems
Movie:How to Train Your Dragon
PBSkids Show: Wild Kratts

Goals for his 6th year: Learn Sign Language (funny because I just was contacted about reviewing these online ASL courses!)

When you ask him what he wants to be when he "grows up" he'll respond "a fire engine man"! But on Wednesday night he said that he wanted to teach blind children to read... a very noble job... but then when I asked him why he wanted to have that job he responded, "to make money!!"

And what is the coolest thing about being 6?? He responded, "that you are bigger than your little sister!"

Here's is last years stats and questions, so they can be compared;)

Happy Birthday, Chris!!!

We love you!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Great Thanksgiving

Just wanted to take a moment to share a little of our Thanksgiving:)

It's easy to get caught up in all the busyness of the holidays... traveling, shopping, baking, cleaning;) And miss the special normal moments that pass so quickly!!

We are soo blessed with soo much materially... we have clothes that keep us warm, a house that keeps us protected from the weather, good health, and a table with plenty of food.

Thanksgiving is a unique holiday reminding us to take the time to be thankful and to spend time with those we love...

and enjoying the times spent with family around the table!

With all of our reading about Plymouth Plantation and the 1st Thanksgiving even more meaning was brought to this holiday:)
Little Indian Brave Chris lurking in the bushes

Happy Thanksgiving!!

And a quote from someone who inspired thanksgiving in the everyday for me this year:

“We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks. Because how else do we accept His free gift of salvation if not with thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to His grace.” 

“Thanksgiving-giving thanks in everything-prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ.”
Ann Voskamp  One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WW: Spider Web & The Tongue Slide

When we spent a few days with grandparents last week, we spent a little time (on a very freezing cold day) at a "new" park! We've actually played on the old one before and the kids have been eye-ing it from the highway for months now! So it was fun to explore this "new" playground!
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This park had a great variety of toys...
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some things we have never seen before!!

Have you ever wanted to climb into a spider web... and not get all sticky or worried a spider is on you? This one was obviously a favorite;)

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Chris made plenty of time to "hang out" !!
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And this???? Does anyone know what this is?

I nicknamed it The Tongue Slide.... and my brave Anna took it on;)

It kind of got a little challenging to slide in the middle ;)

and any other linkys I find !!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ewwwww & A Case for a Puppy

I was changing a wiggly Nate one evening this week. To distract him and keep him still I began to ask him about finding body parts (ears, tongue, hair, etc). Towards the end of our wrestling match... I mean diaper change... I asked,"Nate, where is your nose?"

He scrunched up his little nose and started sniffing loudly... because it's more fun to make a silly noise than just point to his nose:)

But in all that silly sniffing he got a whiff of his stinky and says, "Ewwwwww!!!"

LOL... too funny:)


Chris' message for us:
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This was written totally by Chris;)

Here is what it says " I want a puppy. Puppies are important, you have to do a lot of  {puppy you have to do} chores."

Obviously he understands that a puppy is a lot of work. And some more Spelling words to work on... but very cute:)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: Fitting it all in

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figures the only clear shot of the mirrors included my antics
We had another week of trying to "fit it all in"!!

Seems like since September our weeks have been getting crazier and crazier. I desperately want a week when I don't feel FRAZZLED to get through everyone's basic work...

last week was the same:/

It's good though...

if my kids attended public school, we wouldn't have been able to take the road trip with Brian or have his parents over like the week before last. And last week we wouldn't have been able to pack-up again and head to my parents while Brian was at another conference.

I know it's one of the blessings of homeschooling... being flexible. Hitting the books hard while at home and then taking advantage of the flexibility to visit with family and take field trips;) But it definitely takes some discipline on our part to really focus on schooling on those ONLY-school days!

We did complete a simple Science experiment showing how water could separate the molecules of the food coloring... enough to see some of the different colors that made up the food coloring.

A drop of food coloring on a paper towel... on a few we made an ink pen mark first... that was cool because the water "carried" food coloring off the original mark, so the pen mark was used as the original point.

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I didn't take a final picture of the paper towel and marker... but let me warn you to keep the paper towels over the sink!! I was scrubbing food coloring off the counter because the water had "carried" the food coloring  off the edge!!

We also tried different colors of food coloring and different brands of paper towels... there was a noticeable difference in the absorption of the "name Brand" over the generic! I was surprised!

The kids also completed 2 or 3 math lessons before our "mini trip"...
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Language Arts
Lydia and Chris completed a couple of Grammar lessons.  I love them doing these lessons together!! So thankful that we tried it and that it's working;)

Chris read through another Piggie & Elephant book as well as started working some Dr Suess books. Lydia completed a lesson or two from Ordinary parents Guide to Teaching Reading (OPG) and started working through a classic Dick and Jane reader. I'm not a huge fan of Dick and Jane only because it is only sight work based... the kids HAVE to use sight words not much can be sounded out. But I do like using them in addition to our reading "program" because it is teaching and reviewing sight words:)

Lydia continued with the same spelling word unit of You Can Read because she didn't know them from the previous week:) And Chris moved on to some new sight words as spelling words that he'll work on the next two weeks.

Anna worked on Grammar, Spelling and Individual reading each morning we were home;) I"m soo thankful that she's usually a very diligent worker.... makes it easier to balance all the other choas happening around the house on schooling mornings :)

We have been pouring through the crazy pile of Thanksgiving books from our local library!! It's been nice not to have to rush through a topic to get to the next... so very fortunate that our history lessons have been about the Plymouth Plantation during this Thanksgiving season;)

While away we hoped to make a trip to the Jametown Settlement which is a easy drive from my parents... but the cold, wet weather last week changed our plans! Would have been very fun to visited the settlement as we study this time period... but oh, well...

we went to the Aquarium with a little cousin instead... so more Science:)

It seems like we stick around one exhibit the most each time we go... this time it was the Sting Rays:)


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I had to include Anna bravely touching the starfish;)

It was a fun trip and it worked out well since our passes expire in early January, so it was probably our last trip for a while!

Back at Grammie and Pey's we stayed busy, too!
  • organizing Thanksgiving food pictures into the food groups (something I made out of magazine and label notecards for Anna when she was in pre-K... always good to pull them out and use them again!!)
  • we made our thankful turkeys
  • read more Thanksgiving books 
  • and watched The Sound of Music into the night;)
Another busy week of trying to fit everything in;) And it was back to the grind this week preparing for some more visiting at the end of this week, Thanksgiving and a birthday to celebrate;)

Picture of the Week

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Chris and the fish checking each other out

Contributing the last picture to Tuesdays Around the World @ communal global and Sweet Shot Tuesday!
Linking up to Weekly Wrap-Up @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!