Monday, September 12, 2011

Snow??? In the summer???

After we finished our homeschooling today, the kids asked if we could do just one more activity. Of course I said yes as long as they hurried and cleaned up their messes from the previous activity. I have never seen Jelly Bean or Life Saver move so fast!!!

At first I thought we would work a little more on our numbers by playing with our Cookie Jar  The kids love this game. We have created our own games using our imaginations!! I love to see what games they come up with next!!!

However, I decided to REALLY do something out of the ordinary. I've always read great reviews about Insta Snow Powder So a few weeks ago, I purchased some at our local teacher store. For a fun surprise, I got the supplies ready and we made our "snow". The kids LOVED it. It was really pretty neat and I cannot wait to make it again with them. However, this time we are making A LOT more of it!! The "snow" was even cold to the touch.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A nice and fun surprise

We decided to surprise the kids with something they both have been asking for for quite a long time. TENTS and SLEEPING BAGS!! While searching online for gifts for Life Saver's birthday, I decided to check things out. I came across really good deals on both items for both kids!! I placed the order and Grammie picked the items up and hid them until we were ready to surprise them!!

Daddy took the kids outside and occupied them while I put the tents together. Why I thought this was a good idea, I will never know. I have never wanted to sleep in a tent so I have never attempted to put one together. What made me think I could accomplish such a thing?!?! Grammie attempted to help me, but she is just like me. She's never liked the outdoor camping life either. Finally after hearing a snap in one of the tent poles, I gave up! I called Daddy for HELP!!

The surprise didn't quite turn out like I wanted, but you know, Life is Good. The kids were still thrilled!! Daddy had problems putting the tents together as well so I didn't feel so inadequate!! I did realize one thing, I still have absolutely no desire to sleep outdoors in a tent :)

The tents have now officially been moved from our game room into the kids beds. They love using them as a hideout and I'm ok with that! Afterall, they are only little for awhile!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Midwestern storms

Here in the Midwest, storms are typical. Bad storms even more so. As mentioned in a previous post, Daddy was gone to New York. Before he left, he set the sprinkler system up for us to where it would hit the garden just perfectly. All we had to do was turn on the faucet. Easy enough. Jelly Belly and Life Saver took turns doing this nightly chore. We had to wait until around 8pm each night because it was sooo hot outside. 

One night, we were sitting outside and in rolled some clouds. Ok maybe not just clouds, but storm clouds. 

 Considering we still had a great amount of sunshine as well behind me and there was neither thunder nor lightening, I figured we had a few more minutes of outside time. Sure enough. This cloud blew right over us as if to tease us with the though of some much needed rain. Oh well. The kids got to stay outside playing and the garden was getting water by the sprinkler.

Until about 10 minutes later. Then I heard thunder and in a matter of minutes, we got even more storm clouds. The temperature dropped FAST. We turned of the sprinkler and ran inside just in time. The skies opened up and poured. Finally rain. Then came the hail. And more hail. And even more hail. Needless to say we could have done without the hail. Many of our neighbors are already having their roofs replaced from our last 2 hailstorms. So far we haven't needed to do so.


 While I do LOVE where we live, I could do without our typical Midwestern storms.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Our Family Garden

This year our garden got planted REALLY late. We had non stop rain for what seemed like FOREVER!! Finally when it was time to plant, we had troubles finding plants to purchase and it was too late to start from seeds. My mom was able to purchase 2 nice sized tomato plants from our Farmer's Market downtown. My dad was able to find several tomato plants down where he lives. Daddy was finally able to plant!! Jelly Belly and Lifesaver helped. They planted corn and pumpkin seeds. While Daddy was planting, he noticed several volunteer plants from last year. He transplanted those and we have tons of tomato plants!!! YAY for tomatoes :)

Our garden has grown like crazy surprisingly after such a late start and then a long drought. Daddy even took a week long trip to New York and Mommy didn't kill the garden while he was gone. You see, I do NOT have any sort of green thumb. I am the type to kill a cactus. Finally, we are now getting natural good for the garden RAINWATER!!! We have lots and lots and lots of green tomatoes if you like those sorts of things. We personally do not. We just cannot wait to have red tomatoes!!!

The corn stalks are actually beautiful as far as corn goes. I mean I have never really thought of corn as being beautiful myself. Corn is corn, right? Wrong. Once I saw the corn stalks my children grew, I saw the beauty in corn. Ok, maybe not so much in the corn, but the idea my children grew something and the beauty of their faces when they see their fruits of labor.

As of this post, we have at least 6 good sized pumpkins growing. They are overtaking the yard by the garden bed. The kids are excited knowing they are growing their own pumpkins for Halloween this year. I mean it is pretty cool to have your own pumpkin patch in your own backyard. 

The only item I haven't mentioned are our watermelon. We have only 2 so far. Why do I say so far? Well this is because we cannot really see how many watermelon there really are. You see, our watermelon have grown into our backyard pumpkin patch!! Never the less, the kids are thrilled seeing their work. And we are one proud garden growing family!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer fun part 4

Almost on a daily basis, the kids have asked to do some sort of painting. Finally to their surprise, Daddy said "let's paint". After I picked myself up off the floor, I got the paint supplies ready!!! You see, Daddy normally does not like to do such messy things with the kids indoors. Considering it was 96 degrees outside, he really didn't have a choice but to stay inside!! I found it pretty funny how much newspaper Daddy put all over the place so the kids wouldn't get the table messy!!

Daddy was so worried they would get paint all over their clothes. As you can see, he opted to not use their paint smocks. In fact, he didn't realize we had any. I really need to get Daddy more involved in our home schooling!!!

The kids enjoyed spending an hour painting away. Much to my surprise, Daddy cleaned up the entire "mess". All he had to do was roll up the toss away paint containers within the newspaper. You see, Daddy told me this is the reason he placed so many newspapers all around the kids... just to make clean up easier!!! Maybe, just maybe, Daddy can handle the "messier" areas in our school days :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer fun part 3

The temperatures this summer have left so much to be desired. Grammie and I took the kids out for a car ride just to get out of the house. Thank goodness the air conditioner on Grammie's van works well!!! Here is why:

 I am not a fan of summer. I do not like hot weather. I do not like humidity. In fact, I loathe hot weather and humidity. I love Fall weather. I love Winter weather. I love Spring weather.  However it seems Spring weather is a thing of the past!! We go straight from Winter to full blown Summer.

So on sweltering days, we entertain ourselves indoors in the comfort of air conditioning. We have spent many days upstairs in our house. For some reason, our upstairs is much cooler. The kids LOVE dressing up. I got to witness a fashion show.

Jelly Belly was first. He wore his costume a good part of the afternoon. He didn't seem to mind getting hot while wearing it as he was too occupied being a super hero!!!

Then there is Life Saver. She rarely can leave any of her dress up clothes on more than 5 minutes. However, with the outfit she is modeling, she wears it daily. In fact, when Dancing With the Stars is on and she hears the music, she runs to put on this outfit!!! She twirls and twirls and twirls in it. I may be a bit biased, but I think she looks pretty in it!!! It does make me a bit teary eyed from time to time as I imagine her grown up wearing an outfit pretty similar.

This is how we spend our days of summer indoors!!! Of course this is also how we spend our days of winter indoors as well!! The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE their dress up clothes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer fun part 2

Lunches seem to be a huge deal around here. I can rarely get the kids to eat anything. I stumbled across a website where a lady made spaghetti noodles with hot dog bites. She called them something like sketti dogs. Of course I had to make them. So simple. I figured since the kids love sketti and hotdogs, this would be an all around winning lunch. Wrong!!! Jelly Belly wouldn't try it for anything. Not even one tiny little taste. I even ate one in front of him. Surprisingly they were pretty tasty. Life Saver tried them and loved them once she stopped giggling about how they looked!!!

First step is to take spaghetti noodles (I used thin) and break several in  half. Take a hot dog and cut into 4 or 5 pieces. Thread the noodle through the hotdog!!

Next place them into boiling water until the sketti noodles are al dente.

These pictures show

our final product.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer fun part 1

The kids Great Aunt sent them a sand activity kit. They couldn't wait to use it. Daddy wasn't home so we had to wait until the next day. First we thought about going to my Aunt's house because she has white carpet. Colored sand on white carpet would be oh so pretty :) Surprisingly, the sand wasn't that messy. However, I bet it would have been a disaster if Jelly Belly and Life Saver did the activity indoors!!!

Here are some pics of their finished products.

Jelly Belly was more than proud of his. Life Saver, a bit grumpy!!! She just wasn't in the mood for a picture!!!

Thanks again to Aunt/Great Aunt Bev :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Neighborhood parade

Where we live, there have been a lot of Indian families move in. They truly are much nicer than most of our typical American neighbors. They are very friendly and caring. They wave and do not snub their noses up at anyone. I could have an entire post dedicated to what we have learned from the different cultures!!!

Well over the last few days, there have been signs at the entrance to our neighborhood. The signs were about an Indian parade. Of course the word parade got the kids all excited. We didn't know what to expect so we tried to explain to Jelly Bean and Life Saver how this parade would probably be much different than the Disney parades they are accustomed too!!

All morning the kids were excited and kept asking when the parade would start. Around 11am, Grammie and the kiddos head out the front door. I finally joined them a bit later. 2 hours pass and still no parade. We decide to pile in the van and drive toward the parade route. Mistake!!! The parade had started and was heading towards us. One of the volunteer men basically ran us out!! I cannot much blame him. While we were driving, we noticed all the water hoses and sprinklers running. Wasn't sure what that was about.

So we drive home and decide to wait in the van until we could see the parade. About 20 minutes later, we finally see the start of the parade, or so we thought. Instead we saw a truck with a holding tank pull up to the fire hydrant. One of the men undid the hydrant and pumped water into their holding tank. Of course this really had our curiosity going!!

Until we saw the first part of the parade. Women were walking with their brooms. They appeared to be cleansing the street, but I cannot confirm this.

While the women were walking, the men were taking the water hose coming from the tank and spraying the women and the men (which you will see later) on their feet. See the temperature here today was almost 90 degrees during this parade. Because of this, the street temperatures were even hotter. Some of these people were walking barefoot as is normal in their culture. The water was too cool the ground off before they walked upon it. We finally understand now why so many of our neighbors had their water-hoses out in the street!!

The next pictures are from the parade. As I do not yet understand much about this culture, I am not going to make myself look bad and attempt to explain any of the pictures. I can say a young man came up to us and asked us if we had any questions. He explained to us their culture is often mistaken for being muslim, which they are not. They are far different. I cannot imagine in today's society how they must feel being mistaken for such. Please understand I am not a prejudice person and I am not placing all muslim population in the same category.

Now I do admit this was unlike any parade I have ever seen. I was pleasantly surprised. In several sections of the parade route, there were tents set up for the participants to quench their thirst. There were also several pick up trucks filled with ice and water and Cokes!!! At 2 different times, men walked up to us with their hands full of drinks offering them to us. We politely declined and explained how the walkers had to be far hotter than we were!!! One man walked up to us and told us we had to try the drink he had because we had probably never had one before. He was right, we hadn't. It was a mango juice and it was pretty tasty!!!

My favorite part of the parade was the next picture. It really is worth a thousand words!!!

A flyer was placed in each of our paper holders under our mailboxes inviting everyone in the neighborhood to the Temple just outside our complex to enjoy food and drinks with the community. We could not attend as we had previous plans, but we did drive by and there were all sorts of tents and decorations!!

I am glad I got to experience a new cultural event today and especially happy I got to experience it with my children. They really enjoyed watching the parade!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 4 and 5 of VBS

Day 4 of VBS has come and gone. The kids had yet another day of fun and happiness. They both enjoyed it so much. At the end of Day 4, the kids got to bring home all of the crafts they made during the week. They had a bag full!!! The bag was actually a backpack made from a paper sack. The kids got to choose which ribbons they wanted to make the straps on the backpacks. This craft was amazing!!! Inside of the backpacks, the kids had made all types of pictures of Jesus, a first aid kit (complete with Holy water), a birdhouse with seed and many many many other items. On our way home from day 4, the kids sang their songs along with the CD they received the day before.

Day 5 of VBS was the final program. The kids went to their classroom for the first few minutes and then went as a class to the gymnasium. For the next 2 hours, the kids practiced their singing and played with these enormous beach balls. At 11am, the parents and anyone else got to come to enjoy the program. Even though both kiddos were not feeling well, they performed wonderfully. I was so full hearted watching them. Jelly Belly was center, in the front row. He sang his little heart out. His dancing was energizing. I was sooo proud of my little man. Poor Life Saver was seated next to this little boy who would NOT get out of the front of her for anything. My sister in law tried to take some pictures of her. This little boy saw this and he would move right in front of her ON PURPOSE!!! Life Saver is such a sweet little spirit. She just moved back out of his way and sang and danced her little heart out!!

It is sad that VBS is over. Today the kids sang along some more with their CD and asked when they could go back to VBS. They don't quite get the concept it will be a year from now. It did my heart a world of good to see how much my kids enjoyed learning about God this week. How much enjoyment it brought to them. I cannot wait until August when our SMRE (Sunday Morning Religious Education) classes start for them!!! They will love it just as much :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 2 and 3 of VBS

The kids had yet another fun filled morning at VBS. Hayden informed me he wants to go every day except on Halloween, Easter and Christmas!! Gosh I love that boy!!! I wish the VBS was all summer long as the kids have enjoyed it sooo much. However I am sure the ladies who run it think otherwise!!

Since I cannot drive alone, I stay at the school while the kids participate in the activities. I sit in the lobby area and I get to watch the kids during game stations. They LOVE it. I see them dance and sing and play and run. I see their expressions and I melt.

Every car ride home is enjoyable listening to them sing the songs they just sang in music. They explain their artwork to me. They tell me all about the snacks they got to make. Oh and of course I get to hear all kinds of things other kids are saying, some things I wish I didn't hear!! Kids will be kids :)

For the 3 hours they enjoy VBS, I have spent sooo much time researching curriculum choices to use in the Fall. There is a lot of work trying to determine which curriculum will hold the interests of both Jelly Belly and Life Saver. I do believe I have decided to use Heart of Dakota with a Catholic Bible. Of course I do have a few months still to pour over even more curriculum websites and reviews. I could spend hours doing so actually ;)

Today as a treat for getting halfway through VBS, the kids got to enjoy a local Bounce house type of facility. I treated them to pizza and breadsticks and hours of play...3.5 hours to be exact!! They were so surprised when we got there. Both kids were smiles from ear to ear and I almost got knocked over by their big hugs. Life sure is good!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 1 of VBS

Today was our first day ever for VBS. We attended at Our Lady of Greenwood. The kids have never made me more proud as their mother. I was a bit nervous about Jelly Belly. He does NOT like being around strange people. This is partly due to his ADHD. He was so excited when he woke up and hurried to get us out the door. Once we arrived, he became nervous. However, after dropping him off in his classroom he got less nervous. The children were lead into the gym and met as a larger group with all the classes for opening to VBS. I could see Jelly Belly and he could see me. Next the kids rotated to snack time (Kindergarteners). Jelly Belly could no longer see me, but when the next rotation came (gym exercise time), he was so full of happiness it about broke my heart. My little boy turned into a big boy in a matter of 20 minutes!! He was having the best time. The next few rotations, Jelly Belly could not see me at all and he was ok with that!!! Matter of fact, he asked to go right back after we enjoyed lunch with Life Saver and Grammie.

Life Saver is a completely laid back girl. She was excited to go to VBS and not nervous at all. Once we arrived in their classroom, she stood by Jelly Belly's side acting like his protector, taking care of him. She talked to him and I believe this calmed him down a bit. Any time she would see me, she would wave and go back to ignoring me!! lol. For the most part, there isn't a shy bone in her body. She had a great time today as well, as I knew she would. Just like Jelly Belly, she cannot wait to attend tomorrow!!

I was so very impressed with the ladies running our VBS. I have never seen such organization!!! Before each rotation, a lady would announce it was time to line up and rotate. Of course it helps our VBS is held in a school where there is an intercom system!!! From what I heard, this was a super turn out this year. There were a total of I believe 6 groups and a toddler/baby group. The oldest group looked like it had 50 or more children. This is awesome!!!!

While I believe Jelly Belly and Life Saver would be fine if I just dropped them off and left, I am going to hang around each day and spend the time preparing for our upcoming school year. At least I will be focused on preparation instead of finding things to do around the house!! I have done so much research the last few weeks trying to determine which curriculum to choose. It is not easy!!! Especially because there is a such a limited choice when it comes to choosing a Catholic curriculum.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer fun

Today was a great day. Daddy and Monkey spent lunch together. Monkey's choice was Golden Corral. I was pleased because it is far from my favorite place to eat!! Monkey enjoys eating their fruit, rolls, more fruit, more rolls, noodles and candy!!

Diva, Grammie and I spent our lunch at Steak n Shake, Diva's choice. After we ate, we ran a few errands and came home.

While we are not technically in school right now, we still enjoy any learning experience we find. Tonight the kids and daddy planted their own indoor garden. They loved it. They also got to help daddy pull weeks and "mow" the yard!!

You can see the kids listening to daddy explain what the seeds will become!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Our break away from school

The kids were getting really restless. I decided to give them a break away from school. We only have 5 days left in which to finish. At least 5 days of book material. In the meantime, the kids have been unschooling and have loved every minute of it.

When we start school in the Fall, we are going to use another curriculum which has a much more hands on approach. We are going to be using My Father's World and both kiddos will be doing the Kindergarten level. I had planned to use Sonlight for their Kindergarten year, but the program is a bit too advanced for Monkey's attention span at this point. Diva is far from ready to begin that particular program so... MFW it will be!!!

During our break, the kids have enjoyed a trip in April to North Carolina to enjoy the beach and attend our cousin's wedding. We have enjoyed trips to Bounce Spot and Incredible Pizza. It is much nicer to visit both places while other kids are in traditional school. The crowds are much, much, much more tolerable!! ;)

Once our school starts in the Fall, we are taking a 2 week vacation. Poor daddy doesn't get to go with us as he will be in nursing school. It will be a great trip, but we will miss daddy. We are traveling to Disney for a week and then the beach for 4 days and taking our time getting home. We have a few Outlet Mall trips in mind! lol

Right now, our days are consumed with a variety of outdoor water activities. Spring decided to skip us in Indiana again this year and instead we have been hit with Heat and LOTS of it. My free time the last few weeks has been taken over with Monkey's upcoming birthday party!! I cannot believe I will be a mommy to a 6 year old. Time really does need to slooooooooooow down. After his birthday, I plan to try to catch up on my scrapbooks and work on getting things ready for our 2nd year adventures in Homeschooling.

In a few weeks, my kiddos are attending their first ever Vacation Bible School. I'm not sure who is more excited! I have promised Monkey I would stay at the church/school so if he needs me, I will be there. I have my doubts he will think twice about me once he walks in with Diva. They will love every minute of it!! Part of me wishes I could join them in the fun, but I will refrain at least for now and not be "one.of.those.moms"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Field trips and outdoor play

We took the kids to a new place for them called The Incredible Pizza Company. They had so much fun. Shoot us adults did as well. They really liked the idea of eating, then playing, then eating ice cream, then more playing and then having a frozen drink. They thought that was the neatest thing ever!! I'm glad we are still fortunate enough that with them being young, they still love all the little things in life :-) We had so much fun we spent 3 hours there!!!

The first game the kids played was duckpin bowling. They have been wanting to go bowling for a long time. Ever since they played bowling on the Wii, they love the idea!! This type of bowling was prefect for them!!!

Today is a gorgeous day outside. The kids have already spent 2 hours outside and it is not even 2pm!! They talked daddy into setting up the Wall-E bubble blower and were chasing bubbles around on the deck. They enjoyed having Bailey (our black Lab) out there as well. Any time Bailey knows the kids are outside, she barks until someone lets her outside to run around with them. She truly is their best friend. They are 3 peas in a pod!!!!

And here is a picture of our beautiful girl Bailey:

Sensory trays and water fun

I made a rice and an oatmeal sensory tray for the kids and they LOVED them. I bought a bunch of rice and liquid water colors and colored the rice one evening. I mixed all the rice together once it was dry and it made such beautiful rice (who knew rice could be so pretty). I went to a local dollar store and purchased letters and hid them in both the rice and oatmeal. I also purchased measuring cups/spoons, colanders, wooden spoons, salad tongs and several other kitchen tools which the kids played in the sensory boxes with. They searched for their hidden letters and built castles out of the rice and oatmeal!!! They actually played with these for over an hour. It was so much fun to watch them having a great time.

This is a picture of the rice right after it was dry and I put it into the tray. It was so pretty all sorted out!!

Next I put water in our no spill paint cups. I then added a bit of yellow food coloring to turn the water yellow. I asked the kids which color I should add to the yellow to make orange. Jelly Belly guessed green and Lifesaver guessed blue. Once I added the red color, they both thought it was amazing!! It really is the small things which make the kids happy ;)

I set out ice cube trays and medicine droppers and let the kids transfer the colored water from the containers to the ice cube trays. They enjoyed this activity more than I thought they would. I figured they would be bored fast and they weren't. I was pleased :-) Lifesaver said her fingers were getting tired after about 20 minutes!!!

We are practicing with our letters and one day we made a necklace with beads and spelled out our names with the beads. The kids loved it!!! They love making crafts with everything.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pictures of our classroom

We have turned our morning room into our classroom. It has a lot of natural lighting and that helps sooo much. My dad installed the cabinets for us while we were on a Disney vacation. Gotta love that!!! At first I had all my scrapbooking stuff in their as well, but we quickly outgrew the classroom cabinets and I moved all the scrapbooking stuff out!!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our adventures in homeschooling

Our little monkey and our diva rule the house! We let them think so at least :)

We are not the typical family. We do not have structured anything, YET. The kids do not have set bedtimes, but they do pretty much go to bed at the same time every night, around 11pm. They typically sleep an average of 10 or so hours a night. It really depends on how active they were during the day.

We take our time waking up and getting ready for the day. Breakfast is a time to relax before starting our school time. We usually start school around noon. This year is more about preparing for school. Next year both kiddos will be in Kindergarten. Diva is only going to be 5, but she has done so well this year that we are going to see how well she does. Monkey will be more than ready to begin Kindergarten.

We do follow a curriculum (Sonlight) and I love it and the kids seem to enjoy it. This is really the only structure to our school day. Some days we do lots of activities, others not so many. This year I let the kids determine how many extras we do. If I can tell they've had too much, we stop. I want their first year of schooling to be fun. I believe this will lead to many years of a laid back style of teaching. A fun style.

I have learned that what works for one family may not work for another. I am slowly learning to ignore what outsiders say in regards to homeschooling. I have found those who have nothing but negative things to say, really don't have any idea what homeschooling is really all about. I really wish people would educate themselves before speaking. Maybe some year. I have also learned to do what is best for OUR family and enjoy the kiddos. They certainly grow up way too fast.

I hope to use this blog to journal our life in our homeschooling endeavors.