Sunday, November 30, 2008
My kids have been asking for an allowance and I have been trying to design some sort of chore chart for them. Now I have been relieved of this task :) Handipoints is a website where you can make your own custom charts for each kid. You decide how many points they earn for each task. You can also decide what their reward will be (savings, charity, a toy, spending money, a special outing etc.) and how many points they need to earn thing.
The kids actually earn 2 different types of points for their tasks. First, the "handipoints" are saved towards a reward of your choice. They also receive bonus points which they can use in Handiland (a virtual world similar to webkinz). The first part of the website is free, but there is a fee to use the handiland bonus points.
I have already printed out the kids lists for this week and they are so excited about checking off their tasks. I like that they know what is expected of them and they have a list that they can refer to - rather than me having to constantly remind them.
I will let you know how it is working a couple of weeks from now.....
Friday, November 28, 2008
So I have learned that Thanksgiving dinner can be really simple in my house (at least while Andy is gone). The kids would gladly eat crescent rolls, mashed potatoes, olives, and pickles for dinner. Easy to please :)
We did ham since it was easier and I didn't want to end up with turkey for the next month. Next year, we will definitely go all out with all the trimmings.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I am thankful for:
1. My wonderful, loving, helpful, caring, husband. For always being there for me. For being such a good provider for our family. For being an incredible dad to our kids. For serving our country. For letting me stay home with the kids instead of making money :)
2. My super-smart, always-lovable, healthy, happy kids.
3. My treadmill and ipod - the combination of the two is so cool!!
4. A house full of food to fill our bellies.
5. A house big enough to fit our large family.
6. A reliable car that gets us around town.
7. Homeschooling. I love having my kids around every day.
8. Chocolate (I would be even more thankful if it were calorie-free!)
9. Books, books, and more books. And enough bookshelves too.
10. Having wonderful parents, brothers, and a sister.
11. Having great in-laws!
12. A warm house during the cold winter.
13. The opportunity to travel and live in different places.
14. The beauty of the surrounding landscape.
15. For our webcam so that we can talk to Andy - and see him :)
16. 5 quick, easy, drug-free labors and deliveries.
17. For my kids' goofiness. It can always bring a smile to my face.
18. Unanswered prayers.
19. A happy, easy baby. Tori is such a joy!
20. The Christmas season.
21. Our great country and all of the wonderful opportunities we have here that others don't.
22. The ability to type quickly. Otherwise I'd be on the computer a lot longer...
23. For the friends we've made in everyplace we've lived.
24. The safety of my husband and the rest of the soldiers in his unit.
25. My robe that my sister made me (I love you Andrea!)
26. Movie night with my family
27. Nature walks/hikes (when it's not below zero of course!)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
She has read a chapter book (112 pgs) to herself in a couple of days. I am so proud of her!!!
I rewarded her by buying 2 more books (1 of which she is already halfway through)!
She is finally to the point where she is reading comfortably. No frustration. No whining. She wants to do it and she is enjoying it. If she doesn't understand a word, she asks - but she isn't getting hung up on it. It just warmed my heart to see her curled up on the couch, under a blanket with a book in her hand this morning.
I now have 2 full-fledged readers and 3 to go! Lexie is reading Bob Books and other books with short-vowels without any problems. She is definitely still in the "sounding it out" stage, but she is only 4 and she has been improving greatly in the past few weeks. It is still work for her. She enjoys it for about the first 5 lines, but that's about as far as she wants to go - and that is fine:)
Monday, November 24, 2008
FOR TODAY : November 24, 2008
Outside my window...is a very slippery street. I can sit from my window and watch people slide as they try to go up the road. I wish someone would put some sand down.
I am thinking...that the days are getting very short. I miss the daylight.
I am thankful for...finishing my quarterly reports last Friday. I am much relieved :)
From the learning rooms...We are taking it slow this week. I think we will work on schoolwork here and there while I use the extra time off to get myself organized and well-rested.
From the kitchen...Banana bread made by my 9 yr old daughter. I am so proud of her!
I am wearing...exercise pants and a t-shirt. I'm about to jump on the treadmill.
I am creating...stockings full of goodies for my children's coaches and teachers.
I am going...to dance class and grocery shopping.
I am reading...Family Tree Magazine
I am hoping...that I get everything done on my to-do list
I am hearing...the hum of my computer and my kids chatting upstairs
Around the house...Ellie has become quite the baker. I think she's going to try another recipe today.
One of my favorite things...a cup of tea or cocoa on a cold day
A few plans for the rest of the week: Thanksgiving at home with a friend and her daughter and a much-needed break this week from most of our classes.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
We studied Ancient India this past week (and also India in general). The kids enjoyed listening to some Indian dance music - it actually sounds pretty cool.
I went to JoAnn's and bought them each a yard and a half of beautiful sari fabric and they have been using it all week to dress up in. What vibrant colors they had!! The kids had a hard time choosing just one.
(Please know that I have not checked out EACH and EVERY place on these websites so I am not sure that they are all appropriate. I am hoping that you will find them helpful)
Mohhenjo-daro.net This has 103 indexed pictures of the city.
A game on India and the caste system
Virtual Tours of Ancient Indian temples.
A tour around India
Ancient India at the British Museum
Ancient India at History for Kids
I tried to simplify the Indian Caste System and the Hindu gods and goddesses for the kids. I made a couple of quick notebooking pages to use with our study:
Books we are using:
Friday, November 21, 2008
My kids just love this word. They think it sounds ridiculous. That, paired with the fact that we were studying constellations and learned about Cassiopeia, made them super silly this week. They have been singing: "Onomatopoeia, Cassiopeia" over and over....
They thought it was even funnier when they actually found out what an Onomatopoeia was. We decided to do some Onomatopoeia poetry for fun. Here is what Ellie came up with:
And I now hope that I never have to type "onomatopoeia" ever again!!!
Tori is 6 months and 1 day old. I can hardly believe it! Time has flown by so quickly. She isn't crawling, but she is moving - if that makes sense :)
We celebrated today with a cake (made by Ellie). I posted a picture of her cake and of the girls singing on my other blog.
My shelves look more orderly though and I managed to get rid of an entire box full of books that I knew that we would never use. I took them to our local bookstore and I ended up getting $85 worth of credit towards used books! Too bad I can't actually go into the store with all of the kids. The used books are upstairs and the aisles are very narrow. I guess I will have to wait for a day when I can find a babysitter :)
It makes me want to finish going through my shelves since I know that there are many more that I could probably part with. I have such a hard time getting rid of them though. What if some day I might need them? Ha! I know I'm being silly.
I have some curriculum that I am not using either, but for some reason I still have it. I keep thinking - what if one of the younger kids needs it in a few years? Example: I have Saxon Math, but we use Horizons. It is taking up precious shelf space and I know that I need to get rid of it. :) Just let go Jennifer!!!
Thanksgiving is a week away! We want to know–what are you most thankful for?
And I, personally, would like to know–and am sneaking this in out of sheer nosiness– what’s your best Thanksgiving recipe? Will you share it or another great Fall meal idea? That would make *me* very thankful!
I am thankful for:
1. 5 sweet little children
2. my loving husband
3. a warm house during the cold winter
4. a 2-car heated garage (you'd be surprised how many people don't have that up here!)
5. homeschooling my children
6. a laundry room (we had our washer and dryer in our kitchen in our last house!)
7. a wonderful sister! - and my brothers too :)
8. my new brother-in-law :)
9. my treadmill
10. my webcam - so that we can keep in touch with Andy
11. all of the wonderful people we have met in all of the places we have lived
12. garbage service (we had to haul it to the transfer point until a couple of months ago...)
13. a wonderful childhood
14. my new ipod
15. my shelves full of books
16. chocolate :)
17. good health
18. money to go Christmas shopping with
19. a good night's rest
20. good times with family and friends
I wish that I could post some wonderful recipe that you could add to your Thanksgiving dinner, but you're asking the wrong person :) I will give you a funny story instead:
Our first Thanksgiving with a new baby (our 2nd one married), my husband invited a single soldier from work to eat with us. I of course had my hands full with our little baby (it seemed much harder the first time around!).
I decided to get an early start on the potatoes while she was sleeping, so I cut them all up and set them on the stove, ready to go. Later, I simply turned them on. What I forgot was that I hadn't added any water! It's kind of hard to boil potatoes without water. It didn't take long before the pot had cemented itself to the burner. I didn't think that was possible, but trust me - it is! We had to throw out the pot and replace the heating element. I'm sure our guest was impressed with my culinary skills....
I can cook much better than I did 10 years ago, but I still leave most of it to my wonderful husband who enjoys it more than I do :) Needless to say, with him gone this Thanksgiving, we have decided to do a ham instead of a turkey - so much easier!
Anyway, I guess my recipe would be to add water to your pot of potatoes :)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Theme: This week I want to invite you to nominate your family to their correct categories as well has have others nominate them. While my two sisters are listed under Best Teen and Best Design, those definitely are NOT the best traits they have nor the funniest.This is how you do it…. you post the category that best describes each of your family members and write something about why you nominated them in that category, and you’re welcome to post photos.
Best Climber: This award definitely goes to Nick. He likes to be on top of the world! Here he is just after climbing on all of these rubbermaid boxes in the closet...
Best Baby: Tori Rose has by far been the best baby yet. :) She sleeps more, nurses less, and only has a stinky diaper once every couple of days!! She is usually all smiles and is a good traveler too. :)
Best Reader: This award goes to Ellie. She reads in every room of the house and I am constantly picking up the trail of books which she leaves behind :)
Best Athlete: Kate was born really strong. She has always been very athletic and she loves to be constantly moving.
Best Talker: This definitely goes to Lexie. She can talk about anything, anytime. She's quite the little chatterbox :)
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
We have been studying constellations this week. It's just too cold to go outside at night and look at the sky (at least for my taste - I prefer watching a good meteor shower on a warm summer night!), so we have been looking at pictures in books instead. The girls tried their hand at writing down some of the different constellations on a worksheet that I made for them. It was interesting reading the stories behind them. I can see how people imagined some of the patterns to be certain things, but there are others that just seem like such a stretch to me. :)
Here are some of the books that we have used in our studies this week:
We just got home from dance class and my car said that it is -29 out. Not 29 degrees - NEGATIVE 29 degrees out. Like 61 degrees below the freezing point. That is cold.
Of course, I was out of gas and had to stand at the pump to fill my truck. I sure wish I had a pair of long johns on. :)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Here are some of my favorites:
1. Tapestry of Grace The curriculum we use. I love it :)
2. BrainPop! My kids love these short, informative, funny videos.
3. Homeschool Tracker They have a free version to download.
4. Ambleside Online Charlotte Mason
5. Notebookingpages.com Great notebooking pages!!
6. Notebooking Nook More notebooking pages - freebies too!
7. Home School in the Woods Timeline figures.
8. Knowledge Quest Geography Books, Maps
9. Hold That Thought! Notebooking Pages
11. Word Search Maker
12. National Wildlife Federation: Green Hour
13. The Character Journal Great information on different virtues.
14. History for Kids Lots of history stuff for kids!
15. 1001 Good Books List at Classial Christian Education Support Loop
Close-up of Graffiti
Apparently we have gotten to the stage where Nick feels the need to write on anything and everything.
We have a plethora of pens, pencils, markers, and crayons around the house. They are all fair game to him. He is doodling on everything, leaving his mark wherever he sees fit. He has drawn on the walls, floors, table, and even (gasp!) the ottoman that Andy so lovingly covered himself (and expensively I might add). We have scrubbed and scrubbed and used the white magic sponge thing and we still have pen marks on the ottoman (sorry honey!).
The girls have been warned to keep all writing utensils up high when not in use. I know that is not the solution though. He knows he isn't supposed to be writing on things. I know he knows. We will be butting heads soon if it doesn't cease.
Monday, November 17, 2008
The Things That Make Our Family Unique. What experiences do you have that you can share with other mothers?
So tell us, what makes you unique? Have you gone through things that have been an encouragement to others? Are you dealing with special needs? Do you have a degree in horticulture? Have you adopted your children? What do you bring to this group…all of you bring something special.
1. We have lived in 5 different houses and we have had a baby in each place. Needless to say, my husband is afraid to move again :) We have lived in San Antonio and Copperas Cove, TX, Monterey and Seaside, CA, and North Pole, AK.
2. We are an Army family. My husband has been in the Army for going on 21 years (we have been married 10). It is always an adventure! He is currently deployed to Iraq.
3. I love to do genealogy. If left to my own devices, I could probably do this all day long. I love the research - whether it's searching through old census records or walking through an old cemetery, I love it all.
4. I played volleyball in college. YEARS ago obviously (and only community college) , but I used to love to play. Ellie has started playing in a summer program and I love that we can share that together.
5. My husband is the cook of the house. I sure miss his spaghetti, apple pies, omelets, and chili. I usually cook out of necessity, but he really enjoys it - and I enjoy him enjoying it :)
6. I used to be a Russian Linguist in the Air Force before becoming a full-time Mommy. I just wish I would have kept up with my language skills. Ellie of course chose French to learn this year, but we were not enjoying it and we will soon be starting Russian instead :) At least I can help her out that way!!
7. I am not an animal person. I have finally come to the realization that I like animals in theory. I just don't care for the hair, or the smell, or the cleaning up after them part. Unfortunately, I have a budding veterinarian in the house who is dying for a pet. I think I could deal with an outside dog - or a clean indoor cat :) We had a dog last year and it was just SO MUCH WORK to keep the hair off the floor, the yard cleaned up, and to keep him home (he liked to run free....). I decided that my hands were full enough with all 5 kids during the deployment and we found him a new loving home earlier this year. Maybe later when the kids are older and able to help out more, we will get a dog again.
Lexie is working her way through the Cubbies Hopper Book.
Kate has finished the entire Sparks Hanglider Book in less than 3 months!! Good job Katie!!
Ellie is one discovery away from finishing her first T&T Book.
They are all immensely enjoying this program. I am so impressed with how many Bible verses they have memorized in such a short time - and they enjoy doing it!
FOR TODAY November 17, 2008...
Outside my window...is a layer of fresh snow.
I am thinking... that Christmas is going to come before I'm ready :)
I am thankful for... being born in the United States. We are listening to stories about Ancient India and the caste system. What a horrible thing to be born an Untouchable!
From the learning rooms...We're studying Ancient India in history and constellations in science.
From the kitchen... I will be heating up food I made earlier this month - Spaghetti tonight with some fresh rolls.
I am wearing...a t-shirt and black exercise pants.
I am creating...a Christmas dvd with our digital pictures.
I am going...to dance class tonight if the kids feel well enough. Lexie, Nick, and Tori all have a bad cough and Ellie hurt her wrist last night playing some games in the gym. We might just stay home today.
I am reading... New Astronomer and learning about the constellations
I am hoping... that we can all be healthy at the same time. I 'm sick of the germs and coughs being passed around the house.
I am hearing... Story of the World Volume 1 - the sections on Ancient India.
Around the house... Hopefully I will finally get around to shoveling the snow today.
One of my favorite things... Cherry Limeades from Sonic. I sure wish I could get a huge Cherry Limeade up here in Alaska!!
A few plans for the rest of the week: a field trip to the Geophysical Institute at the University.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Read more at: http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This past week, we were learning about being more generous - with our money and our time. The girls learned that being generous means giving or sharing something freely - without any expectations of anything in return.
The girls are working on filling shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. They are having such a good time picking out things they think that children would love to receive. They are learning to give without expecting anything in return. National Collection Week for this charity is November 17-24 if you would like to participate. :)
Affirmation for the week: "I am generous. I look for opportunities to give and to share. There is plenty of time for thoughtfulness. I give freely, fully, and joyfully."
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I dropped the kids off at respite care this morning so that I could enjoy some grown-up time and shop at a craft show with a friend.
I got a call from one of the childcare workers saying that Lexie had been crying non-stop since I left and she wasn't eating. So, our shopping was cut short and we skipped our lunch plans :(
I picked up all of the kids and took Ellie and Kate to a Girl Scout craft day. Then I took Ellie to a birthday party at the bowling alley.
I had been gone from the house for 10 hours by the time I got back. I am exhausted!
I am thankful though that I got some Christmas shopping done and that the kids are pretty tired too from getting up so early today. Hopefully we will all have a pleasant night of blissful sleep.......
Friday, November 14, 2008
We all slept in.
I took a long, hot shower.
I let the kids watch cartoons this morning and I read a book - for hours!
I took them to gymnastics, and I watched a movie on my ipod - how cool!
We ate pizza for dinner and I let the kids make their own trail mix.
They are watching a movie and I am doing a few little chores here and there, but for the most part I am just relaxing.
I needed today. I needed a break from life. I needed to not feel like I had to work on anything. Ok, so I still did the dishes and washed the diapers, but I don't mind that so much :)
It was nice to take a real break. Normally when we take a day off of school, I do it because I am so busy with something else that I have to finish. Today, it was all about doing nothing and it was perfect :)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Memory Verse: Philippians 4:8
In conclusion, brothers, focus your thoughts on what is true, noble, righteous, pure, lovable or admirable, on some virtue or on something praiseworthy.
The passion to sing, the passion to draw, the passion to build, the passion to ride, the passion for reading, the passion for nature… the list is endless. Some children exhibit their passion from day one, others need an experience to spark that passion
Assignment: Share a field trip/lifestyle learning experience where you really felt you were bringing good things to life for your children, where something came alive for them, or ignited a passion.
I would have to say that a field trip that we took to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, CA (see previous post) really ignited a passion for Ancient Egypt for Ellie. She went on to take a 2 week long summer class on this subject and she has really become the resident expert. :) She went on to become really interested in Ancient Greece and Rome also and sometimes thinks that she might like to become a famous archaeologist - or a fashion designer :)
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" James 1:5
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Sometimes you buy your child a toy and they are excited with it for a while, but then the excitement wears off and the toy gets put on a shelf, or left under a bed - never to be played with again.
I just wanted to share one of our all-time favorite toys. It's probably the only one that gets used almost every single day.
I first bought some when Ellie was little. They lasted a long time, but they had to be replaced last Christmas. (Ellie is 9 now, which is great for how much use they got!)
The greatest thing about them is that the kids use their imagination!! They are used as dress-up clothes, baby blankets, tents, etc. and they feel so nice :) The girls love designing their own fashions with them.
Homeschool Mothers do a lot in a day…. I’d say they do more than the working mom because they have to care for the kids, the house, the meals, and much more. They are constantly on the go and with the kids! Sometimes you just need a break. You need to sit down and have a break. While I’m not a mom - YET - I know there I are times I need to sit down for a breather.
THEME: This week I’d like to invite you to share what YOUR “Mom” help is. Some drink coffee, soda, or chai-tea. Others check email or read their favourite blogs. Some talk a walk…. what do you do when you need to clear your head and take a breather?
Lately, I haven't had much of a breather. It seems like I'm going, going, going, constantly. Someone always seems to be awake and needing something. I know that I need to start finding these small moments during the day to keep myself sane over the coming months :)
When I have a minute to myself, I like to: blog, read my email, have a cup of hot cocoa, watch Pride and Prejudice or Wives and Daughters for the billionth time, read in bed, or listen to music.
Also, I just got myself an ipod and it plugs right into my treadmill. It makes walking on there so much more enjoyable - and it makes me walk faster than I was going before. I am hoping to make the time to get on there every day. It energizes me and clears my mind.
Scripture: Psalm 139 - O LORD you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD...
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Yesterday, my children decided that they needed to jump off the castle in the playroom. They managed to break a board in half and what was left attached was sharp and full of splinters. Not too safe to play around.
So, I went into the garage and started looking around for what tools I needed. I erred on the side of caution and didn't use the sawzall - I didn't want to lose a limb! So, I got out the old-fashioned saw and evened up the board, then planed it until it was flush with the castle wall, and then I sanded it down so it is now safe and splinter-free.
I suppose I am capable of more than I think. I am sure that Andy would have done a nicer (and much quicker) job than I did, but I am glad that at least I was able to make it safe.
I miss having a husband around :(
Three Flags, 1958
Thank you for your service!
In honor of Veterans Day, Build-a-Sign is giving away 20,000 banners and signs for FREE!! You just pay for shipping. Hurry if you would like to order one, because they will go quickly!
Monday, November 10, 2008
FOR TODAY : November 10, 2008
Outside my window... it is still pitch black outside although it is almost 8:30. The sun won't come up until after 9. We are losing precious daylight as we get closer to the winter solstice.
I am thinking...that I need to get up this early more often. I was able to go on the treadmill for 45 minutes this morning and I feel great (but tired!). We'll see if I can do it again tomorrow.
I am thankful for... a phone call from my husband this morning. It was so good to hear his voice.
From the learning rooms... We will be studying stars and constellations in science (FUN!) We are going to be studying Ancient India for social studies.
From the kitchen... Grocery shopping today. I am hoping for some good fresh fruit.
I am wearing... sweaty clothes after my workout
I am creating...I am starting on my Christmas newsletter. You can never start too early!!
I am going... shopping and to 3 hours of dance classes.
I am reading...a digital scrapbooking magazine.
I am hoping...that we can get through the day without too much crankiness (I got the kids up 2 hours earlier than before and they are a tad grumpy - they had been sleeping in WAY too late though).
I am hearing... My 4 yr old reading an easy reader to me. Sweet music to my ears :)
Around the house...Same old stuff - washing diapers, putting away laundry, cleaning out the really dirty truck, maybe cleaning out my desk if I have the time.
One of my favorite things... My brand new 2 day old ipod!!! Yes, I have entered the modern age :) I can't believe I held out so long. It's so COOL!!
A few plans for the rest of the week: We are going to be putting together boxes for Operation Christmas Child. The kids are very excited to go shopping to fill their boxes with lots of fun stuff :)
Here is picture thought I am sharing...the funnest toys are free :)
Here is the link to the Simple Woman's Daybook to read further entries or join in the fun! http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/
Sunday, November 9, 2008
It was crazy hair night at AWANA. How fun :)
I am so proud of the girls. They all earned patches/awards tonight for their memory work. Kate recited all of the books of the New Testament in order!! Ellie is close to finishing her first T&T book. She is an amazing little memorizing machine :) Lexie finished 3 verses tonight. Good job girls!!!
Today they painted special Daddy T-shirts to wear. I had to help spread the paint since they seemed to keep squeezing out more than they needed! They had a lot of fun though and that is all that counts. The shirts are pretty big, so we decided to use them as PJs. They are proudly wearing them to bed tonight. :)