Friday, April 30, 2010

PreSchool- Beach and Ocean

                      Tot School

H- 4 1/2
Bug- 17 months

This last week we kind of broke away from our traditional "school" week and did learning activities out on our adventures.  We had dear friends from Utah come out to visit, and truth be told it felt like a vacation for us too.  We did many touristy things and loved every minute of learning on the go.  Here is what we did this week...

I drew large circles in the sand and put 3 letter words across the circles.  Then I had H jump from one circle to the next saying the sound the letter makes as he was in that circle, then the whole word at the end.

He loved it, so I made another word, then another, until I had a mini scrabble board going ; )   Daddy then noticed that all of the words I had in the sand you could read forward or backward, so we had H hop both directions to figure out the different words that were written in the sand.

Bug playing at the beach... looking very concerned.

Science- Marine Life

We had the pleasure of going up to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.  The kids both really enjoyed it, and I had a great time as well.  We talked about all of the different types of fish and sea mammals we saw.  We even got to feel some of the different creatures.  H was brave enough to touch the starfish, and sea anemone, but he left it up to me to touch the sting-ray.  Bug even touched the starfish and sea anemone, though she was a little rough with them.  Guess we need to work on the meaning of gentle before the baby is born... currently not a part of her vocabulary or understanding for that matter : )

We talked a lot about how creative God is in making all of these different kinds and colors of fish.  I think this is the most colorful aquarium I have ever been to in regard to the color of the fish.  It was honestly amazing.  For the first time I was hit with the thought that there is not a color "created" by man that God did not use somewhere in creation!
 scooba diver feeding the fish
 blues, greens, orange, yellow, pink, reds... so beautiful and amazing!

The show that was put on by the seals at feeding time was fascinating.  The seals are really such smart animals.  All of the kids were thuroghly entertained!

At the end of our day at the aquarium we visited the Lorikeet exhibit.  The birds are beautiful in color.  On the way in a sign said,  to be careful because the birds may bite your finger.  H took the warning very seriously and stood with his hands behind his back the whole time we were in the exhibit.  Me on the other hand stood with my hands covering my head because a bird dive bombing my head or pooping in my hair is one of my biggest fears... true story!

Here we are with our friends, and Bug is showcasing her true independent streak in this picture as she tries to escape.

Ahh, what a great week of vacation at home/ schooling on the go!  Thanks friends for the visit, we miss you, come back soon!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

$32... well spent

This morning my friend Kathy and I hit the absolute jackpot at a local neighborhood garage sale.  It was so much fun to say the least.  I think that finding deals at garage sales is a slight addiction for me.  I haven't gone to a garage sale since last summer, I almost forgot how much fun can be had at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning.

$1- Dinosaurs for H

$5- Change Pad and Cover (probably could have asked for a little less, but it was the first purchase of the day and I was just so excited to find something on my list.  Bug and Baby#3 will both be in diapers for a while so I want both of their rooms set with all needed changing items.)

$5- set of 4 baskets with liners- for the nursery

$5- Purse- again, probably could have tried to get it for lesss

$3- Baby Clothes for our little surprise baby (due in less than 10 weeks with our girl or boy)

$1.50- 2 books and 3 puzzles (sorry no picture)
$2- Spotless Diaper Champ for new baby

Steal of the day
There was a bin of clothes that said "Maternity Clothes- $8".  When I first saw it I thought $8 per item, and heck, I only have a little over 2 months left, do I really want to spend more money on maternity clothes?  Well, I was quite shocked to find out the entire bin was only $8 and most of the clothes were my size.  I pried open the lid and decided to look inside.  To my complete surprise there were a ton of cute items and some designer jeans.  So I asked the lady how much, and she said, "$8 for the whole bin."  So I said "Sold!!"
Here is what was inside:
3- Pairs of Jeans
7- Pairs of other pants
3- Pairs of Capri pants
3- Sweaters
1- Shorts
3- Skirts
20- Shirts (not a typo, 20 shirts!)

All for $8 total!!!  $8 is well worth a new wardrobe for the next 2 months, but beyond that when I am done with it, I will be selling some of the items and making a little more money for Saturday morning fun!
Some of my Favorites
I just looked it up online and both of these jeans retail for between $160 and $210!  Seriously, can you see my perma-grin at my amazing deals?

She also had some cute non-maternity items, that I got.  I already got a steal of a deal, so I paid a little more for these.

$5- Skirt and Sevens Capris

This was one of the shirts that I got in the $8 bin.  I thought it was so cute, I put it on as soon as I got home and we headed down to the beach to play as a family with our dear friends that were in town.
Ahh, what a great Saturday!  Anyone want any cute maternity clothes come mid summer???

Friday, April 23, 2010

PreSchool- God created Man

This week we continued on our theme for the year of Creation.  This month's focus is on that God created man. 

Verse of the week:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
You can download our verse cards for the month here.

Counting by 2's we used the awesome printables from Homeschool Creations, you can download these here.
My goal was to focus on teaching that all muscles and bones in our body usually come in 2's one on the left side and one on the right.  Truth be told, we didn't get as in depth with the muscular and skeletal systems as I thought we would.  Oh well, more stuff for next year : )

I changed up the reading time a little and made it a little more hands on after the great idea from Homeschool Creations.  I printed out the sheets here and then laminated them, gave H some play doh and had him mold the letters. 

When he was done, he spelled out "Pop," which is what he calls one of his grandpas.  "Look, Mama, I wrote Pop!"

We also created little books all about H.  He loved getting to hear how big he was at each age, what he liked, how long he slept...  I did have to pull out his records from the pediatrician because I didn't know his weight and height at each age.

H, LOVES bugs right now.  If you ask him what he is going to be when he grows up he says Entomologist.  He was delighted when we went to the park and found a HUGE beetle.

Exercise Cards:
We downloaded these exercise cards from Homeschool Share.  They are super cute and worth the 5 seconds to download and print off.  I even laminated our set so we can use them again and again.  H, though they were really fun... well, all of them other than the situps.  He got really frustrated that he couldn't do a situp, that is hard for a little guy!  Here he is attempting J is for Jumping jacks.
Action photo

Child Training- shopping

Perfect behavior doesn't just happen at the grocery store... oh, wait, perfect behavior NEVER happens.  But acceptable kid behavior can be trained.  Somehow, we were able to train H early on what was expected when we went shopping when he was sitting in the cart.  Bug on the other hand is constantly testing the limits sitting in the cart, and we have entered a new level of training for H as he walks next to me.  It is so tempting to save all shopping (grocery and other) for when Mr. Steady can watch the kiddos.  However, I am determined that I can successfully do our shopping with my kids without becoming flustered... it is after all a part of my job as a stay-at-home mom.

Please know that I am not saying that I do not enjoy the times that I get to leisurely peruse each and every isle or rack all by myself.  There are situations in which shopping solo is the way to go, I just don't think that should be our constant default as moms (just my opinion).

Here is what has worked for us (okay part of this post is just a reminder for myself too)
When they are little and can sit in the front of the cart, have the expectation that they SIT.  Bug went through a phase where she was constantly trying to stand.  A few times, I picked her up and held her, which made my shopping much more complicated.  So then I would consistently say, "Bug, on your bottom, " or "sit down please."  It took a few shopping trips of helping her back on her bottom, over and over again.  Yes she cried in protest, but it was worth it.  She no longer tries to stand or get out of the child seat.  I think it also helped that I started tightening down the safety belt too : )

H-man is now big enough to walk with me.  I usually have him keep one hand on the cart, if an isle is too narrow, I will have him walk right behind me until there is room for him to walk next to the cart.  Again, this never goes perfectly, but we have seen great improvement lately.  I try to prepare him as we are walking into the store, reminding him of what the expectations are. "H, when we get in the store, I need you to keep one hand on the cart (or stroller) and not touch anything unless I ask you to.  Sound good?"  Occasionally at the store, I will have him help pick something out. "Buddy, can you pick out what kind of granola bars you would like, and put them in the cart?'  He really likes that.

One idea I have yet to try for H is to have a shopping list for him (either pictures or words he can sound out).  Teach Mama has some great ideas on doing this here.  I am going to work on creating these picture lists for H, I think he would really like to be in charge of the list!

My two issues with Bug that we are working on is that she likes to reach behind her and grab the groceries out of the cart.  Which is fine if it is box of crackers or something, but when it is a bag of grapes and they spill all over when she tips it... not cool.  So I am thinking that all grabbing of items, is going to be a "stop" (our version of "no no").   I have tried to give her an item to hold on to, but then she chucks it on the ground, when I pick it up and don't give it back to her, she pitches a fit and it is all down-hill from there.  My second issue with Bug, is when she decides shopping time should be over and starts fussing.  She is still not understanding "wait" or "be patient please."  Snacks have helped lengthen her patience while shopping, but is that really training her or am I just appeasing her?  Any suggestions?  What works with your kids?  Especially little ones?

Today, I was feeling crafty so I brought the kids to JoAnn Fabrics so I could look at ideas for my crafting craving, however, Bug was an awful shopper..  She whined, cried, protested, and all I did was appease her.  Uggh, I am at a loss with this girl.  I know you can train kids not to whine, but I don't know what will work for her. 

Maybe, the fabric store was too slow of a pace with me stopping, looking, feeling, comparing... maybe this is an outing for just Mama next time.  Besides, whining really stifles my creative juices too : )

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Finnish Pancakes

Yummy!!!  Seriously, such a scrumptious breakfast that I am so excited to share with all of you : )

Finnish Pancakes, or as my dutch friend Kathy calls them "Dutch Babies."  Call them whatever you want... I just hope you enjoy!

1 Cup milk
2 Eggs
2/3 Cup flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 Cup butter

Turn oven on to 400 degrees
Place butter in 9" pie plate, put in oven until butter is completely melted
Place all ingredients (except butter) in blender.  Blend.
Pour batter over melted butter in pie plate.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and firm.

I like mine best with either a fruity topping or powdered sugar.  Mr. Steady and H love a little bit of syrup on theirs and Bug scarfs them down just plain.  For our little family, I actually double the recipe and end up with a quarter of a pie plate left, which I put in a container and then into the fridge. The leftovers heat nicely in the microwave and are just as delicious the next morning... okay, I will be honest... it usually won't last that long in my house.  I have it as an afternoon snack when the kids are napping... that way I don't have to share any : )

Tips on the recipe...
1.  If I know the morning is going to be hectic... The night before I put all of the dry ingredients in the blender and have the milk and eggs mixed in a container in the fridge.
2.  You probably could cut out a little of the butter.  I haven't yet, but every time I make it I think that I should not put in the full amount.  Truth be told, we love butter in our house. 
3.  I have substituted whole wheat flour for 1/2 of what is called for, and it still tasted great.
4.  Optional ingredients: (Both of these ingredients are on my recipe card, but I have never had either of these around, so I haven't used them.  I bet it would add more flavor and would be great!)
1/2 tsp. grated fresh lemon (zest)
1/2 tsp. ground cardamon

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pre School- God gave us 5 senses

    Tot School

H- almost 4 1/2
Bug- 17 months

We have continued on our theme creation and that God made man.  This week we have focused on that God gave each of us 5 senses to learn about and enjoy the world around us.

Verse of the week: "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Psalm 34:8, you can download my verse cards here.

Math:  Counting by 5's... I thought it was quite fitting seeing that we talked a lot about 5's all week.   You can download this awesome printable here from Homeschool Creations.  Then we practiced without the Skip Counting by 5's sheet.  I would say "5" then H would say "10" all of the way up to 100.  We did it while hanging out at home and while driving in the car.  H even did it all of the way up to 100 for daddy.

Writing:  H practiced writing his letter.  Look at that look of concentration.  I think sticking the tongue out must really run in the family!

Human Body Riddle book:
This was fun for H.  He liked solving the riddles and then gluing the pictures on each strip of paper.  You can download it here.

I printed off 2 copies of the pictures from the Human Body Riddle book to use for the 5 senses chart.  Here we cut out pictures of what we see, hear, taste, smell and feel and glued them in the correct column. (sorry having problems uploading pictures of this one)

On the day that we focused on the sense of taste, I prepared a little taste-test for H.  I poured a little pile of salt, then a pile of sugar, had a lime and a coffee bean.  Super simple, but it really re-reinforced the different tastes that we get to experience.

Tiny Tot School

Music Time- When H was almost 2 we started going to Kindermusik.  He LOVED it!!  His teacher In Utah, Mrs. Theresa was amazing and we miss her.... since we moved the closest Kindermusik class is 40 minutes away.   So I decided that I would try to start some music time with the kids.  We pulled out all of H's instruments.  Bug really only liked it for the first few songs then she wanted to run off to do something else.  I think I will have a more consolidated plan for next time.  I wouldn't call this a success yet, but I want to stick with it :)

This was a first for Bug, she seemed to like it... and she really liked to eat it.  So, that is one thing that I will be really working on with her, not eating the playdoh!


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