Monday, September 26, 2016

A is for Apple

(MFW, Kinder, unit 4)
This was a fun unit!

all their work up. Those flashcards are Baby Einstein.
Math apple sheet (MFW)
Making fruit posters.
Kumon cutting sheet, happened to be fruit. ;)
We made applesauce that did not turn out good. We used Gala apples, so that may have been part of it. I think I didn't cook it long enough. But I love this picture of Kruiser learning to use the peeler. Process, not product, right?

They decided to pull out encyclopedias on their own, at the same time. :) Proud teacher moment.

Life Happens...

Give 2 boys some sticks & some cardboard boxes to beat up, & they're set! They were helping me break down boxes for a fire.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Great Wolf Lodge, Grapevine- review & tips

We just got back from Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine. Overall, a fun trip! I wanted to share some tips, reviews, & things I wish I'd known before going in case it helps someone.

Great decorations and atmosphere (except they had scary Halloween decor. Don't even get me started on this. Why? just why?...)
Not comfortable, the bed and couch and even the kids' bunks were not very comfortable. For the price I expected a lot more. There were 2 big craters in our bed.
The walls are thin. TIP: bring earplugs. Even the cleaning staff was loud right outside our door late at night.
TIP: bring your own shampoo/conditioner if you're picky. This may have been the worst shampoo I've ever put on my head, & it didn't condition, but I'm not picky, lol.
There is a micro/fridge in every room, which was a huge plus. We brought our own breakfasts & snacks.

Story time was OK. The kids enjoyed it, but I think older kids might not. TIP: get there early for games & a good seat.
Skipper (age 4) loved the "dance party". The staff were really into it & great with the kids.
We did the nature walk one morning. Eh, so-so.

Was not exceptional & was overpriced. I mean, not Disney overpriced, but somewhat. The outside pool restaurant waiters were not friendly, & didn't want to do their jobs, like cleaning tables. The others were ok.
TIP: Eat out for dinner and at the Lodge for lunch. We went here, here, & to In & Out Burger near the freeway. All great.
Starbucks was great, and the line wasn't too long.

Water park-
Was excellent, overall. Lifeguards were great & helpful. There are slides for all ages & levels of bravery. 3 kiddie slides, along with lots of water shooting toys, 2 medium body slides that went pretty slowly (even littles are allowed to ride), 3 indoor bigger tube slides that are fast if you're riding double or large, but not so much if you're alone, & 2 indoor higher thrill tube slides with steeps drops (the green 1 inside & the red & white one that goes outside immediately). There are also a wave pool, a lazy river, 2 hot tubs (1 for adults only, the other connects to an outside one), & another activity pool.
The outside was open during the weekends only when we went (September). I think it's closed entirely once it gets cold out, & open every day in the summer. There is a big activity pool & 2 tube slides that were fun, as well as lots of places to lay out.
There are life jackets & a few puddle jumpers available, as well as plenty of towels. 3 shower stalls for the whole park aren't enough, but there are 2 big bathrooms.
TIP: Go during non peak times- early morning, Sunday evening, & weekdays (except Fri night, that's crowded.) The lines never got super long, but the other pools did get crowded during peak times. I tried to plan our water times around those.
TIP: If there's not a line for the showers, rinse kids off before leaving the pool (there are soap dispensers in the showers), then you won't have to bathe them!

TIP: Search for deals! You can get as much as 1/2 off if you book early or find a deal on Groupon.
TIP: If something goes wrong, call the front desk & politely let them know. We were out of hot water for just awhile one morning, and they comped us $75 back from our room fee! If they ask if you're eating breakfast or whatever meal at one of their restaurants, and you say "yes" they will comp that instead, so be aware of that. We would rather have $ off our room!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Family Vacation 2016!

Why did we take vacations when the kids were babies? I can't remember. I'm sure I'll say the same thing about this age when they're older. By the 3rd morning, we definitely were dealing with a few attitude issues, but it seemed calmer & less stressful than former vacations. Only having to drive a few hours really helped. It also helped that I, the Queen of Vacation Freak Out, decided beforehand to attempt to stay calmer & more flexible, to take what comes. (Haven't I decided that at the beginning of every vacation, though? ;) ) Whatever the reason, while physically drained, we had a blast at Great Wolf Lodge & Legoland for 4 days & 3 nights.

Kids loved the room & their bunks

Dallas sunset

Skipper loved the characters.

The boys have been begging me to go to Legoland. CA is a little bit of a drive, so I was thrilled to learn there's one right here in TX. I found BOGO tickets online as well!

The water park, the main attraction. I may have had more fun here than the boys did.

Vacay tips:
  • Plan, plan, plan! While you don't have to plan every second or every meal (unless you're on a tight budget), know where you're going to stay & what you're going to do for the most part. Last minute decision making, when energies are low & drama is high, is a time waster. Planning also lets you know what to pack, and some tickets are cheaper if purchased ahead online.
  • Leave some wiggle room; be flexible! 
  • Pace yourself. It's tempting to jam pack the days so you can see & do everything, but it's important to plan some down time so you don't burn out, especially if traveling with babies or small children! We had an hour of "in your bunks" time in the middle of each day. I also planned 1 day for myself to sleep in. (I crash & burn quickly without that.) If you'll be gone a week or more, plan a couple of half days off from activities.
  • Trade time away with your spouse. Super Dad wanted to watch football Saturday evening, so I took the kids to the kiddie pool. Then Sunday afternoon, the boys wanted to stay in their hotel room & build legos, so I slipped away to lay out in the hot tub for an hour. Both being introverts, it's best for my husband & I to have some of that time away.
  • Pack breakfast if your hotel doesn't include it. (GWL didn't.)
  • Pack non-screen activities for the car. We use screens; I just didn't want them on them the entire trip. We also do 30 minutes of "quiet time" when things get crazy for the adults' sanity.
  • Don't go far when your kids are little. It's just not worth it unless you're going to visit family.

Monday, September 19, 2016

In Which I Muse about Rich Mullins (or share his musings)

Today is the 19th anniversary of his death. Musing may have been his hobby, next to song writing, of course. His songs taught me so much! Here are some quotes that are not from songs....

'The amazing thing about the whole joy of Christianity is it's something you can't find, it's something that has to find you. Once we submit ourselves to God, the things of God chase us down like dogs, and you can't escape them. I think we can stifle the Spirit. We can thwart the work of God in our own lives. We can choose to nourish that which should be crucified and ignore that which should be nourished, but God ain't done with any of us.' 

'Faith is walking with God. This biggest problem with life is that it's just daily.... It's not what you did, and not what you say you're going to do, it's what you do today.'

'God has called us to be lovers, and we frequently think that He meant us to be saviors. So we "love" as long as we see "results". We give of ourselves as long as our investments pay off, but if the ones we love do not respond, we tend to despair and blame ourselves and even resent those we pretend to love. Because we love someone, we want them to be free of addictions, of sin, of self--and that is as it should be. But it might be that out love for them and our desire for their well-being will not make them well. And, if that is the case, their lack of response no more negates the reality of love than their quickness to respond would confirm it.' 

'What problem do you have that death wouldn't fix?'

and a song...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

TBT: A Few Things I Love

This is embarrassing. I want to eventually make my blog into a book, so I am including writings from a looong time ago. This is a poem I wrote for an assignment in high school. I still like most of these things though! :)

A Few Things I Love (1996)

At the pool on a summer's day
The sun shining down on my cheek
Laughter coming from children at play
A man not afraid to be weak

Reading a book on a rainy day
Long talks on the trampoline
Hearing the sound of a faint guitar play
The smell of kerosene

Little girls in sun dresses
Little boys in overalls
Any kind of well-planned surprises
The feel of the lines on the ball

Bagpipes and kilts and anything Scottish
A simple working woman at home
A man of sixty with a look rather boyish
Coffee ice-cream in a cone

Driving on a country road in early morning
Watching the clouds move above
An inspiring sermon with a pracitcal warning
Thinking of all that I love.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

1st/2nd Home school Curriculum

Kruiser is an old 1st grader, so he does some 2nd grade work. Here's what we've chosen this year.

My Father's World Kindergarten

Wait, didn't I just say he was in 1st/2nd?? Well, I like to keep the boys together for anything I can, so I decided to do this with both boys this year. Kruiser, of course, doesn't do any of the language arts or math since he has his own. The theme and Bible parts are what I'm doing with both boys together. This includes arts/crafts, Science, Literature, & Bible.

Right Start Math B

We started this last year but only got 1/2 way through it. It's an advanced 1st grade curriculum, so I'm good with it! We LOVE it.

Apologia Science

This is what our co-op has decided to do this year for science. It's for Kinder-6th graders. Lots of fun experiments! We do this twice a week at home.

Language Arts

This is full of 5-minute, Charlotte Mason inspired lessons including grammar, handwriting, picture study, narration, & poetry. It's excellent.

This is a great supplement (or stand alone LA book). It has everything!

Handwriting. These are excellent! The passages are from real poetry or Scripture.
Every other year, we focus on Science or History, and this is a Science year, so we have no history except what comes from our read-alouds (me reading to him.)  
Read alouds for this year: (we may add more)
I Survived Series.  I bought all these when Scholastic had them on sale for $2 per book! I can't honestly recommend them for this age though. They are pretty intense. I wish I had waited until he was a bit older, but he begs me to keep reading them, and since they aren't too bad, I do.
Winnie the Pooh
Boxcar Children #2
The Littles
Wise Words
Paddle to the Sea

A lot of these are sequels to books we loved from last year's Sonlight list. We're taking a couple of years off of Sonlight so that the boys can be on the same level in the future.


Monday, September 12, 2016

L is for Leaf

(MFW Kinder, Unit 3)

I failed to get many pics this week! :( I will just list what we did, in case you need some ideas.
-Went on a "leaf hunt". This book is cute...

-Gathered leaves from our hunt & identified them. Counted & talked about the colors. (You could graph them.)
-Pressed some of the leaves
-Did crayon rubbings of the leaves
-Made "stained glass" with the pressed leaves & crayon shavings. Ours didn't turn out very good. I think I had the iron on too hot, so make sure it's on the lowest setting! :) 
-MFW does a great job of connecting the themes to the Bible. We talked about how God is the trunk, and we are the branches. We have to stay in Him to grow! (and bear fruit, which we learned the next week for "apple".)
-Read more tree books. This one is great:

Doing his pattern leaf sheets from the MFW student sheets.
One picture I got from our leaf hunt, lol. I was trying to figure out what kind of tree this is. I used to teach Tree Search at camp, and I knew most of the trees. 

Life happens: 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

M is for Moon

(MFW Kinder, Unit 2)

I wanted to share what we do for 'Math' with Skipper (age 4.5).
Each unit in MFW is 4 days. We only do school with him 3 days a week, so we just move on to whichever day is next in the unit. 
Day 1- We play a math game. We do Shoots & Ladders or Candy Land to practice counting. I also have several review games from The Mailbox we can do. This puzzle or this puzzle. I have something similar to this I bought at a teacher's supply store.
Day 2 & 3- We do the cuisenaire rods workbook. There are 2 pages for each letter, so we just do the ones for the letter we're on. It incorporates several math skills, as well as building letters & other fun pictures.
Day 4- We do a math worksheet. We have these books (which is not all math) and several other little workbooks like the ones at Target's Dollar Stop. 
Math takes 5-10 minutes each day!

practicing letters with the Nerf gun

letters can be found here

drawing 'm's' in salt

He loves the cuisenaire rod activities!
The book can be found here.

sensory bin: black beans, glow in the dark stars, random balls for planets, Miles from Tomorrowland action figure.

Life happens:

Kruiser got a new Bible from his summer class at church. He sleeps with it every night! Be still my heart.

I share with 1+1+1=1. 

Quotes worth sharing

'Do I believe that by giving up these games I am playing, I will not miss a step? For He "withholds no good thing."' John Piper

Fear of missing out is powerful. Faith tells us that missing out on what God has for us is the worst thing & that missing out on anything else won't matter.

Friday, September 2, 2016

S is for Sun!

(My Father's World, Kinder, Unit 1)

 My Father's World is an all-inclusive curriculum for kindergarten. I am "dumbing it down" somewhat for Skipper since he's only in Pre-K. We spend 4 days on each unit, so we took some of the activities out. (They plan for 6.)  Kruiser (1st grade) joins us for the "theme" part of it which includes Bible, Science, Arts & Crafts, & Literature. They enjoy it so far!

making raisins in the sun They turned out pretty well, but they took forever. We didn't eat them!

We do a hands-on letter each week. This week was play-doh.
books I had about space. We also use Epic to find books about our theme.
Skipper begged to do Kruiser's old Kumon cutting book. There were only a few pages left, so I ordered him a new one. He asks to use it almost every day!

painting suns
all their work done

Life happens
sleeping on the job

I share at 1+1+1=1.