Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A good day for condiments and men's body wash!

While I should have been more focused on last minute packing and whatnot for our trip to Gatlinburg, I really wanted to make a run to Kroger before the new sale ad came out. I'm really glad I made the trip...with the children I might add!

2-Triscuits Thin Crisps
1-A1 Steak sauce
1-French's spicy brown mustard
1-Frank's Buffalo Hot Sauce
2-AXE men's body wash
1-Dove men's deodorant
1-Gillette men's body wash
1-Reach dental floss
1-Welch's Healthy Start juice
1-Smucker's Snack'n Waffles
1-Philadelphia Cooking Cream (Santa Fe flavor. There are coupons for this everywhere since it's a new item. Let me warn you that the garlic flavor is not so great but maybe I use it wrong?  Who knows.)

Retail cost: $43.17 +tax
Paid: $14.53 +tax

The numbers are pretty close to my last coupon post. Kinda funny. :) Now it's off to work on a list for shopping tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Road Trip USA Giveaway!

I am posting this as part of entering in  a giveaway for this awesome geography curriculum! There will only be one winner, but this curriculum looks amazing and it is not very expensive.  It's available for instant download, CD, and for your co-op or classroom, only $18-$30!!! If I don't win I will most likely buy the instand download.  What would be amazing if I could supplement this curriculum with a real live road trip across the country!!! I get excited just thinking about that.  Maybe in a few years. ;)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Just some thoughts bouncing around...

A lot of thoughts have been going through my head in deciding about curriculum for next year.  It absolutely astounds me everything that is out there, even for 1st grade! Well, then again, a lot of companies have toddler curriculum packages! :) This school year isn't even over yet, but I'm going to try and do school year round.  Take a month off during the summer instead of three--that kind of thing.  We've taken so many breaks throughout the year anyway, so it would eventually add up to three months anyway! The plan is to finish Kindergarten by the end of May/beginning of June, take June off, and start 1st grade within the first week or two of July.  That's the plan, but that doesn't mean it will happen that way. LOL

Now as far as curriculum goes, here's what I have so far:

Exploring Creation Through Astronomy (haven't ordered yet but very much looking forward to it! Hannah asks different questions about the sun and moon so I thought this would be fun)

The only thing I'm still deciding on is what to do for reading.  I was thinking about using My Father's World, since the readers are all Bible stories.  What a great way it would be for Hannah to learn from God's Word and practice reading at the same time!  A big fear of all homeschool parents is coming to light...spending money on a curriculum that just is not going to work.  I guess I will poke around and look for a good deal somewhere.

I am unsure of anything else really.  I will not have a set curriculum for handwriting, per se.  Through looking at different materials at the convention earlier this month, I got a great idea.  I thought it might be fun for Hannah to make up her own stories, I could write what she says, and then she can copy it.  She can also draw a picture to go along.  I found writing pads just for that purpose at the Dollar Tree!  Love that place!

I guess with anything else I'll just go with what ever peaks Hannah's interest. :) Now for Autumn, I might consider getting her some of the toddler stuff from My Father's World.  They are various wooden toys where she learns shapes, sorting my colors, learning patterns, etc.  I'm looking forward to doing more structured activities with her, school wise.  Confessions of a Homeschooler has this awesome PreK curriculum, but I think it would be best to wait for the year after next. :)

Okay, veteran homeschoolers, what do you think? ;)

Week in Review #23: Wow, we take a lot of breaks :-p

The end of this week we are heading to Clarksville basically to drop the kids off with grandparents and then Ryan and I are running away to Gatlinburg (until Tuesday and then we are forced by law to reclaim the children). Should be a great time! Now to just get through the week!

Monday - Zoo day! Ryan is off Sunday-Tuesday so we try to make one of those days a zoo day. The first day of spring was yesterday, so today was pretty crowded. I'm sure it will only get worse as summer comes along.  Is it just me or are strollers getting bigger as time goes on?  We had a bit of frustration (actually a lot) with school work even though we got a lot done. Ugh.

Tuesday - School done by 9:30! Love it! At this point in the year, I am mostly focused on making sure math and reading get done and then Hannah has the floor as to what she wants to do.  Everything but math and reading is almost done for the year (woot!).  We've dived back into her science kit--learning how sun dials and paper airplanes work.  Also, as I was just typing this I hear Autumn scribbling vigorously in the living room and I leap out of my chair expecting the worse. It was just her magnadoodle. A near heart attack wasted. LOL

Wednesday - We had school at the kitchen table since Autumn was already there, contently gluing pom poms to paper.  How refreshing it was to have a change of venue. :) Autumn has just recently taken to coloring books.  She's kind of a violent colorer, as if she's trying to rub out the Care Bear's face.  Pretty funny to watch actually.  During quiet time, I peeked in at Hannah and she had taken it upon herself to get out her phonics readers.  She was reading one about an ape who bakes a cake and places it on a tray. :) Add in church and this day was definitely a winner! 

Thursday - A very uneventful, yet lovely day.  School, crafts, playing outside without getting attacked by wasps, visiting Ryan at work, kids falling asleep quickly after going to bed. I'll take it! Actually I take that back, after going to bed Hannah came into my room and asked me repeat what exactly it means to obey and tell the truth as opposed to lying. Another conversation we have had more than once.  My initial response is to say, "Hannah, you know what it means to obey" but I suppose if it's pounded into her head enough she will follow through when I tell her to do something (which she does most of the time). :)

Friday - We are leaving for Clarksville this afternoon! Ryan traded around shifts like crazy for this trip, so he's currently working the morning shift.  I'm home trying to get last minute packing done. The ideal thing to do would be to have the house all straightened up so we don't come home to horrible mess, but we'll see what happens.  In just this last week we started and finished lesson 12 in reading! I was so thrilled. A nice breaking off point. 

I am currently trying to figure out what exactly we need to accomplish each day if I want the school year to be done by the end of May.  Doing a reading lesson a week would just about cover it, but that's pushing it a little.  If reading crossed over into June it wouldn't be the end of the world.  Geography, handwriting, and early learner are just about finished so I'm not worried about that.  Math has 56 lessons left (out of 160).  So that would average out to be 6 lessons a week which would do just fine. There are 9 or 10 science experiments left to do (out of 25).  Lately Hannah has been asking to do science while I'm still staggering down the hallway after getting out of bed.  I'm sure we'll do just fine. :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Your Kids are Always Listening

Numerous magazines have said in some form or another kids are much more intuitive than we give them credit for. They may look occupied, but they are still taking in most of what is going on around them.  We found this out several days ago when we were all in the car.  Hannah had one of her many bears with her, and she was pretending to talk to it.  She started saying something along the lines of "You've been very bad.  You're gonna have some hot sauce."  Ryan and I looked at each other, horrified.  Recently there had been a story on the national news about a woman on Dr. Phil who gave her child hot sauce and put him in a cold shower for misbehaving at school.  I could have been easily watching this on TV, while the kids were playing in the same room without even thinking about it.  We asked Hannah where she heard about the hot sauce, and she told us pretty much verbatim what they said on the news. Wow. She really was listening!   I don't like thinking about my kids having such images in their head.  I know I can't shelter them from the fact there are not such nice things in the world (I talked to Hannah the other day about what is going on in Japan), but I by no means want them to think that this behavior is acceptable.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Week in Review #22: Autumn is shaping up!

The pandas have come
to expect us.
 Monday -  School went just fine...just did some math and learned about the Asiatic black bear.  Autumn is definitely coming into her own on the learning curve. I hear her counting to herself, "1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 14! I did it!" LOL She's getting better with colors and shapes as well.  She also still loves packing up a ton of books and dragging them all over the house.

The grizzly feeding was both
adorable and hilarious!
Tuesday - We did reading (finished lesson 11!) and math first thing this morning.  After lunch we made a trip to the zoo and were there a good three hours. We made it in time for the panda and grizzly feedings.  It was cool seeing pandas sitting up, gnawing on bamboo. After we got home we all took a nap, which was simply glorious.  Today was one of those days I wish could happen at least once a week--nowhere important to be, a great time spent as a family.  Very lovely indeed.

Relieved to finally
find some more books
on snakes and sharks!
Wednesday - We went to the library this morning.  Sometimes instead of story time they will have a speaker talk to all the kids about different things.  One week they had a speaker on seat belt safety  and how tall kids should be before no longer needing a booster seat, etc.  This week the speaker talked about the food pyramid and how we all need different colors of fruits and vegetables in our diet. I guess Hannah just heard about the colors because she was excited to tell me that mustard and ketchup were yellow and red.  Not much nutrition there. :-p

She was excited to come
across some board books
she had never seen before
Thursday - Ryan was awesome before I even woke up this morning! I had a hard time sleeping last night, so he took the kids on some errands while I slept in. I woke up at 8:30! That's like sleeping until noon to me! On top of that, the girls stayed with Ryan at work this evening while I went to the gym. Husband of the year! :-D For school we pretty much just did the basics--reading, math, and handwriting.

Showing off her counting skills
for her daddy

Friday - The kids got out in the beautiful weather, Hannah got a new booster seat, Autumn knows what a hexagon is, and we did more school work than I expected.  Hannah read "Go Dog Go" to me and Autumn, although I'm sure she has some of it memorized since I've read it to her so many times. ;) She might have learned some sight words in the process.  This evening the girls also had a "pretend birthday party" for me in their room (my real birthday is in 4 months).  We all had "party hats" which were just random hats (winter caps, Hannah's Mickey ears). They gave me "presents" which were "wrapped" in plastic shopping bags. Very sweet of her to do all this planning. :) We also danced around the room singing silly songs. I wore them out pretty good since they both were asleep within a half hour of going to bed. Woot!

Yay for productive weeks!

Rules for the Zoo

1. Don't get all frustrated because your 38-seat tandem stroller has a hard time getting through an already crowded women's restroom. We're all in there for the same purpose and that's not to convenience you.

2. Even wannabe professional photographers should know how to read. There's a reason they say no flash photography in the nocturnal animals' habitat.

3.  Make plans to drive out of your way if you are planning to eat out (we enjoy eating at Cici's Pizza during our outings which is a bit out of the way but worth it to us).  Don't plan to eat in at the zoo. Not saying the food is bad, but you know you can spend so much less at a place where you actually know whether or not the food is good.

4. Tennis shoes are your friend--no flip flops or shoes with chunky soles (like what I wore today). You do a lot of walking. Kind of like a duh thing. :-p

5.  Wear your kids out something fierce! Wagons and strollers are awesome but get them to walk some of the time. You're almost guaranteed an afternoon nap.

More to come I'm sure...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I think I'm having too much fun with this

1-Corn Chex
1-Lucky Charms
1-Cinnamon Toast Crunch
1-family size Suave shampoo
1-family size Suave conditioner
1-Dawn dish detergent w/ Olay
1-Glad Force Flex trash bags
2-Chex mix
3-Idahoan instant potatoes
1-International Delight coffee creamer
1-Tuna Helper
1-Kraft singles

Retail: $45.37 +tax
Paid: $14.77 +tax

After doing some math, it's as though I paid $1.14 for each item. Not too shabby. :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring Break (for real this time)

The girls with their new friends:
"Green Violet" and "Janie Singing Bear"
Here is a simple laundry list of all the happenings this week (keeping in mind that most of this we do during a normal week ;-D):

Build-A-Bear Workshop, lots of outside play, sticker crafts, glitter paint, riding bikes, drawing sharks and whales, building with jumbo legos, reading an unlimited amount of stories, library storytime, Wednesday night church, an impromptu mini unit on snakes (Hannah's idea), Easter bunny craft, lots of toddler radio on Pandora, the girls having the treat of watching Veggie Tales DVDs in my room so I can get housework done :-D, trip to the zoo, finding out how soap and water make bubbles, making a fort in the living room with a sheet, kitchen chair, and an enormous cardboard box, Hannah asking me how to say various words in Spanish (I knew "Dad" and "Mom", but she wanted to know how to say "grape juice" and "Kracker Bear".  I've heard about a very kid-friendly Spanish curriculum, so it's something I may look into).

I always forget how pleasant a break from school really is. Here's to a new week!
Entrance tunnel to the fort

Welcome to the lair!

I will leave you with a few items I picked up yesterday with coupons.  Ryan is getting tired of me getting him deodorant, but at least he'll never stink!

Gillette body wash
Gillette deodorant
Gain 80ct dryer sheets

Retail: 11.21 plus tax
Paid: 4.24 plus tax

Friday, March 11, 2011

Today's Couponing

I went to Kroger today with some coupons I wanted to combine with sales.  The trip was a great success!

1 box of Lucky Charms
1 box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch
1 tub 72ct Pampers wipes
1 20ct Pampers Cruisers diapers
1 bag of Kroger brand crinkle fries
2 tubes of Pillsbury crescent rolls
1 bottle of Pantene shampoo
2 bags of Green Giant Valley Fresh steamers
1 Marie Callender family size lasagna
1 Gillette ProGlide razor

Retail Value: $49.45 plus tax
Paid: $16.28 plus tax


Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Hostage Situation

Disclaimer: the girls thought this was hilarious and would have used the whole roll of tape if their daddy let them!

Sometimes the girls will hang out with Ryan at work while I go to the gym (which is only a block away).  The other night there was apparently a situation. I am happy to say all is well and Violet and Kracker Bear are safe and sound. :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stocking Your Craft Box

1.  Glue (both glue sticks and Elmer's School Glue, glue guns for your more durable projects)

2.  Brown Paper Bags (mostly for hand puppets which are always fun and easy!)

3.  Construction Paper (endless possibilities!)

4.  Popsicle Sticks (picture frames always make great gifts!)

5.  Stickers (I noticed with Autumn that peeling the thin papers off the stickers helps with fine motor!)

6.  Washable Paint (I would spend a few extra dollars and buy the Crayola brand since I know from experience that the paint is in fact washable and non-toxic)

7.  Googly Eyes (anything and everything can have a face!)

8.  Scissors (for both adult and child plus maybe some scrapbooking scissors for that extra pizzazz)

Everything listed here, except the paint, I have found at the Dollar Tree! I love it there! I also love buying different seasonal  supplies when they are on clearance. I have a big package of foam snowflakes that I can't wait to use.  Although it would be rather silly since it's almost spring (praise the Lord!).  I am currently working on putting together some activities for St. Patrick's Day and Easter (which I will post about at a later date).

If I've missed anything that is a must for craft time, let me know!

National Delurking Day

This day was apparently January 14 so it's a little late, but I read about it on another blog and I liked the idea.  This is a day where you leave a comment on blogs that you "secretly" read.  According to my stats I have people from all over the world clicking on our blog, and I would love to have some comments even if it's just your name and where you're reading from.  I'm flattered that people check out our blog and read about our crazy little family.  While you're commenting be sure follow my blog if you feel so intrigued. ;)

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Week in Review #21: Cranky McCrank

Monday - We finished school by 8:14 this morning.  I only know that because I happened to look at the clock when I went into the kitchen to get more coffee. We did reading, math review (which Hannah wanted to do a page more than I had planned...always a good thing!), and for geography we did the Africa GeoPuzzle.  We did the Africa workbook pages yesterday when she stayed home from church due to a fever.  Crazy girl.

Tuesday - Another successful school day! We went over  the Europe section in geography and the first thing it said was that Italy was the country shaped like a boot.  That's something no kid seems to forget!

Wednesday -  I started  having horrible tooth pain in a tooth that I know has been needing to get fixed.  Last week I started going to the UT School of Dentistry since we are currently lacking dental insurance.  So far I am quite impressed with the  service and the cost is a third of what it would be at a private practice.  The dental school offers emergency services so I went in this morning.  I got there at 8:30 and left around 11:30.  I initially expected to have a root canal, but the tooth was too far gone that I opted to have it extracted.

Don't let this sweet, happy
face fool you! I think this
was right before the odd
numbers fiasco.
Thursday - A very mellow day which I always welcome with open arms!  Well, Hannah is particularly cranky today.  I asked her to write out odd numbers as far as she could just to see how much she remembers, and you would think the sky is falling.    It's kind of hard to plan school for Autumn's age so a lot of learning is just through play (sometimes that's the best thing!) During Play-doh we unexpectedly went over shapes and she caught on pretty quick!

Autumn loves to make taking
her picture difficult!
Friday - Autumn loves playing the animals match game my mom got the girls.  Except she cheats and turns all the cards over and then matches them. :-p Hannah was a bit of a crank again, so I decided to make next week spring break. I think it's pretty good timing. We'll hang out at home, do crafts, and we might just wear out our zoo membership. :-D That is seriously the best $99 I could have ever spent!  Tonight I made it to thhe gym for the first time in over a week.  My mouth is healing great from my tooth being pulled, and I was in desperate need of pumping up some endorphins.  The girls hung out with Ryan at work and watched Veggie Tales on Netflix.  Happiness was all around!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mid-South Homeschool Convention

This weekend I went to the Midsouth Homeschool Convention.  They offered many workshops on all sorts of aspects of homeschooling, but I was more excited though about the many many curriculum booths.  I was warned by another homeschool mom to leave  my checkbook at home, but I figured I would take the risk anyway. ;)  Today I browsed through the dozens of booths and looked at a lot of different material.  I will never cease to be in awe over how much is out there!  In the consignment booth, I found a few drawing books, long and short vowel workbooks, 1st grade spelling, and a storybook about a bear who loves to draw (how perfect, right? I read it to Hannah tonight and it's the sweetest story).  I also bought the math curriculum for next year.  We are using Horizons which I enjoy immensely.  Hannah does really well with it, too, and I'm guessing that's important also.  I'm thinking about getting their phonics set as well.  I could go on and on about all the many ideas I have, but I am sure there will be plenty of time for those posts in the future. ;)
I also joined the Memphis-Area Home Education Association which I have been meaning to do for a while.  They have different events throughout the year and even a kindergarten graduation! :-D

I love homeschooling!!

Have I said that already?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

International Polar Bear Day

Upon purchasing a family membership to the Memphis Zoo (yay!), I found out that they were having a small event for International Polar Bear Day with different booths set up by the polar bear's habitat, just learning about this wonderful creature and bringing awareness to the fact that they are slightly endangered. They also had real polar bear pelts--they were seriously from the head all the way down to their claws!  They were confiscated when they were brought in the country illegally by poachers.  I'm all about poaching them as well, but I digress.  They now use the pelts for awareness and educational purposes.  The girls were not scared at all! I was afraid Hannah would be sad, but she was just looking at the teeth and claws.  She was so into it! The polar bear was swimming laps and we were able to watch him (her?) through the glass.  I really think the four of us could have sat there all day! Aside from the beloved polars we saw the black bears (which we didn't see last time) and the pandas.  Last time the pandas were asleep but this time they were all wandering around and I even saw one of them sitting up eating bamboo! Cutest thing ever!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Week in Review #20: A Mini Spring Break

Autumn covered with
mud, thus began a messy
This week actually began on Thursday. Ryan and the kids were in Clarksville again, this time Sunday through Wednesday.  Ryan was wanting to trade in his truck and get a car from the same dealership since he's kept in touch with the salesman, blah blah blah (I won't bore you with that :-p). The car was taking a while to get ready, and we thought they would  be there one or two nights tops.  It was totally fine though, since the kids had a ball with their cousin and their grandparents.  I for one was all by my lonesome, which was alright.  I'm not going to say I totally lived it up but it was definitely bizarre.  Although I forgot how nice it was actually wake up on my own and have some coffee without telling the girls to stop acting psycho! 

The girls loved seein their
By Wednesday I was missing Ryan and the girls pretty good.  I was so glad to see them, even though the girls were sobbing something fierce from being so tired.  I can understand that feeling for sure. Autumn had to take a nap the next morning to finish catching up on sleep.  Hannah and I jumped right back into her school work the next morning (Thursday) which was wonderful and productive.  Ryan said Hannah was reading various signs on the drive home like "Wal-Mart" and "Starbucks"...just sounding them out using those handy phonics rules she has learned. ;-D

 Autumn is all about books these days! Makes me want to jump for joy! She will cram as many books as she can in this one basket (which I used to use to keep diapers in) or a tote bag, drag it to either her room or the couch, and sit there looking at all of them.  once in a while she will ask me or Ryan to read one  to her. I have pretty much given up trying to fight her to take a nap so I let her sit in her bed and  look at books, which has gone beautifully!!! So now both girls have quiet time.  Hannah has hers on the couch in the school room since that limits the misbehavior that would undoubtedly occur.  Autumn is now becoming distressed that she can't look at books at bedtime.  I suppose eventually we can work something out to where both kids can look at books quietly for a half hour or so before lights off.


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